June 30, 2013

The Purge (2013)

I find it really hard to accept that they guy who wrote one of my favorite 90's flicks, The Negotiator, is the same guy who write and directed this complete mess of a film.

The short version of our feelings on The Purge, are that this movie really sucked.

The premise of The Purge is an instantly engaging one: In a not too distant future, things in the USA are going pretty good; unemployment is below 1%, crime is almost non-existent, and life in general is Mayberry good. The reason that this Dystopian version of America exists, is because once a year the Government allows its citizens a 12 hour block of time in which crime goes unpunished, and just about anything goes. You want to murder, rape and pillage? Well get it out of your system on Purge Night, because come the morning, you had better behave!

In order to avoid spoiling this movie for those of you who want to see it, I'm not going to start discussing it further until after the spoiler bar below. If you don't want to be spoiled now, stop reading.

Here's why The Purge sucks; it has an interesting and compelling premise, which it bumbled and mishandled to the point of parody. This movie was filled with so many "Oh, come on!" moments, that I started to wonder if that was the writer/director's intent. Sadly, I don't believe that it was.

When the day of The Purge arrives, our main characters seem to be in a relaxed state about everything. No one checks the house for people who might be hiding within, they don't make a survival plan as a family to cover worst case scenarios, and no one aside from the father is armed. Sure, he has a little pistol tucked in his belt "even though he won't need it," but they're all just so lackadaisical about the whole thing that it's frustrating. Maybe that was the point, but why Dad couldn't just hand Mom a shotgun and say "Bitch, be ready!,"  I'll never know.

They seem to think that all they need to do when The Purge begins at 7, is just push a button which lowers the security shutters into place, set the alarm, and all is well until the morning. Of course the young Son of the family has the codes to their state of the art security system, because that seems like a pretty rational thing to give a kid on the most dangerous night of the year. Don't give him a gun, but the codes to open up your house to any murderous passer's by (which is exactly what happens), is just fine.

Let's not forget the daughter either, who basically almost cost her father his life because she's snotty and selfish, and has poor taste in older men.

Had the parents just purged their kids, everything would have been fine.

She needs a good purging.
Once things pop off, why would you drop a gun after killing one of the multitude of strangers in your house, who are only there to kill you? Better yet, why is everyone not armed to begin with? You live in a society where people get a sanctioned 12 hour window to kill at will, and you haven't taught your kids how to responsibly handle a gun? "Backs against the wall, shoot anyone that isn't us" is not that hard of a lesson to teach at all.

And why is there no panic room or fortified bunker in a home which boasts a supposed state-of-the-art security system? That would have solved any contingency that could have possibly reared its head over the course of 12 hours, dontcha think? Maybe the director wanted to illustrate how people feel overly secure when in fact "we're all vulnerable," but it felt like a plot device that just made zero sense.

The invaders themselves were goofy and almost cartoonish at times, giving each other piggy back rides around a dark house, pushing each other on swings while waving to the cameras, and act in truly foolish ways instead of hunting down their prey and killing them. They were as inept as the family whom they were trying to kill... and was the "polite invader" supposed to be the Republican version of The Joker? Sure felt like it.

I'm not even going to get into the possible political messages/undertones that the movie shamelessly pushes in our faces; the one where rich, white people feel the need to cleanse the world of its blight (IE. anyone not white and rich.) It all felt like a big infomercial by the 99%'ers, aimed at showing the dreaded 1% that we're all wise to their game! Please. Save that shit for CNN.

"Some rich, white men just want to watch the world burn."
The only thing about this movie that wasn't totally frustrating, was the homeless black veteran who basically saved the day for everyone else. Sure, it felt like the movie was using the character to soapbox, but he's the the only one who acted with any sense whatsoever, which made us want him to live. Here's how the movie should have gone after the moron kid let's this guy into the house: Ethan Hawke gives the homeless stranger a gun, and is like "We're in this together now. Here's a gun. Defend my kid's lives, and we can all live through this." He would have made short work of the creepers, and the family and would be alive and well come the end of The Purge. It would have also made for some exciting action bits too.

Worst of all was the ending. Masked invaders kill your husband, bind you and your kids together, and are about to sacrifice you for the greater glory of the new America, and when you get free and turn the tables on said invaders, you decide to let them live? You're going to live next door to them for another year knowing that not only did they nearly execute your kids, but that they'll most likely try to harm you & yours again next Purge, and you're reaction to that is "no one else dies tonight!" You're going to take the moral high ground when your kid's lives are at stake? Really?

I'll tell you right now, you execute my wife and come very close to executing my children, god help you if I get free. I would have shot every last one of them in the head, dragged their bodies onto my lawn, and let the rest of my 'hood know that they need to think twice about fucking with me and mine.

Then again, my family and I would be in full "Backs against the wall, shoot anyone that isn't us" mode to begin with. Then again, my kid wouldn't be fuck-nut enough to let a stranger in the house during the most violent night of the year... because he would have never had the codes to anything to begin with. 

"Oh man... who invited the Tea Party?"
 
The actors tried to make this ridiculous story work, and there are genuine moments of creepiness here and there, but The Purge fails to deliver a believable and compelling story. Once their silly actions make you stop caring about the characters, a movie is pretty much done. That happens here, and pretty early. The bit towards the end with Lena Headey and the shotgun was fun, but it was way too little, way too late.

Save your money and Netflix this one when it hits VOD in a few months.

D-

Not even the Hotties of The Purge could save the movie from itself, and you know they tried. Just look how cute they are. They tried!


4 comments :

  1. I enjoyed reading your review, especially the part when you suggest they parents should have just purged the kids! Funny! But I think the premise is totally unbelievable from the get go. People can't turn aggression on and off. Psychos and sociopaths don't respect rules, and people would always want revenge for dead loved ones.
    Yup, I'll definitely skip this movie! lol

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  2. I agree 100% with this review. The first thing that came through my mind when I saw the main antagonist was the republican joker thingy too. That guy was trying to play the psychotic polite dude way to hard and it ended up looking like a spoof of the joker. I went to the cinema to watch this, so disappointing. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey were pretty cool to watch though, stupid script and all. Great review again guys!

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  3. I'm usually not in favor of purging kids, Lexa, but those jerks deserved it! Be glad you skipped it. Maybe watch it out of curiosity when it hits cable in a few moinths :)

    Thanks, Liquid. We agree, dumb movie, but Hwke and HEadey were still good. Especially Lena Headey... we love that bird.

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  4. "The Purge" is nothing more than a vigilante revenge fantasy -- one group of unpleasant people shooting at another group of unpleasant people

    http://www.horror-movies.ca/Forum/viewtopic.php?pid=705684#p705684

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