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The Purge
There's More Where That Came From

Universal Studios is currently developing a sequel to The Purge.

By the year 2022 American morality has fallen off a cliff.  Due to extremely high rates of both crime and poverty, the powers that be have created The Purge - a 12 hour period taking place once a year where citizens can unleash their pent up anger however they see fit.  Although the film highlights many interesting themes, The Purge fails to explore any of them thoroughly and winds up as a pretty basic home invasion story disguised as a science fiction alternate reality.

James (Ethan Hawke, Training Day) is a rather wealthy salesman living in a ritzy, gated San Francisco community with his family.  Most of his fortune is from selling high-priced security systems to all of his neighbors protecting themselves from the annual Purge.  James arrives home before the event begins and has a normal dinner with his wife Mary (Lena Headey, Game of Thrones) and their two children.  Minutes before the Purge begins, James conducts his normal routine of activating the advanced home security system.
Not long into the night, son Charlie (Max Burkholder, Parenthood) notices a mysterious stranger (Edwin Hodge, Cougar Town) running through the neighborhood begging for a place to hide.  To the dismay of his family, Charlie allows the man enter into their fortified residence.  Soon a group of hunters with a charismatic leader (Rhys Wakefield, Home and Away) show up demanding James and his family turn over the stranger.

Director James DeMonaco brings many subjects to the table with The Purge including the haves vs. the have nots, government hypocrisy, our reliance on technology, and several others.  Unfortunately, DeMonaco only scratches the surface and fails to adequately explore any of these themes.  We are left with an empty shell and it's a shame since the idea of the film is fairly interesting.  Demonaco's writing doesn't help matters as viewers will find themselves getting upset at some of the ludicrous decisions made by several characters.  I'm not even going to mention a small portion of the story involving the daughter's boyfriend that viewers will see coming a mile away.

The special features are extremely disappointing and only include a short "making of" featurette that's under 10 minutes in length.  Perhaps the studio wanted to rush this out before Halloween or has a plan for a special edition release in the future, but either way this version is underwhelming.  Regardless, fans who can't get enough of Ethan Hawke or home invasion films in general should be mildly entertained by The Purge.  Rental recommended. 

Cody Endres
Review by Cody Endres
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