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The Purge : Great In Concept, Lacking In Execution

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WARNING: This review contains some spoilers to the film.

Plot-A family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized. (IMDB.com)

For a film with such a great concept, I was pretty disappointed with how bland “The Purge” turned out to be. Even with it’s amazing premise with all crime being legal for 12 hours, in the end the film decided it wanted to stick with a basic “home invasion” storyline.

The biggest problems I had with the film is the questionable decisions several characters make, as well with the pacing of the story.

With the pacing of the story, the film’s trailer leads us to believe that the movie is more about a group of psychopathic killers in smiley masks trying to break into the house while the family holds them off.


You get that in the last act of the film (which leads to a fun but short action sequence as Hawke battles them). Instead, the main focus of the story is on a husband and wife (Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey) as they try to find a homeless man (Edwin Hodge) who their son let into the house before a group of killers enter their home.

This takes up about the entire second act of the film, as it turns into a slow cat and mouse game between the family and Hodge. This hurt the film greatly, not because of it pushing the action more towards the end, but because this was incredibly boring and lead to a lot of questionable character actions.

EX: At one point, Hodge is caught and is being tortured by the parents because he doesn’t want to be sent to his death in order to save the family. Five minutes later, he’s cool with it. The pacing of the characters doesn’t ever seem to be natural, more-so they seem to make decisions based on the convenience of the script.

On one end, the characters range from horrifically ignorant to very entertaining. Hawke, while the biggest named actor in this film, is very bland as his action/father figure character, there isn’t much to him but making scared faces as he hunts down people. Headey doesn’t fare much better, even at the end of the film I wasn’t convinced of her charcter turn.

The awfulness of this movie comes from his children (Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder), who I hate to say should have died at least 65 times by this movie’s end. They get lost in their own home, the son plots against his parents, and constantly put themselves in danger.

Their characters are that stupid, and adding little quips to each of them (the boy has a radio controlled camera with a burnt toy baby on the top), doesn’t make them interesting.

It makes them creepy. Really, really, creepy (which is never dived into by the way)! I’m willing to give both actors a pass because of the awfulness on their characters, but I’m sorry, even though it is fan-service to your male audience you can’t make a girl run around in a school girl uniform for the entire movie! It discredits every intelligent move she does and makes the character look like a total moron.


She’s in a skimpy, school girl uniform running from psychopaths in her own home, nuff said.

The best acting I saw in this thing is from Rhys Wakefield as the “Polite Stranger”. He seems to be having a blast as this character. His well mannered, well worded dialogue, mashing with his psychotic look and evil,giddy smile should have been more featured in the story.

All in all, “The Purge” is a decent thriller that could have been so much more. The sheer thought of all crime being legal for 12 hours could range way beyond the thought of just a home invasion concept.

Everyone becomes your enemy, strangers, neighbors, hell even your loved ones could come after you if they have a grudge or want something of yours.

That’s a frighting thought onto itself. It was said the film has already been green-lit for a sequel, here’s hoping we dive more into the world in the future installments instead of just rehashing the same crap time after time.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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