The Purge was a relatively popular horror/thriller from last year that had some interesting ideas, but fell a little flat. Is The Purge a bad movie? No, but whether it is a good movie is a little more complicated than a yes.
The Purge starts out with historical recaps from the future of 2022. In 2022, one night a year for 12 hours, all laws are suspended. Certain forbidden weapons are legalized and anything goes. This is supposed to let society get all of their aggression and hate out so civilization can function better for the rest of the year. Of course certain government officials are protected from The Purge. The rich have homes that 'lock down' so only the poor and middle class have to deal with the chaos of The Purge.
The concept is great. Everything is fine, except once a year where everyone goes Mad Max on each other. The story about those on the street could be a terrifying venture into madness. The movie instead opts to show a rich family's night behind a locked down mansion. Some might dispute if it is really a mansion, but the characters lose each other several times and the staircase almost spirals, so it's a mansion.
The son of the family lets a stranger into the house. The mysterious man was being chased by a group of psycho killers. His pursuers come to the family's home and threaten to break in. There are other twists and turns in the beginning, but that's the basis of the plot.
The main villain, who is called 'Polite Leader', is a very well spoken and intelligent young man. He also happens to absolutely love The Purge and feels it is he and his crew's right to execute this man. The family are not only in his way, but traitors to the country for not supporting The Purge if they don't give the man up. Polite is played by Rhys Wakefield. He is the most interesting character in the film. His end is a bit cheap so more plot twists can happen, which again makes the movie a bit flat.
The movie is best at the beginning. The history and the opinions about the pros and cons of The Purge. The arguing just sounds like a policy debate. When everything starts to go crazy, it devolves into more of a typical thriller. There are couple of decent good kills, but it never seems to reach a fever pitch.
There's also the fact that the family makes some really dumb decisions. The son letting the stranger in doesn't count. He is a kid and he was technically doing the right thing. Spoilers: The family makes a last stand. The stranger (who the maniacs call a homeless swine) has military tags on. This more than likely means he is homeless veteran (which is kind of disgusting that is a label in our society, being that it has become a common thing). They weren't going to turn him over, so why not use his military experience to take on a superior force. There are a few other instances of irritating behavior, but this is the most glaring example. End of Spoilers.
The Purge has a great premise. The U.S. government letting its citizens participate in killing and violence without punishment for 12 hours a year could have created a terrifying cinematic experience. Instead we get an interesting look at a future from a privileged family's point of view. The small scope of the movie keeps the plot muzzled where it should be allowed to run free. While there are a couple of tense moments, the movie never really gets running. The creepy leader is the best character, but the others are only okay. The Purge is ddefinitely worth watching, but don't expect to be blown away.