I've seen a bunch of videos coming out on YouTube that are related to the Purge video series, so I guess it's relevant again for some reason. Something about the third one being about an assassination attempt on a Presidential candidate 2 months before the election, I guess? Anyway, I decided to re-watch the third one the other day, and I decided that I can do it better.
For anyone who doesn't know what the Purge movies are about, basically they take place in an alternate present where a few decades ago, lawmakers decided that if they can't stop people from committing crimes, they may as well just make all crime legal for 12 hours. The theory behind this is that by purging themselves of violent thoughts and actions without consequence every once in a while, people would be less likely to commit those crimes for the rest of the year.
The first movie introduces the concept, shows us that there's a booming business around Purge protection for the home and such, and is basically uninspired. The second one introduces the political and socioeconomic factors, and does a much better job of presenting the world in which this is taking place. The third one takes place during an election year, and one of the candidates has made eliminating the Purge her top priority, so the powers that be have decided to assassinate her during the Purge. The trilogy starts weak, but does a decent job of world building and escalation. You could do worse than marathoning them on Halloween.
Now, if we're going to make a better Purge movie, then we need to address the flaws in the world. The number one flaw is this: each movie makes it incredibly clear that "all crime is legal, including murder." Each movie is based on that final escalation to murder. But every other crime is also legal. Crimes like robbery, hacking, espionage, dissemination of classified documents, and destruction of property. Do you see where I'm going with this?
So, possible better Purge movie 1: the bank heist. Banks move their physical currency to insanely secure locations during the Purge, but most banking is done online. An extremely talented team of hackers break into the servers of their bank and give themselves an obscene amount of money, which they then transfer to an offshore account with plans to leave the country the next day. But they're not as good at covering their tracks as they think they are, and the bank sends a team of mercenaries to kill them before the Purge ends. These hackers, unskilled in survival, need to find a way to survive being hunted.
The second flaw in the movies is that they always focus on the night of the Purge, but never on what happens in the following days or weeks. There is a lot of property damage done during the Purge, but we never find out what the ramifications of that damage are. Also, if you steal something during the Purge, can you be arrested the next day for possession of stolen property? That would suck.
Possible better Purge movie 2: the socioeconomic adventure. A well coordinated nation-wide group of terrorists destroy the credit card companies' buildings, the stock market buildings, and the banks' buildings, essentially wiping out the nation's ability to engage in commerce. Overnight, America becomes economically unable to function. The next day begins, and American money doesn't exist any more. The wealthy still have their offshore bank accounts, but the 99% have nothing. What does that do to the class divide? How does America recover from having their finances obliterated overnight, when the rest of the world is still doing just fine? This can be made even more dramatic by having them destroy internet hubs and data centers as well.
Possible better Purge movie 3: the political thriller. A disgruntled high-level political official decides to use their top secret access to the best of its potential, and releases as many top secret documents as possible to the world. For 12 hours during the Purge, all of America's secrets are laid bare, with complete impunity for the person releasing them - all crime is legal during the Purge, after all. Suddenly America is a nation with no secrets. Enemies know what America is planning for them. Allies know what dirty laundry has been collected, and who is scheming to do what. Corrupt officials are brought to light. How does the government continue to function when everyone knows all of its secrets?
The third flaw is closely related to the second one: what about things that happen near to but not during the Purge? Or things that begin during the Purge, but take longer than the end of the Purge to complete? Murder during the Purge is legal, but what about conspiracy to commit murder during the Purge, which necessarily happens beforehand? Which brings us to:
Possible better Purge movie 4: the crime drama. A woman accuses a man of raping her. After finally getting him in court, the case against him is damning, until his attorney drops a bombshell on the jury: he did rape her, but it was during the Purge. Suddenly the prosecution needs to change tactics; all their preparation has been about proving that it happened, but now they need to prove that it didn't happen within those 12 hours. In fact, it was during the Purge, but the victim is lying about that because she wants to see the man punished anyway. Which would mean that the victim is the scheming villain, and the admitted rapist is the underdog victim. How's that for moral ambiguity?
The movies specify that murder is legal during the Purge, and that's the only crime they focus on (well, that and torture). But in a world where all crime is legal for 12 hours a year, there is so much more potential for interesting stories than to offer up just another twist on a generic slasher movie. What do you guys think?