Has American Politics Hurt the Hollywood Action Hero Image?
- Written by Lupe R Haas
Hollywood has long projected the American action hero around the world as this sort of cowboy riding in to save the day, or as the white savior who will deliver people of color to freedom like in Liam Neeson’s most recent film THE MARKSMAN. Have the recent political events hurt the American hero image as well? THE FOREVER PURGE is the first movie to reflect that shift in attitude towards the American image.
America’s standing around the world declined due to the last U.S. administration’s domestic and foreign policies and its resurgence of white supremacy. The latest movie in THE PURGE franchise, THE FOREVER PURGE now frames the American as the violent overthrower of democracy, and immigrants as the new heroes.
Hollywood’s traditional go-to villains tend to be foreigners such as the Russians, Nazis, Muslim terrorists, the cartels, or anyone with a British accent. Corporations and people of color also tend to fall into that very short and unimaginative list. As you read this, writers are furiously typing up stories centered around a new antagonist - the American terrorist.
What started out as a movie about the horrors of American violence toward the have nots, THE PURGE movie has gone beyond class struggle and inequality to tackle racism. In THE FOREVER PURGE directed by Mexican-born filmmaker Everardo Gout, the Mexican immigrant characters played by Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, and Alejandro Edda and native American characters are the heroes of the movie, saving the rich white couple from the American white supremacists.
In THE FOREVER PURGE, violent extremist groups ban together around the United States and extend the Purge beyond the sanctioned 12-hour killing spree until they eliminate any non-white person. The totalitarian party, New Founding Fathers of America is unable to stop them and the government is overthrown.
The movie’s plot certainly has an eerie resemblance to what transpired at the January 6 insurrection when domestic terrorists attempted to overthrow an election to keep their furor in power using violence and racist rhetoric. Any sane person could've foreseen these events, and writer James DeMonarco did just that a few years back when writing his latest installment.
Not all white Americans are portrayed as violent extremists in THE FOREVER PURGE. Will Patton’s wealthy rancher is sympathetic to his hired hands. His son played by Josh Lucas, on the other hand, is not racist but certainly has his prejudices about immigrants.
In THE FOREVER PURGE, America is no longer the land of the free in the hands of these “patriots.” Set on the Texas/Mexican border, the main characters run to the border after Mexico declares their country a safe haven for those American refugees escaping persecution.
A few years ago, we would’ve laughed at the ridiculous scenarios in THE PURGE movies, but the real horrors are happening in today’s America.
Hollywood will still have their American cowboys, but they are looking more like Gal Gadot, Denzel Washington, Dwayne Johnson, and Scarlett Johansson who will face the new Nazi.