Ethan Hawke in The Purge.

Cool concept … poor execution.

The concept of The Purge: For 12 hours each year, Americans are allowed to go all helter-skelter and commit any felony—including murder—with no legal consequences. James (Ethan Hawke) has made a lot of money by capitalizing on this day—selling high priced security systems to his neighbors. When he locks down his house on the night of “the purge,” he’s thinking his home is an impenetrable fortress.

Obviously, something is going to go very wrong.

There’s a great idea at this movie’s core, but the film degenerates into a home-siege movie in which everybody, and I mean everybody, acts stupidly. This is a movie in which the villains are walking around, with their guns down and their faces just outside windows … and the armed people they are pursuing fail to take them out. It drove me a little crazy.

Hawke gives it a good try, but the film lets him down. Still, I imagine this premise is ripe for a sequel. I’d like to see a movie in which we are witnessing this “purge” from outside the confines of one house.

The Purge is playing at theaters across the valley.