‘The Last Days of American Crime’ Netflix Movie Review: The Worst Purge

The Last Days of American Crime has a fascinating premise with a social commentary and action potential. Like the Purge series ended up indulging in the violence they were commenting on, Last Days has nothing to say about society. It’s another excuse to indulge violence with no sense of style, and it’s nearly twice as long as any Purge movie. It’s on Netflix today. 

Last Days of American Crime
Edgar Ramirez | Marcos Cruz/Netflix

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One last score during ‘The Last Days of American Crime’  

The American Peace Initiative will release a signal that prevents anyone from committing an act they know is wrong. It’s sorta the chip Spike had in season 4 of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, but it works on everyone. So, criminals are trying to commit as much crime as they can before they will physically be unable to do so. Some are fleeing to Canada, but border guards shoot them before they cross. 

Last Days of American Crime
L-R: Michael Pitt, Edgar Ramirez, Anna Brewster | Marcos Cruz/Netflix

Kevin (Michael Pitt) and Shelby (Anna Brewster) recruit Bricke (Edgar Ramirez) to pull one last job, a robbery that will set them up for post-signal life. It will also allow Bricke to get revenge on the cops who killed his brother in prison. There’s also Sawyer (Sharlto Copley), a good cop who will cross paths with the trio.

‘The Last Days of American Crime’ never figured out the rules

The first problem with this premise is they never even figured out the rules of how it works. So, they’ve been testing out the signal already. The signal interferes with bank robbers, but not with the hostage who shoots them. So, the signal is okay with self-defense, with potentially killing a criminal instead of arresting them?

Netflix movie The Last Days of American Crime
Anna Brewster and Edgar Ramirez | Marcos Cruz/Netflix

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They can signal a prisoner to effectively neuter them, but the signal doesn’t affect the guards who kill the prisoner? The guards use the signal to force prisoners to fight each other. So the signal prevents them from lashing out at the guards, but it’s okay with beating up innocent inmates? How does this work? They do say there’s an implant the cops can get to make them immune to the signal. Perhaps those guards already had the implant, but that doesn’t explain allowing inmate on inmate violence. 

Really, it just seems like the lazy screenwriters used the signal on characters they wanted to and ignored it when they wanted law enforcement to be the bad guys. Given the evidence of real life police violence without any such signal, it’s not far-fetched sci-fi to speculate that cops might abuse this signal. Unfortunately, The Last Days of American Crime has no intelligent point about it. They’re just more perpetrators in a cacophony of violence.

It feels like your last days watching this movie

The Last Days of American Crime is two and a half hours long. There is not enough story to fill 90 minutes, let alone an epic. Kevin and Shelby’s plan does not need two and a half hours of explanation. Oceans 11 breezed through their plan and they had 11 characters to introduce! Plus, their plan was way more complicated. 

Netflix movie The Last Days of American Crime
L-R: Michael Pitt, Anna Brewster and Edgar Ramirez | Marcos Cruz/Netflix

God bless Pitt for going full Nicolas Cage like it’s one of his highbrow indie movies. Kevin is doing this job so he can earn the legacy of committing the last crime before the signal. Stop explaining it. In one scene, Kevin, Bricke and Shelby just talk about their plan. Just get on with it. 

There are so many scenes of tough guys screaming at each other. Boy, this movie really thinks these characters are interesting enough to spend so much time getting to know them. The actors are good but yeah, Shelby recounting her abuse to explain why she’s this way does not seem like the screenwriters understand the psychology of abuse. 

The Last Days of American Crime revels in misogyny as much as violence. The FBI agents who take Shelby in hit on her and grope her. Other kidnappers abuse Shelby further. We also meet Kevin’s parents so they can hash out their family dysfunction. It’s just a lot of ugly criminals slobbering over Bricke as they threaten him. 

Edgar Ramirez | Marcos Cruz/Netflix

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When the action finally starts, it’s just noise of gunfire and screaming. They fire machine guns at each other during a car chase. They’re just lucky they hit the bad guys and not the hostage they’re trying to rescue. Director Olivier Megaton’s editing was bad in the Taken sequels. On Netflix there isn’t even a Luc Besson reigning him in. As Netflix originals go, The Last Days of American Crime makes the cops screaming “F You” to each other in Bright look like Serpico.