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The First Purge (5/10)
Director: Gerard McMurray
Runtime: 97 Minutes
I’m finally able to finish writing reviews for this franchise. Some of them were a chore to sit through, whilst Anarchy was a pleasant surprise. Going into The First Purge I was thinking only one thing, will this be another Election Year or Anarchy? I’m happy to say that this was yet another pleasant surprise, being just as good Anarchy but still retaining a lot of the same issues that have been plaguing this franchise since day one.
As the title suggests this is the very beginning of the purge, showing to its audience how everything began. The New Founding Fathers set Staten Island as the first ever place for this new experimental procedure called the purge. Drug lord Dmitri seeks to protect his turf on the night of the purge, while his ex-girlfriend Nya holds up in a church and her younger brother Isaiah seeks revenge on a violent junkie who scared his face.
The films first Act is where this movie shines best, they gather all these people who have pent-up aggression and sit them down one by one. Asking if they would participate in this experiment and whether they would actively kill someone, or stay in their homes for the night. Even the beginning of the purge itself is really well done. I really liked how it wasn’t a straight-up bloodbath, most people just took it as a night to steal and only a few killed, especially compared to the other movies where its pretty much all killing and no stealing. This is the first Purge movie that doesn’t give us bland characters, for the most part anyway. Dmitri is someone I actually wanted to root for, he only wanted to see the night through and have none of his gang kill anyone for the sake of killing. In the end, Dmitri is forced to enter the streets of the Purge with a few of his armed men and help the people in his community. He doesn’t have a selfish goal he’s working towards like Leo had, for me this makes him much more likeable. He’s also a badass which is entertaining to watch. The rest of the cast are pretty bland and their moments of stardom are far between.
The rest of the purge is pretty much the worst part of the movie, with only a few good moments. The jump scares are extremely thin and unscary, lack of consideration in the characters decisions. There’s also a ridiculous element of the movie, where it gets its participants to wear light up contact lenses that gives everyone a glow in the dark glare. It’s such a stupid looking gimmick. A lot of this movie feels very handed, we have Nazi Fetish villains, KKK members, hired mercenaries, it does become a bit much to handle.
Overall, the premise of each Purge movie never changes and still doesn’t surprise me. It’s never as interesting as it should be. I do enjoy how this movie tackles race issues and talks about a lot of current problems in America. Finally having a good lead and some cool action sequences makes for one of the more entertaining Purge movies. Maybe the next one should completely focus on the purgers, now that would be interesting.