Wednesday 31 October 2018

Movie Review: THE FIRST PURGE (2018)

The First Purge

I'm a huge fan of The Purge franchise (Check out my review of the previous movie here), so I've been excited to finally check out this fourth installment. Unfortunately, I missed it at the cinema, but now it's available on DVD/Blu Ray. 

As the title suggests, this film is the story of the very first Purge, and how The New Founding Fathers Of America (NFFA) started it as a pilot on Staten Island to show its positive effects on a community. It was marketed to the rest of the country as a social experiment, with the option of rolling it out the the rest of the country if it is deemed a success. Obviously this happens, as we have all the other movies that take place afterwards, but it was interesting to see how this actually played out.


I enjoyed the idea that the locals were secretly offered 5000 dollars each to stay on the island during The Purge, as it touches on how the poorest people in society will put themselves in harms way in order to obtain the money that they believe will provide them with a better life and effectively a way for them and their families to escape the poverty trap. People remaining on the island were actively encouraged to participate, and were given a financial incentive for every kill made. To monitor this, people who wanted to participate were given special contact lenses to wear that recorded their actions in real time throughout the night. To dumb things down for the audience, the contact lenses glowed bright blue! Oh, except one dude whose contacts were red, just to make him extra scary and work with the colour palette of his costume. Firstly, anyone remaining on the island could see who may be a potential threat because their fucking eyes were glowing! 

A nice touch in the writing was that the experiment starts to fail as there initially weren't many murders, so the NFFA sneaks in several mercenaries stylised as gangs to start massacring people. Just to hammer home the suggestion of racism in The Purge, a concept already touched on in a more intellegent way in previous movies, most of these mercenaries are dressed as the KKK, or Nazis wearing latex 'Black Face' masks. Yes, we get it!

There's also a ludicrous scene where a drug dealer pays a couple of girls to try and take out the head drug dealer Dmitri in an attempted coup, but fails. Why the fuck would they wait until Purge Night to do this, especially when everyone is on edge and watching their backs? Because it would be legal? Since when have ruthless drug dealers been concerned about the law when it comes to assassinations?

Naturally, Dmitri goes from being the mean druglord to the action hero in a showdown that takes place in the iconic block of flats, where his ex-girlfriend happens to live. He takes on and kills several military trained mercenaries all by himself in a riduculous set of action scenes, that are up there with some of the most over the top Schwarzenegger films such as Commando.

The First Purge is the weakest of the four movies, mainly due to some dodgy writing and plot-holes. Having said that, I still really enjoyed it. If you watch it hoping for a great Action film with a touch of Horror you won't be disapponted. There is some great social commentary, which is what helped to cement the others as bonafide classics, but there's so much sillyness in this one that it does detract from that.

I'm not sure where the movie franchise can, or rather will, go from here as we've already had movies showing us the beginning, the middle and the end of The Purge. In the meantime, I'm definitely going to check out the recently released Purge TV series.


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