Is the First The Worst?

The First Purge Poster

 

To be human is to be a lot of things, but in this day and age, anger, inpatient, greed, and many times politically inclined.  Hence we get the Purge, a way to shed off all the negative energies in one night, by legalizing all crimes including murder. Years ago, we plunged into the series in a horror-like approach, that soon evolved into a much more political, drama thriller.  Now, the prequel arrives to try and shed that last bit of light to the creation of the Purge, all while giving us more kills to bathe in.  Hi I’m Robbie K and I’m here to share my thoughts on the latest movie to plunge into theaters.  Let’s see what the fourth installment has in store as I review:

 

Movie:  The First Purge: (2018)

 

Director:

Gerard McMurray

Writer:

James DeMonaco

Stars:

Y’lan Noel,  Lex Scott Davis,  Joivan Wade

 

 

LIKES:

 

Gripping Characters: The Purge has taken many leads to explain the journey of the “blessed” event and drop many characters into the throngs of death.  This installment, the characters are actually gripping, realistic groups who have personalities and personas that anchor them to the tale.  While there are flaws and strengths to exploit, the movie does a nice job developing the crew through the chaos, yet maintaining their core components as they try to survive the chaos unleashed.  Even better, the characters that are extreme (much like in the third installment with the candy girl) are limited, helping reel it back to the suspense it wants. Even Marisa Tomei’s character has a bit of twist on it, veering away from the one-dimensional route and adding a little more quality to the mix.

 

The Pace:  The movie wins points for being able to accomplish so much chaos and carnage, while completing its story in about 90 minutes. This First Purge was very intense, and that led to a more exhilarating pace to entertain and leave you on edge. When the action gets started, and the morally justified bullets fly, the movie’s speed only picks up and caps the film off with a nice action plot similar to components of Purge Anarchy (my favorite of the trilogy).

 

The Story Development: This prequel did little to add much in the terms of the overall story than what we already know, but it doesn’t mean it’s a weak story.  On this first night, there are plenty of lives affected and many deeper than half the characters we were introduced to in the first films.  Most of these characters tales come full circle in this tale, offering some satisfactory stories to talk about when the credits roll.  A nice balance between all the characters was appreciated, as it kept most of the characters in the play relevant.

 

The Setting:  It is realistic, it is creepy, and perhaps the most important, very relevant given the political state of affairs.  The First Purge establishes the motif well, and turns a simple town, into a coliseum of destruction, which unfortunately could be any city.  It’s this setting that makes the series feel realistic, playing on a lot of factors that dominate the human psyche today.  Needless to say, there is a warning to keep those impressionable minds away just in case.

 

The Action:  My friend and I both agreed that the selling point (past the characters) is the action of this film.  While there is a horror element to the film, the First Purge is more of an action thriller than anything else.  As the drama unfolds, the truth starts to reveal itself, and the characters get fueled up, the bullets begin to fly.  The result are a number of sequences that feel part robo cop, meeting Die Hard, Gangster Squad, and a little Equalizer all put together.  It is an exciting climactic finish that starts to bring everyone’s emotions to full boil.  It felt very much at place, and I was stoked to see it tie the whole thing up in a… messy bow.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Gorey Violence: Psycho thrillers will not be bothered by this, but The First Purge is no stranger to graphic kills.  Gore, sounds of viscera being pierced, and agonizing moans of death are certainly what you have to worry about in this film.  At times, it was acceptable, but at points it was a little unnecessary to go into the detail they did.  Sorry guys, but that’s not the selling point for me.

 

Dropping the Story Components:  The main elements are there for the most part, but there are plenty of other components that got dropped or sloppily finished.  Certain characters, a few antagonists, and some creepy relationships that held such potential were left to dwindle in the dust.  Some of them they tried to go back to, but for me the execution of these attempts came off as if they had forgotten it up until the last minute.  I applaud for the attempt, but these ridiculous characters had small goals to accomplish and could have used a better send off in my opinion.

 

The Weird Cinema Effects: I know, the Purge series has always been about glorifying the insanity of the people partaking in the festivities. This prequel is no different, but they managed to make a slight alteration that tried to mix soundtrack songs into the slow crawl of their faces. These moments didn’t quite integrate into the movie well, and even worse, they kind of overused it for me and therefore not necessarily the most relevant to the mix.  A minor flaw for me, but still worth mentioning.

 

The Stretches of Imagination:  The movie I ridiculous, we all know that, but there are times where their stretching was a little too much.  Many of the characters had insane stamina, incredible accuracy, or insane luck that was envious to video game players alike in regards to a character.  Yet, when the moment came where it was needed, somehow that god like ability faded away, leaving them vulnerable at the wrong parts.  Yes, rounds out the character, but the timing and inconsistency was a little too staged for me.

 

Political Heat:  The movie is going to get a lot of things buzzing, for there are plenty of political topics that are fired up in this movie.  Racism, poverty, government hesitation, and savagery are just some of the things that are introduced into this movie.  It will divide and conquer the audience into two extremes, potentially leading to heated viewings and most likely mimicry in the near future.  If you’re not looking for hardcore analyses of these topics, stay away from this one.

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the First Purge adds little to the story overall, but it at least brings the characters to bat and hit home runs with. It’s still creepy, it brings up good topics for discussion, and has an exciting climax to wrap things up, leading to one of the better installments into the mix.  However, it is still a series that is far from my perfect, lost to extreme stretches of the imagination, predictable plots of incomplete stories, and an obsession for the gore are the selling points that aren’t for me. Don’t go if you are easily sickened by gore or political heat, because this movie is going to hit on all these topics. Yet, if you are a fan of this series, or looking for a decent action/thriller, you want to check this out on the theater.  However, I believe there will be a better movie coming in further down the line. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Horror/Sci-Fi:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

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