The First Purge (2018)
Directed by Gerard McMurray
Starring: Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Lauren Velez, Marisa Tomei
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The fourth installment in The Purge franchise, the film is a prequel depicting the origins of the first annual “Purge”, a 12-hour span once a year in which all crime in America is legal.
I guess I better do a quick review of The First Purge. I watched this on the 5th of July but I’ve not even done my Monthly Roundup post of all the stuff I watched in June yet (I may not manage that until next week). As always, I watched a lot of movies last month but most of them sucked. July is off to a better start with The First Purge being the first film I watched. I liked it just fine but I’m actually a fan of this entire series so far, despite them all having IMDb ratings that are lower than they each deserve. However, I think this movie is unfortunately the weakest of the series so far.
I did go into this with low expectations as I’ve wanted each film to actually more thoroughly explore the moral complexities involved in this dystopian future but they never really do. I still think these films have one of the best and most original concepts in recent years with the whole “annual purge” thing but the movies have all failed to delve very deep. After Election Year, however, I went back & slightly upped my ratings for each of the films as I do think this has been a solid series despite the execution of the concept being less than perfect. My reviews are here: The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy & The Purge: Election Year. My main worry was that The First Purge might damage a decent trilogy but I think it fits into the series just fine. Again, it feels like yet another wasted opportunity to be something slightly more than a “popcorn movie” but at least it stays true to the Purge formula that has worked for the other films and has given these a cult fan base.
What makes this film the weakest? I’m not entirely sure. It feels a lot like Election Year, which I did really enjoy, but I think the main problem is that they’ve given us the least believable characters yet in The First Purge. I think the Purge characters have become less & less believable with each film. These last two have had some characters (mainly baddies) who have felt like caricatures – a mean druggie named Skeletor in this one and that horrible bitch in the last one who I think ended up getting run over (yay!). The “goodies” are a little too good in these, as well. Which is fine – I want to like the characters in movies and I like that I’m wanting these people to survive the annual purge. But it didn’t work as well this time with the “good girl” with all the right values and the “naughty boy” drug dealer turned hero. It still stayed on the right side of the line, though. I liked the goodies & hated the baddies. But they’re all getting a little too silly to take very seriously…
Well, The First Purge is fine. It’s the weakest of the four but, if you liked the rest, you should like this too. Just know that it doesn’t add much to the series but it doesn’t harm it either. I feel bad that this review sounds negative… I also have to give it a lower rating than the other three but I liked it more than my rating suggests. I still just hope they might make another one of these that finally manages to do something more meaningful with the central idea.
My Rating: 6/10