If you really loved the first three Purge films than you will probably like this attempt at a prequel.
- Screenplay by James Demonaco (The Purge Franchise)
- Directed by Gerard McMurray (Battle Buddy)
- Starring Y’lan Noel (House of Another), Lex Scott Davis (Toni Braxton: Unbreak my Heart) and Jovian Wade (The Weekend)
- Budget of $13m
Initial Thoughts 💭
One of Croydon Cinema Club’s favourite franchises, ‘The First Purge fails to match the solid standards set by the previous three films. Although franchises are welcomed both by the audience who like a continuing story and the producers who like continuing financial success, we are seeing a lot of poor films being made. It may be the first purge by name but last by quality.
The ‘ccc’ review💭
A prequel of the Purge franchise, this is a story of how the yearly night of chaos came to be. Crimes rates are up, stock markets are down, the new government led by the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) seek a solution – The Purge. For one night only the experiment is carried out on Staten Island, and there are no rules. “At the siren, all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 hours”. Psychologist (Marisa Tomei), believes this will allow society to express their anger and be better for it. The residents are incentivise to participate in an experiment which the government clearly have a vested interest in it being a success. Will the residents of Staten Island turn on each other or will the government need to intervene…
We couldn’t wait to watch this film as big fans of the previous films because of the brilliant premise but also the sheer absurdity of it all. Surprisingly, although this film had the same writer in James Demonaco, it came across as much more contrived and predictable. It felt like the focus was on trying to give out a political message to the current US government; NFFA funded by the NRA, the poverty in the projects, government brutality, white extremists and there was even a reference to “pussy grabbing”. Just don’t feel this was the right platform to do it on and thus took away focus from the actual purge.
The previous films touched on why the purge happens without all the fanfare, although in the previous films the purge has been in effect for a number of years. The First Purge is like thinking of an idea, but when you say it out loud you understand the ridiculousness of it all. There was no need to visit the origin of the idea. All we wanted to hear was the siren to signify the commencement of the purge! So the opening 30 minutes could have been shortened.
Ultimately, the film is not as good as we would have hoped and deviated from a well-trodden formula. There was no need to justify why the purge was happening. There was no need to have a righteous gangster. There was no need to have militia come in to ensure the purge happened. It would have been better suited to having the purge play out and seeing people’s morality tested and eventually failing – this would have given way to a much more darker, and possibly realistic film.
The latest installment of the purge included star Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man Homecoming) although there was no real need for her. Y’lan Noel was the gangster with good morals although he had the skills of an assassin – it was as though he was being trialed out for an action movie. The true star of the show was Skeletor (Rotimi Paul) who reminds us why we loved the purge so much to begin with – so keep a look out for him.
Final Thoughts 💭
Big fans of the franchise, but this film did smell like it was solely a money maker (which yet again it has been) and setting up events for the forthcoming TV series. Whereas the previous films made us feel like this could actually happen (maybe slightly exaggerated) this film had trouble convincing. Our main advice is, if the purge was ever actually introduced – just leave the country for those 12 hours.
Unless you are big fans of the Purge, maybe wait for it to come on TV, better yet watch the upcoming TV series.