The Purge series had started off with a genuinely good concept that it completely wasted in the first film. The idea that humanity would be plunged into the chaos for 12 hours a year after all crime is made legal is an absurd and interesting idea. I mean – can all crime stop purely because folks are allowed to go straight up crazy at one another, legally, for once a year? It’s an interesting premise that has dwindled in quality over the three different films. So, naturally, there is a fourth one – a prequel – to explain how America got into this situation in the first place. That movie is called The First Purge.
The First Purge is about the first ever purge, believe it or not. The film tracks the rise of polictical party The New Founding Fathers of America who beat The Republicans and The Democrats to win. For some inexplicable reason, they decide to target Staten Island as the first place to host The Purge as a social experiment. When the NFFA aren’t satisfied with the initial results, they decide to take matters into their own hands…
First of all The First Purge is fucking hilarious. It had me in fits of giggles. So much so that people came up to applaud my hysteria. We celebrated the madness of it all. But before I get into that, The First Purge genuinely has some good moments. The action sequences are pretty impressive and the ultra-violet contact lenses add a level of creepiness to the proceedings. But then it loses it all and goes completely insane.
There are so many irritating plot points here that weaken as the film goes on. For example, there isn’t the best build of the New Founding Fathers and why they came to be. How did they rise? What culpability do they have in this? Also, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest this was a great idea and whilst all of the films can suggest that the Purge de-escalates murder for the rest of the years, they have provided absolutely no reason evidence for this. And this is the prequel – that’s where you’re supposed to explain it all.
The First Purge provides many, many, many laughs and that is definitely not the intention. The story flits through so many obvious dialogue and story choices that it is laughable. It negates human emotion and character building for mindless violence, scrapping all the meaty stuff for surface level drama and thrills. It throws in weak villains that are easily thrown away and takes you down rabbit holes so iluminated that you can see every detail of the ending. The symbolism is dealth with so heavy-handedly that it is perposterous and absurd and I nearly wet myself from cackling so loudly. Add this to some really bog-standard and plain acting, and the movie becomes this cheesily charged romp.
The First Purge is fucking hysterical. It is batshit insane. A movie for the midnight masses who like to purge themselves of independent films and high-brow art to watch delve into the trash-can of cinema and strap themselves in for an entertaining rid. I want to stress out that the entertainment comes from how clumsy and bad it is…Ok? Not by a cultivated and strategic comedy campaign (or, maybe, that’s the point? Maybe that was the aim.) That’s important. Still, it probably won’t stop late-night screenings at The Prince Charles Cinema!
Side note: Kudos to Marisa Tomei who completely phoned in her performance, producing one of the worst green screen momentsof all time. I mean, Tomei, were you even in a room with anyone else? But kudos girl, you got your money!
The First Purge is out now!