What happened to the fun horror/action movies that were the first two Purge movies.
The First Purge is the confusingly titled fourth entry into The Purge series. This one follows the events leading up to and including the first ever experimental “purge”, a 12 hour period in which all crime is legal. This one takes a hard left (political pun intended) turn, as a government that is pretty obviously a satirical version of the Trump administration hires mercenaries to exterminate the low income communities of Staten Island, where this experiment takes place.
There’s not much good to say about this movie. There’s occasionally a decent action scene, and there are also quite a few pieces of creepy imagery, which has become a custom of the franchise (if only they could make it pay off). I will also say that the lead actress does a great job here, showing quite a range of emotion.
It’s hard to get past the film’s clear political motivation. Like much of today’s politics in this country, it only serves to divide- demonizing any right wing beliefs and portraying them in a extremely misleading way. I get that the fictional government is supposed to be an extremist right wing group, but the movie goes out of its way to take shots at Republicans in general. Anyone who believes any government would institute something like this is just plain silly and foolish. The first few movies just took it as a fun movie idea with a shadowy government in the background, without trying to take a hardline stance and say that it could really happen in today’s world. The sad thing is, the movie didn’t need to take such a hard political turn. It works just fine without that message, while having basically the same plot. A big section of the movie focuses on mercenaries hired by this fictional government pretending to be Nazis coming in and attacking the lower income communities. You can’t tell me that if The Purge was real that actual white supremacists and Nazis wouldn’t attack black communities. You can make this about that particular fight, leaving the government out of it, and boom, you have a generic action/horror movie, but you don’t alienate half your audience with a force fed political message. Everyone hates Nazis and a fight against them is something we can all get behind.
Unfortunately for the movie, it’s political message it far from its only problem. Much of it is just flat out boring, any villain in here is underdeveloped and pretty much useless, much of the acting is shoddy, the dialogue is awful, and there are next to no good scares. There’s also about 20 too many instances of a character showing up at the last second to save the day.
In the end, The First Purge is far more focused on pursuing a ridiculous political message then, you know, making a good movie. The franchise has been going down hill since the second movie and I can’t really recommend anyone see this one. The First Purge gets a 2/5.