The fourth film in the wildly popular Purge franchise serves as a prequel to the previous three films. The Purge: Election Year was assumingly the end of the night of violence disguised as a way for people to “release the beast” but in reality was just a tool for the government to control the population. As of late, these films feel as if they are right on time regarding the country’s current political climate.
2016’s The Purge: The Election Year dropped right in the middle of the 2016 Presidential Election that featured Donald Trump’s “deplorable” campaign stunningly winning. This year’s The First Purge drops conveniently on July, 4th and features a government scarily similar to the one in charge now but on steroids infused with racism. Franchise writer/director James DeMonaco takes over script duty while Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands) serves as director.
Thanks to the rise of an NRA backed extreme populist political party called the New Founding Fathers who ran on a very pro-America campaign. Sounds very familiar right? The annual night of lawlessness started off as a “simple sociological experiment,” and Staten Island was the testing ground. First introduced by psychologist Dr.Updale (Marisa Tomei) aka The Architect to help push the crime rate down below one percent. The test subjects for this experiment are none other than marginalized Staten Island residents who are offered money if they partake in and survive the night.
There is a large contingent of people who do sign up for the irresistible offer, but there is a group of anti-purgers led by Nya (Lex Scott Davis) who believe the New Founding Fathers have ulterior motives. Insecure star, Y’lan Noel takes on the role of Dmitri a local drug kingpin who is forced to defend the hood he loves and the people in it when he discovers foul play going on during “social experiment.”
The First Purge has a new director, but it stays true to the roots that have made the franchise a phenomenon among moviegoers. The action and visuals fans of the franchise have grown accustomed to seeing are all there. Where this film differs from the others is its blaxploitation spin on it. Noel, Davis and Jovian Wade who plays Nya’s immature brother Isaiah all shine in the movie. The movie will stoke emotions as hired militia dressed up in KKK costumes and donning Nazi S.S. uniforms stalk the hallways of Staten Island projects searching for people hiding from the night. But at the same time will get a rise out fans as the black heroes take on the oppressors who are terrorizing their neighborhood.
The First Purge serves as a big middle finger to our current President and will more than like turn Trump supporters away. There are constant digs at Trump including one self-explanatory one that will surely get the crowd hollering. After watching this film, you will definitely walk out of theater impressed with Y’lan Noel who has the makings to be one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars. The First Purge isn’t perfect, there are some head-scratching moments but if you are a fan of this franchise it definitely serves as another solid entry. We definitely think you should add The Fist Purge into your plans for the 4th of July holiday weekend.
3.5 out 5
Photos: Universal Pictures