We’ve come full circle with the Purge movie franchise with the release of The First Purge, which aims to tell the origin story of the yearly event in which U.S. citizens can commit any crime they want for 12 hours. While this entry sheds some light on how this event started while providing allusions to our own current shaky society, it suffers from cardboard characters and B-movie acting.
You can read or watch the full review of The First Purge below.
Hey now fans of the Purge franchise, Matt Heywood here to review The First Purge, or what I like to call Future America if our politics continue to be as divisive as they are today.
The First Purge aims to tell the genesis of the Purge holiday if you will, that was first brought to life in The Purge, which was released in 2013. The film does a pretty decent job at setting up how the Purge came to be, while also offering up a message about our own fragile society these days framed around the divide between the haves and have nots. Quite frankly, while this is a fictional tale, the writer and director took care to provide plenty of allusions to trends happening in today’s society while playing on the racial tension that has existed in this country since its inception.
From a pure story standpoint The First Purge has an entertaining narrative, and one that at times feels like it could come to pass in the near future if we all continue to tear ourselves apart over our differences with our political leanings. So it will definitely make you feel something be it anger, fear, or anxiety, so the plot does manage to ensnare your emotions.
In terms of execution though, The First Purge falters, mostly due to the cast. In general most of the main actors’ performances just feel cardboard in nature. Their line delivery seems forced and unnatural, as if they all just read the lines right before shooting a scene. The characters don’t feel like real people, they feel like actors playing people who are suppose to be regular people living through a really fucked up situation, but from start to finish it’s hard not to eye roll during each speaking segment.
The best way to describe the ensemble’s performance would be B-movie style. I’m not saying the cast mailed their performances in, they just weren’t that believable, which could also be a result of the script’s dialogue, and the direction they were given by the director. One thing is clear though and that is the fact that the cast brings down this film more than anything else.
Thanks to the premise though, which is the first purge, but at this time it’s called the Experiment, you can get through the plot despite the wooden acting. This is due to the tension you feel as the Experiment kicks off on Staten Island, which features a 12 hour lawless period to allow people to blow off some steam that a blonde haired shrink that Marissa Tomei plays thought would be a good idea for the country. She’s enlisted by the new political party of America, the New Founding Fathers of America, to conduct the experiment, which they predict will promote raw violence. When the experiment begins though things don’t go as planned, so the NFFA enacts its own plan to make the experiment a success, which will allow it to be ported to other cities across the country.
Herein lies this film’s bold political message, which directly takes on the issue of racism in this country and how poor people of color are treated. It’s this message that makes The First Purge feel more poignant than the others in the franchise, as well as redeeming the poor acting performances.
I still wouldn’t say this is a must-see film though, at least in theaters. While it has a few shining moments the acting and directing still feel B-movie at best, so this Purge film is best reserved for a home viewing, or whenever it hits a cable channel like HBO. It’s a 5.9 out of 10 type of movie, so unless you have MoviePass, or AMC’s new Stubs A-list program, or are a die hard Purge fan, I wouldn’t bother checking this flick out anytime soon.
Thanks for watching, this is Matt Heywood from EntertainmentBuddha.com where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
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