The First Purge

Usually when a film reaches the fourth in a series there is the danger of becoming stale and repeating things form the prior film. With the release of “The First Purge”, the creator of the series, James DeMonaco; has stepped away from directing duties this time around and has turned his script over to Director Gerald McMurray to tell the tale of how the Purge began.

With crime, unemployment, and other social issues at all all-time high, a new political group; known as the “New Founding Fathers of America” rises to power and plan to implement a bold new experiment to get the country back on track.

Dr. Updale (Marisa Tomei) has a plan to legalize all crime including murder for a 12-hour span. The idea is that by allowing people to vent their frustrations, it will allow them to be happier in the situations and better able to face the challenges they have.

The decision is made to set it in a poor community in Staten Island and naturally protests arise over this especially from community leaders who see the cash incentives being offered to stay in the area and take part in the event as exploiting the poor.

Despite worldwide condemnation and protests, the event goes on as planned and for the most part does not result in the mass carnage that many expected.

Local criminal Kingpin Dmitri (Y’Lan Noel) plans to ride out the event in his compound surrounded by his crew as he believes that his fortified and well-armed locale will be more than enough to ensure his safety. Others in the community stay at home, gather at a church, or take to the streets for parties and mayhem as nobody really knows what to expect.

Under the watchful gaze of the government, it soon becomes clear that the events of the evening are being manipulated and that there is a much bigger and more sinister agenda behind the event.

When squads of well-armed mercenaries enter the community and start killing everyone they encounter, Dmitri and others must work with one another to survive the night.

The film takes a bit to get started as it spends a good amount of time introducing us to the various characters we will meet over the evening and it helps to show the community and how the events of the evening motivate the various characters.

The series has always been heavy on social commentary and the inclusion of characters and costumes that are clearly inspired by various hate groups throughout history is impossible to miss and the film seems to be pushing home the message that society needs to be careful as we are close to heading down the dystopian path that the series depicts.

If you have seen any of the film in the series, you know what to expect as it shows what happens when humanity is not bound by the laws of society and the threat of punishment. The cast works well as they are not simply fodder to be endangered and disposed of when the Purge begins.

There is a 10-episode television series coming soon and it will be interesting to see where the franchise goes following it. For now, “The First Purge” should be an entertaining enough film for fans of the series

3.5 stars out of 5