A night of terror, or a terrible night?
The Purge franchise always brings up the questions of “who would you kill if you were able to?”….What? Just me? Erm…moving along….
The Purge franchise has jumped around somewhat. From the low budget start, all set within one house, to the bigger budget sequels, seeing more and more carnage unfold with each cinema release.
The premise is simple, for one night a year, everything is legal…Murder, sex crimes…everything!
In the first three films, the focus was very much on insurance companies cashing in, or corrupt politicians trying to off fellow candidates.
In “The First Purge”, we go back to the very beginning, when the new government in America implements a social experiment on Staten Island. This “experiment” quickly gets dubbed “The Purge”. Many protest groups look to shut down the idea, whilst others are readying themselves for carnage, whether aiming to hole up and protect themselves, or ready to head out and participate whether for revenge or to gain stature in the community.
What I enjoyed was the fact that there was plenty of character development in the early stages of the film. This was something I felt was never fully fleshed out in the previous films and it worked really well to see the motivation behind some of the actions later on.
It’s definitely the strongest of all four films, and the dynamic of the Purge being a new concept really changes is up from the other films where all the characters are super-prepared and tooled up ready for it. This time round, everything is a lot more raw. You have a lot of gun and knife play involved and it’s much more grounded.
One major part of the film, without actually forcing it, is the social issues it raises, mainly around race, and the political undertones of everything. The Race issue is the most obvious though, with a predominantly black cast, all of whom are fantastic, and most of the antagonists being white males. At one point, there’s even a bunch of people dressed as Ku Klux Klan members, so you can see the angle they were aiming for.
The film is fantastic throughout. As I mentioned before, great characterisation, spot on action, and a great addition to the franchise.
Even if you haven’t seen any of the others, this one stands alone, and you wouldn’t miss anything by going to see this on it’s own!