‘The First Purge’ does not live up to its potential

‘The First Purge’ does not live up to its potential

‘The First Purge’ does not live up to its potential
July 17
21:58 2018

I am a “Purge” apologist.

I have stuck it out through the previous three installments and very much enjoyed two of them (with the exception of the lousy first one). These movies get quite a lot of hate, but I will defend the second installment, “The Purge: Anarchy,” and the third installment, “The Purge: Election Year,” until my last days. They are in no way amazing movies, but they sure are just enough brainless fun for me.

I find the premise of these movies is so incredibly interesting, so when I heard there was going to be one about the first-ever Purge, I was immediately interested — I wanted to know how it came to be and why exactly it was created, apart from the passing mention of it from the previous movies.

Unfortunately, ‘”The First Purge” just does not live up to the potential it had.

Instead of delving into the actual making of the Purge and the many questions it raises about its beginnings, the film opens on the day the first Purge is set to commence. The filmmakers could have come up with something better besides the very basic, shallow answer we have heard countless times before: to control the population. It seems just incredibly lazy to me why nothing else creative or interesting could have been given instead of the typical answer. It is the fourth installment in this series. There is absolutely no reason why something new or something different could have been done.

I hoped to see the inner workings of the corrupt government, the tense meeting where it was decided the Purge was going to be implemented and especially the hectic days before first Purge was slated to commence. But no, instead we are just thrown into the very day it is supposed to happen with absolutely no backstory. Yawn.

Thankfully what the film does have going for it is a very talented and diverse cast full of relatively unknowns who all deliver very good performances. The standout here though is lead performer Y’lan Noel who plays drug lord Dmitri and watchful protector over our other lead character Nya, played wonderfully by Lex Scott Davis. Noel is a new bonafide action star, and he is nothing short of a revelation in his role. I just know he has a bright future ahead of himself. I most definitely want to see him in many, many more things because he seems born to be an action star, and if his performance in this is what we can expect from him all the time, then he should be in every action movie.

I keep saying “action movie,” and while “The Purge” franchise is a mix of horror and action, the scares are pretty much nonexistent here with the exception of one character (and you will know exactly who I am talking about from the very first frame of this movie). The previous installments had some decent scares thrown in there, but this one solely relied on cheap jump scares, which is such a shame. These movies obviously have the potential to be at least a little creepy, but this one felt solely like an action movie. I honestly wanted to see some good scares, but I just did not get them.

“The First Purge” seemingly had the most potential of any other movie in this franchise, but it unfortunately squanders all of it underneath the skull of a typical, routine action movie. It not only lacks quality scares, but also lacks any sort of depth, too. At least it gave us a showcase for actor Noel, but I certainly wanted much more from this.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Featured Image: Photo courtesy “The First Purge” Facebook

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Spencer Kain

Spencer Kain

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