The Purge is a rare series of films in which the first movie is beyond mediocre, but the sequels more than make up for it. The concept was always interesting, but the first film just didn’t pull it off. Subsequent films, however, did. Now we’re dipping into prequel territory with “The First Purge.” Right off the bat, the marketing team behind The First Purge showed some real balls by releasing a divisive campaign depicting the Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” hat as a symbol of The Purge. Almost like what happened in the 2016 election cycle, with Donald Trump and his sycophants taking over the republican party, here an entirely new third party is formed for similar reasons.
The New Founding Fathers of America, otherwise known as the N.F.F.A. are the driving force behind The Purge, and they have made it their party platform to see that it is a success. As a test, the city of Staten Island will serve as the Colosseum. If the experiment succeeds, the plan is to take The Purge national. The First Purge is very topical. The political symbology is more than just a clever marketing gimmick. All throughout The First Purge there are little events and even small one-liners that relate to our real world current events. There are rallies and protests, pussy grabbing, and even as is always suggested in real life, the bussing in of in of outside agitators. A media circus, the poor versus the rich, an uprising of pissed off citizens. The First Purge has all of these things. One of the more interesting aspects of the story is the fact that the experiment preys on the poor, much like corporate America, offering cash to low income citizens willing to forgo evacuating during the purge, with the chance of earning bonuses by actually participating in the Purge.
The First Purge uses the first half of its running time to introduce you to the characters, so expect a slower building movie than you got with the last couple of Purge movies. Characters are introduced, and we’re shown a bit of their lives, so that when they’re put in dire circumstances, we might actually care what happens to them. Once the action begins, it plays out like any other Purge movie(except for the first) and that’s not a bad thing. If you like the action from The Purge: Anarchy, it’s likely that you’ll enjoy The First Purge once it gets going as well.
Overall I found The First Purge to be an effective entry into an ongoing series that I’m already a big fan of. It’s relevant to the times we’re living in, even if it is an over-the-top parody, lots of things hit close to home. I’d highly recommend this movies to fans of The Purge, and maybe those just looking for something new to watch. It’s a well made movie, and it’s equal parts entertaining and scary(as in, this could maybe really happen). Universal’s Blu-ray release of The First Purge is now available. It features a crisp 1080p video transfer presented in 2.39:1, and an English 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio track. The disc also features English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras include a deleted scene, and some behind the scenes featurettes, including a look at the masks of The First Purge.