Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The First Purge - Movie Review (2.5/5 Stars)

By Hamza Shafique (Instagram / Facebook)

“The First Purge” is a dystopian action horror film and is prequel to extremely successful Purge trilogy. These Purge movies are made with a budget of 9 to 13 million USD and always end up making more than 110 million USD, making them extremely profitable. Audience for this genre is limited but loyal. “The First Purge” follows the same pattern as the first three movies in franchise and does give the audience what they are looking for but in bits and pieces.

Screenplay takes forever to setup the characters and back story. We know this movie needs to touch base with how it all started but regular audience already knows what Purge is from the original movies. In such scenarios writers need to do that part in the crispest manner possible, which is missing here. Secondly “Black lives matter” agenda is written in the most obvious way possible. Since Trump came into power this topic is the talk of the town and even big studios like Marvel are influenced by it (Black Panther being the recent example). I know it’s a hot topic and sells perfectly in today’s environment, but this should be infused in to the plot in a subtle yet impactful manner, something again missing here. As an audience we don’t come to see movies of this genre for political statements or drama. We come to cinema for the action with the element of horror, surrounding the characters we sympathize up to some extent. So does this movie has it? Yes, it does but by the time we get to it, we are already bored and tired because of the dull characters and back story setup.

The good thing about the film is that when the Purge starts, fun starts as well. Action is fun and has the usual grim dark tone which is the staple of the franchise. People wearing weird masks carrying guns in the light/smoke play create the right psychotic experience one expects from the franchise.
Performances are mediocre, and I blame writing for it. Some of the characters feel unnecessary as well. Cliched characters with dull storylines keeps us disconnected and restricts the full experience as well. Still Lex Scott Davis as Nya does well in her scope.
For this installment director James DeMonaco (who directed the original trilogy) takes the back seat and let Gerard McMurray direct the show and it shows. I wish we had more of purge and less of the unexciting characters display, I go with 2.5 stars.

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