Plot: In the wake of the political corruption unleashed by Democrats and Republicans, the American people finally shook up the election process and voted in a new group, known as the New Founding Fathers. This group has went outside the normal methods of research and contracted Dr. Updale (Marisa Tomei) to find some social science answers to the violence and crime that plague so many communities. Her solution is The Purge, an event in which all crime is legal for twelve hours and with the intent of allowing people to purge their base instincts, thus lowering crime the rest of the year and creating a better nation. A small scale, experimental version of The Purge is set to occur and Staten Island will host the event. Locals are allowed to leave if they wish, but have been offered five thousand dollars to remain and even more if they participate in a more active sense. But when the night’s violence is slower than expected, will the experiment simply fizzle out or will the New Founding Fathers take action of their own, to ensure the bloodshed ramps up and redeems The Purge?
Entertainment Value: I love the premise of this series, but the first three movies were mediocre and failed to capture much of that potential. A heavy handed, bumbled political and social agenda ensured the movies had dull narratives and never ran with the concept, which has endless possibilities. The First Purge takes us back to the creation of the event and in predictable fashion, is more heavy handed than ever and desperate to be relevant, but is simplistic and forgettable instead. The movie rallies behind a drug dealer who has helped devastate the community long before The Purge, while a local social justice leader is treated like an afterthought. The movie also drops all pretense of horror and sticks with bland action sequences, as we watch countless waves of elite level mercenaries taken out in repetitive fashion. The movie wants to be Inglorious Basterds, but has no narrative or character depth, content to glorify the least likable character instead of Nya, a social minded woman who represents a positive force in her world, even when The Purge isn’t a threat. A forced, ineffective thriller that easily winds up as the weakest of the series.
No nakedness. This one has no sleaze, so some twerking is about as close to sexual content as the movie gets. The movie has frequent violence once The Purge begins, with some assorted attacks, but nearly all gun related carnage. So there are a lot of blood splashes from the gun shots and blade wounds, but sadly, this movie has some of the worst visual effects I’ve ever seen. The CGI looks atrocious, as if Windows Paint was used to add in the bloodshed. The movie’s visuals are often bathed in darkness, which makes the terrible visual effects even harder to understand, since the flaws should be lessened in the shadows. I was also shocked by some of the green screen work here, as this seems rushed and haphazard to be kind. So yes, there’s a good deal of blood, but it is so poorly crafted, you can’t help but laugh. The dialogue is mostly run of the mill tough guy talk and corrupt politician lingo, but one hilariously cringe level jab at Trump was so on the nose and poorly executed, I’m awarding a bonus point. As for craziness, aside from how laughably bad the social and political elements are, this one comes off like a pretty standard thriller. The miserable visual effects and choice to feature a drug dealer over a community leader also add some wackiness.
Overall Insanity: 1/10