Movie Review: The First Purge (2018)

Synopsis: After a new political party, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) takes control of the government, they announce a social experiment on Long Island that will make all crime, including murder, legal for 12 hours and offer residents financial compensation for participating. As Long Island's residents plan to hide in their homes or attend parties, the NFFA takes steps to ensure their experiment will be successful.

Who's in it? The movie stars Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Y'lan Noel, Marisa Tomei and Rotimi Paul.

Review: To tell you the truth, I was a bit disappointed when I got this movie from Netflix yesterday. I've never been a huge fan of the Purge movies and, while I did have this on my DVD list, it was way at the bottom. However, since there wasn't much on TV last night except re-runs of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, my wife and I wound up watching it. And, as it turns out, it was better than I expected it to be.

I think the thing I found interesting about this movie was the overall reaction to the first "Purge." It turned out to be the exact opposite as what I was expecting it to be, with the majority of the people in the film content just riding out the 12 hours in hiding rather than taking advantage of a penalty-free 12 hours. This is, of course, in contrast to the other movies in this franchise and was a nice twist.

The part about one of the main heroes (Noel) being the local drug lord was also much more interesting than I would have expected. In fact, as the movie progressed, I found myself wanting to know more about him because, with his military training and various other skills, it would be interesting to learn why, exactly, he chose to deal drugs.

I also have to admit, the crazed drug addict, Skeletor (Paul) was a nice addition. He seemed like he would be a perfect fit on a night dedicated to violence and I was actually a little disappointed he disappeared for a chunk of the movie.

My only real complaint about the movie is I feel like it gave the view a little too much information. For example, I would much rather have seen the NFFA's secret plan to get the night's festivities going be revealed in pieces, as the night progressed rather than have the movie spell it out for me. Or, better, leave it up for debate. Was it the NFFA? Or, was something else happening? That way, as a viewer, I wouldn't know for certain if the Purge worked the way it was expected to or if there was an outside influence.

Final Opinion: Still not a huge fan of the overall franchise but did think this film was entertaining.

My Grade: B


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