There is a select segment of society that relishes violence and death on the big screen. I, however, am not one of those individuals. I saw the other “Purge” movies, so spending my time with this one is part of my duty as an at-large film critic.
With “The First Purge,” Blumhouse Productions raids its piggy bank again to create another chapter in this low-budget franchise that will undoubtedly turn a profit for the studio.
Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei (“My Cousin Vinny”) makes an appearance as The Architect – Dr. Updike in this fourth installment. With an experiment, as it were, she sets out to see if citizens can find an outlet to release their pent-up aggression and hostility. It all sounds good on paper, but when she witnesses the results firsthand, she is in shock and dismayed. She does not realize the U.S. government is using the data she has collected for its own ulterior motives.
In addition to Tomei, Luna Velez is the only familiar face to those who follow pop culture and television. Velez appeared on Showtime’s “Dexter” for several years as Capt. Maria LaGuerta.
The rest are new faces and include Lex Scott Davis as Nya, Y’lan Noel as Dimitri, Joivan Wade as Isaiah, Kristen Solis as Selena and Rotimi Paul as Skeletor, a “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” reference. Paul plays the villain in the story who is credited with the first purge kill. He has tattoos splashed across his face and looks like the embodiment of pure evil.
The bulk of the film takes place on Staten Island, a borough of New York City. Flying armed drones are interwoven into the storyline and are used to wipe out entire families at the drop of a hat. The movie also makes references to the private security company, Blackwater Protection, and ways of life affecting the lower class.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a fan of the horror genre and found the entire movie stupid and preposterous. I find it futile to invest in characters when they are inevitably going to die. But when it comes to horror-comedies, I am all in. I relished Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn,” “Zombieland” and the gem that was “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.”
So the reader knows, I gave 2013’s “The Purge” a C-, while the follow-ups with “Anarchy” (2014) a C and “Election Year” (2016) a C+.
“The First Purge” does what it’s supposed to do in re-introducing a pointless time-waster that is as forgettable as drinking a can of soda.