The unhinged Resistance finally has a movie to call its own.
Films take a considerable time to go from the drawing pad to the big screen. “The Purge” franchise is much more fleet of foot. It releases a new entry every year or two, and that’s not including the upcoming “Purge” series on USA Network.
So “The First Purge,” a peek at the dawn of the blood-soaked conceit, came of age at the height of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
And it shows.
Scene after scene plays out like a Daily KOS fever dream. White cops menacing a fallen black man. Government troops dressed like Nazis wiping out innocent minorities. One government soldier literally wears an Al Jolson-style mask. Said soldier is white with bright blond hair.
Every element of the Left’s Trump paranoia is on full display in the fourth film in the already left-leaning franchise. Where “The First Purge” excels, though, is in never letting its heavy handed messaging get in the way of the grindhouse good times.
Heads splatter. Guns blaze. A few action sequences even sparkle amidst the gritty patina that marks the low-brow franchise. And our hero, a drug dealer with a heart of gold, is given charisma to burn by Y’lan Noel.
Make note of that name.
— The First Purge (@UniversalHorror) July 2, 2018
“The First Purge” takes us back to an America where protests are on the rise (check!) and the economy is hemorrhaging jobs and hope (oops!). The New Founding Fathers of America, the fascist party featured in the previous entries, wins a shocking presidential victory and suggests an experiment to make America great again.
Those words aren’t spoke. They’re simply implied repeatedly.
Staten Island will serve as the country’s Purge incubator. For those unfamiliar with the franchise’s hook, that means the New York borough will lift all laws for 12 hours to let citizens “purge” their worst instincts.
Drugs. Gambling. Thievery. Murder.
The theory, posited by the film’s “scientist” (Marisa Tomei) is that a yearly event like this will let the citizens’ rage out so they can live the rest of the year in harmony. And, if Staten Island residents don’t want to play along, a $5,000 check my change their minds.
FAST FACT: The 2013 film “The Purge” made $64 million at the U.S. box office on a $3 million budget.
Once again the franchise digs deep into racism, class warfare and how the American dream is unavailable for black and brown citizens. The latter is proven false every single day in the real world, but given the progressive nature of the franchise (and Hollywood in toto), that’s the thought process.
Local drug lord Dimitri (Noel) just wants to endure the purge and go back to business as usual. That means poisoning his neighborhood while lining his pockets. His ex Nya (Lex Scott Davis) shames him for his immorality, but since he’s the hero of the film you know she’ll have a change of heart.
When the first Purge begins violence is at a minimum. That just won’t do for the NFFA. They’ve got a secret plan to boost the bloodshed for their own nefarious purposes.'The First Purge' takes us back to an America where protests are on the rise (check!) and the economy is hemorrhaging jobs and hope (oops!)Click To Tweet
The franchise loves attacking the NRA and Christians. This time, the former is name checked only once and a church serves as a possible sanctuary from the violence. The real target in “The First Purge” is President Donald Trump. Not the crude but surprisingly effective leader, mind you. It’s Hollywood’s crazed take on his first two years in office.
- White Nationalism
All those elements play into “The First Purge.” For those living their lives and ignoring the Fake News this feels like yet another dystopian tale. Members of The Resistance? They’ll think they’re watching “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
The most intriguing, and fearsome, character here is Skeletor (Rotimi Paul), a lanky freak show with facial marks that resemble a skeleton’s face. He’s more frightening than any ’80s serial killer, but he all but disappears in the second act.
The story’s attempt to bring conspiracies to life is remarkable. The NFFA floods State Island with guns hoping the locals wipe each other out, a la the drug conspiracy tied to the inner city in the 1980s with little hard proof.
It’s only a matter of time, then, that some KKK like figures enter the frame (it’s Charlottesville all over again, get it?). They’re soon met by Dimitri’s gang, leading to an almost elegant ballet of bloodshed. Some action sequences feel like several different directions shot them, given the wildly different tones employed.
A sequence shot in a narrow staircase would like right at home in the best of the “Bourne” films. It’s that taut.
The film’s reliance on Nazi imagery, from the NFFA logo to the shiny leather suits donned by its enforcers, would make Judd Apatow proud.
The messages here are all from the Left, but they routinely ignore the facts on the ground and progressive groupthink. The story tells us not to trust the government, yet the franchise flows from an ideology that demands we make government bigger and bigger. The Left wants total gun control, but “The First Purge” cheers citizens using weapons to fight back against a fascist state.
The NFFA thrives, in part, thanks to the NRA’s bulging coffers. In reality? The NRA’s financial might is a figment of the far-left’s imagination.
As if the film’s ideology weren’t obvious enough, far-left pundit Van Jones appears as a news man. Take away from that what you will about media bias.
Another inconvenient truth “The First Purge” ignores? Violence flows from the right in “The Purge” franchise, yet we see a steady flow of hate and violence from the modern Left. Public officials spat on, screamed at and chased out of restaurants. ICE offices vandalized. Antifa on the march.
Tomei’s absurd character is featured prominently in the film’s first half. She’s the scientist overseeing the Purge, oblivious ot the fact that innocents will be killed. She calls the Purge excess “freeing violence,” a clever spin on how politicians massage the truth.
“The First Purge” hits theaters at a perfect time for The Resistance. The reality doesn’t quite match their fury, including record low levels of unemployment for black and Latino Americans. Look past that, and you’ll find the kind of B-movie fun suitable for genre lovers of either party.
HiT or Miss: “The First Purge’s” politics are angry, confused and off target, but that can’t deny the propulsive power of the franchise’s key selling point.