This Independence Day sees the release of the fourth film in The Purge franchise, The First Purge, which takes us back to the beginning of the carnage. This series has pretty consistently divided critics, with some appreciating its thrills and themes, and some finding them predictable and full of stupid characters making stupid choices. The reviews for The First Purge are now hitting the internet, and it looks like this movie will again be subject to reviews of the mixed variety. For CinemaBlend's own Conner Schwerdtfeger, who gave the film three stars out of five, there is fun to be had with fantastic action and interesting world-building, even if the film's big ideas are undercut by lackluster storytelling. From Conner's review:
The mythology of this universe and the genesis of the Purge itself are part of what makes this story interesting and inevitably that leads into the political subtext that has increasingly become a part of the series. Uproxx's Vince Mancini appreciated the the way The First Purge delivers a deeper message, even if the film itself is rather silly.
For many, The First Purge seems to live or die based on how effective the social commentary was for the reviewer. Many of the negative reviews found the film's message heavy-handed and ineffectual. Bloody Disgusting was among this camp, finding the message "consistently undercooked," and worse than that, didn't think the film was entertaining.
Along with the political commentary and pulpiness, the thrills that the series is known for as Purgers chase Purgees seem to be intact. Many of the reviews, even some of the negative ones, tease that although it takes a while to get there, the end of the film packs a serious punch and is worth the wait. From The Detroit News:
A common thread among the reviews also seems to be the standout performance of lead Y'Lan Noel as drug kingpin Dmitri. Eric Kohn of IndieWire noted how the latest entry in the Purge series leans more action than horror, and how star Y'Lan Noel from HBO's Insecure is a standout in this environment.
Although the lead is every bit the action hero and the end is a blast, for SlashFilm that simply isn't enough, as the performances don't make up for "the clunkiness of the script". The First Purge is trying to do and be a lot of things, but it all adds up to less than the sum of its parts.
Ultimately, chances are, if you liked the previous Purge films, there's a good chance that you'll like The First Purge. As JoBlo notes, there is fun to be had if you don't take it too seriously.
If you're looking for some timely political satire and social commentary, along with a healthy does of hyper-violence and action, or if you're already a fan of the series, you'll probably find a lot to like with The First Purge. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest in movie reviews and news, and check out our release schedule for everything else hitting theaters this year.
Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.
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