Not surprisingly, based on what is going on now in the U.S., a lot of films coming out of there have to do with race and economics or a lack of money by a whole swath of the population. Now, it has even crept into The Purge film series, if you can believe it. What is happening south of the border really looms over this entire film. It is a whole new direction for this film series. This time around there is more of an attempt to focus on story and even emotion. While that might intrigue a whole slew of new people to the series who would not have been interested in what it had been before, it also, with its lessening of the violence and deaths, probably alienated fans until this point. Changing things up is not necessarily bad, but in this instance it did not really serve the film.
A third political party is now the ruling one in the United States. They are called the New Founding Fathers of America. One of their goals is to have the crime rate go under 1 percent. To help them attain this goal they follow a psychological theory which states that it can be achieved if you allow humans a short time where anything goes. Developed further by Dr. May Updale (Marisa Tomei – The Fighter, My Cousin Vinny), it is decided that for 12 hours citizens will be allowed to do as they wish or purge without any fear of punishment.
To kill two birds with one stone, it is also decided that the area where you could purge would be the problematic (in their eyes), poor and very African American borough of Staten Island. To encourage residents of this area to stay there they offer anyone who stays in Staten Island for the 12 hours $5,000 and some compensation for those who chose to purge. To monitor everything, those who participate are outfitted with tracking devices and contact lenses with cameras. All is being watched.
Director Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands) brings us the prequel to the previous films. We learn how the Purge began. Its origins. Where it came from and how it might have evolved into what it is. A very interesting idea. Somewhere along the ball is dropped. Heavily. Making a big bang. Basically the nugget of a good idea is ruined by the unsteady acting, characters which are only stereotypes and not fleshed out in the least, no story development, hokey dialogue, and blatantly racist stuff going on.
At the beginning I was hopeful as there were some interesting things about certain neighbourhoods being behind the eight ball never really allowed to better themselves due to greed, power and racism. Then it just devolves into rhetoric. No real examination of the real issues. Simplistic. All blacks are either drug dealers, gang members or victims. White people are all evil.
-A Radical Experiment
-Bringing the Chaos
-The Masks of The First Purge