This exploitative prequel introduces a NRA-backed third political party, New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA), whose conservative spokesman occupies the White House in the dystopian near-future.

Looking for a way to curb out-of-control crime and burn off sociopathic anger, the government adopts a ritual theorized by Dr. May Updale (Marisa Tomei), which postulates giving people a temporary ‘free pass’ to do whatever they want for a specified period of time – one night – encourages lawful behavior during the rest of the year.

Choosing a densely populated, yet easily isolated place – New York’s self-contained Staten Island – this implausible, aggression-releasing ‘experiment’ soon becomes a 12-hour bloodbath.

The protagonists are African-American or Latina, like Dmitri (Y’lan Noel), a skeptical drug kingpin who plans to take cover and stay there, and his onetime girlfriend Nya (Lex Scott Davis), a community activist who is aware that civility is at stake and joins her ‘resistance’ neighbors in church.

Sharing a different view is Nya’s younger brother Isaiah (Jovian Wade), who views the pilot program as an opportunity to settle scores with Skeletor (Rotimi Paul), a psychopathic bully.

To encourage murder and mayhem, officials, like NFFA chief-of-staff Arlo Sabian (Patch Darragh), offer a financial incentive of $5,000 to enthusiastic mercenaries, along with contact-lens video-cameras to record their depravity.

Sloppily scripted as an origin story by James DeMonaco and haphazardly directed by Gerard McMurray, it’s the fourth film in the action/horror/thriller franchise that started with “The Purge” (2013), followed by “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014) and “The Purge: Election Year” (2016).

Fanning the publicity fire, Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (“Get Out”) told Variety: “If every time there’s a shooting in the United States, the government’s answer is to put more guns in people’s hands, then what ‘The Purge’ is showing doesn’t seem all that crazy.”

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On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The First Purge” is a cynical, satirical 4. And there’s nothing subtle about the poster: a red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.

Tags : #The First Purge, #Reviews, #Marisa Tomei

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