Hi.

Welcome to my website. To the left here you have a listing of all my film reviews over the last 7 years.  In addition, go to the SUCK page for movies I hated and the Good Days page for some of my absolute favs. Hope you have a nice stay!

THE FIRST PURGE Review: 3 out of 10 (Dry Heave it Back)

THE FIRST PURGE Review: 3 out of 10 (Dry Heave it Back)

THE FIRST PURGE is a dystopian action/horror film directed by Gerard McMurray and starring Y'Lan Noel, Lex Scott DavisJoivan WadeLuna Lauren Velez, Kristen Solis and Marisa Tomei. It is the fourth installment in The Purge franchise, and works as a prequel depicting the origins of the first annual "Purge", a 12-hour period in which all crime in America is legal. Written and produced by James DeMonaco, it marks the first film of the series not to be directed by him. And it is clearly a downgrade. For a film series that has, at times, had some biting social commentary about classism, racism, religion, politics, and beyond—THE FIRST PURGE relies far more on the film’s previous ideas and fails to do anything fresh or interesting.  Instead, it simplifies the ideas of the series to a dullness. There isn’t anything left to say for this series, it seems. Instead, it just leaves behind any subtext in favor of an urban setting where African Americans are murdered on the streets, work as drug dealers, or cower in churches. Instead of pointing at stereotypes and calling them out, this film glorifies in them.

In the origins of the story, the New Founding Fathers of America are looking to conduct a social experiment of “the purge” which is a 12-hour window of lawlessness designed to lower crime and violence. In reality, it is designed as a strike against the poor and people of color. It is also so clearly stated here that one wonders how the “purge” would have survived such a clear message that the film offers. There is no deceit or gambit here. Those in power barely attempt to even hide their clear intent to kill off people of color. At least previous chapters of the film had a more complicated premise of the privileged wanting to commit crimes, and even those willing to pay the poor to sacrifice themselves. Here, the film is a one note nihilism of “Black Lives Matter.” Y’Lan Noel is a bright spot here, starring as a local drug dealer in Staten Island who decides to rage against the machine once he realizes what the government is trying to do to his turf. But whereas previous films had Frank Grillo as a paid mercenary with fighting skills, THE FIRST PURGE posits that a local drug dealer doubles as a ninja killing machine. If there is a subtle reference that he was a former Navy Seal or some Special Ops agent, I missed it. Instead, I am just to assume that all New York drug kingpins have the ability to maim and kill dozens of trained military with ease. {Sigh}

If that were the only fallacy here it might be salvageable. But the flat characters paired with even flatter acting creates a movie that might cause a headache from eye-rolls. The whole production feels more like a pilot for a TV series…but once the credits roll…the realization that this film is exactly that (USA network is launching a Purge series this fall) seems more plausible in terms of quality, tone, and effort. Watching low-res 15 second clips of fireworks from your friends on your phone will likely be more entertaining. THE FIRST PURGE is the worst chapter in this franchise, but it probably won’t be the last.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT Review: 10 (Accept the Mission)

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT Review: 10 (Accept the Mission)

HEARTS BEAT LOUD Review: 10 (For the Love of Music)

HEARTS BEAT LOUD Review: 10 (For the Love of Music)