by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
 Satire Forgotten, "First Purge" Dallies and Blasts Current Crippling Polar Opposite Political Clienteles

"Get off the street and into the church," sound  like words of sanctuary beckoning. except it's on Staten Island, scene of a limited government experiment intended to lower the nation's crime rate. 

Saturated by brief "what makes you angry" exchanges among ordinary Island residents, a pseudo social workers convinces  reluctant low income high risers to stay on the venue and "participate" in "The First Purge," a synonym for twelve hours of lawlessness amnesty as a means of allowing the angry populace to vent their urges.

 Satire Forgotten, "First Purge" Dallies and Blasts Current Crippling Polar Opposite Political Clienteles

"The First" has two arcs --- the preliminary recruitment/protest phase and the escalating long night of instigated massacres. During the first "act," we meet three protagonists, Purge protestor Nya (Lex Scott Davis), her brother Isaiah (Joivan Wade), and her ex-boyfriend Dmitri (Y’lan Noel), the leader of a drug-dealing gang.

Interestingly, Director Gerard McMurray and screenwriter James DeMonaco's satiric urges have the neighborhood gangs standing neutral. It's an unexpected deviation eliminating natural revenge warfare. 

My use of "urge" betrays the awkward trades from obvious symbolic subtleties reflecting the nation's jagged split values and surging inequalities. Here the "experiment" and planted social psychologist (Marisa Tomei) forsake creative symbolism for quickly exploited testaments to the Charleston church shooting,  white supremacist march in Charlottesville and a brief flash of rogue purging cops. 

Further, "Purge" rules are slightly vague concerning non-participants remaining  --- until the church ambush, a stay inside lure versus defensive postures prevail. This premise has residents "testing" the dark secluded streets for parameters. 

For franchise fans, this wobble to overt political elements dips the action into an out numbered and out weaponed  dysonian Colosseum under siege.  John Carpenter's "Escape from New York" comes to mind with a tip of "The Warriors."  Tarnished, yet strong protagonists, cleverly ascertain the experiment's ultimate 'foundation,' which coupled with the first flick in the series marginally enlivens the think tank which empties in favor of duck and shoot in the hood.

Ultimately "The First's" chilling jar pops wide the state of the nation. It's what's next that leaves me scaringly uncomfortable.