The First Purge (2018)

Director: Gerard McMurray

Writer: James DeMonaco (Screenplay)

Starring: Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Patch Darragh, Marisa Tomei, Luna Lauren Velez

 

Plot: The film will be a prequel that will focus on the events that lead up to the very first Purge event.


Tagline – Witness the Birth of an American Tradition

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Prequel

 

Story: The First Purge starts as scientist Dr Updale (Tomei) has come up with an experiment to let people have a 12-hour crime free night to help unleash stress from the world, with the new government rising, Chief of Staff Arlo Sabian (Darragh) has funded this experiment on Staten Island.

The residents are from the lower class divided between the druggies and the minimum wagers, Nya (Davis) who supports her younger brother Isaiah (Wade) know the hardship of the life of crime, her ex-boyfriend, the King of Staten Island Dmitri (Noel) has thrived in it, however they are both against the Purge. When the Purge starts we get the usual mixed results before the bigger picture becomes clear and Dmitri must lead the war against the invading groups coming to the island, this is just the beginning of the bigger picture.

 

Thoughts on The First Purge

 

Characters – Dmitri or D is the king of the island, running the drug world, keeping the closest to him out of it, he demands loyalty from his soldiers, but grants respect if people don’t get involved in his business. He still has a candle in his heart for Nya and once her learns the truth about the Purge he goes to war to protect his neighbourhood. Nya is one of the lead campaigners against the Purge, she wants to keep the people safe, especially the ones with nowhere to go. Her brother is the most important part of her life and she will not let anything happen to him or let him fall into the wrong crowd, tonight will be her biggest test as her past will become key to surviving. Isaiah soon becomes the one character you hate the most, he is a high school kid (I think) that has tried to enter the life of crime, even with a door open to him to make clean money, he sees the Purge as a chance to get revenge on druggie that attacked him, he is one of the examples of what it would be like if a real purge happened, he would be all talk and not be able to follow through. Dr Updale create the concept, she wants it contained to prove it would be a success, but little does she know the real plan for the idea. Arlo Sabian is the Chief of Staff overseeing the operation and he will get results no matter what happens. In the rest of the mix of characters we get, the friends from the neighbourhood trying to survive something they had no choice but to be a part off, the psychos who come out of the woodwork with Skeletor being both over the top and interesting to watch and we have the gang that surround Dmitri with their own quirks that are never fully used.

PerformancesY’lan Noel for me was the true star of this film, he had to step into the shoes left by Frank Grillo as the bad ass action figure in the film and he shines, it felt at times like we were watching a Blade audition from this actor. Lex Scott Davis is good for the emotional material, but when her character comes to making smart decisions we don’t see her at her best because Nya makes too many horror cliché mistakes. Joivan Wade is fine, but nothing more as are the rest of the cast, Patch Darragh is never as menacing as he should been and Tomei doesn’t get the time to give her character the full development.

StoryThe story here teaches us how the Purge came about, with an experiment in a contained environment, now this is a good and a cad thing, first the good, we do have an early interaction between Dmitri and Nya opening discussion how a drug lord acts with murder everyday of the year, what will the Purge do differently, this was smart, but never followed up on. The whole how with the people react as they need the money thing worked too. The negatives come from the idea the psychos are ready for this night, we understand that for later instalments, but the first one seems strange. The second thing that seemed strange was, diving straight in the political agenda, we know this happens later in the franchise, but if you were to watch the film in order of events, the very first film would feel completely out of place now. As for the most part of the night, we know how these go now, we watch a small group try to survive the purge against the odds and it becomes a wild action ride story.

Action/Horror/Sci-Fi The action once let loose if great, it doesn’t hold back and potentially gave us a new action star. The horror has continued t go downhill in this franchise as it becomes more of an action franchise, we get a couple of jump scares and that is it. The sci-fi used in this film follows a world where a night of killing or committing crime can happen, while this does seem to be the first in the franchise to address the idea murder isn’t the only crime, which is better for the concept.

SettingsStaten Island is the setting, now the contained environment is a good thing, the problem here is, if you don’t know anything about this location, you won’t know what the neighbourhood will mainly contain regarding race and class of the people there.

Special EffectsNow the effects are interesting, the kills, well you can’t complain at all, but when it comes to the contact lenses that make them look like 80s werewolves, well this becomes weird and annoying, even if it makes sense why they are wearing them.


Scene of the Movie –
The tower block.

That Moment That Annoyed Me What happens to Dr Updale.

Final ThoughtsThis is another good addition to this franchise, that does know it is over the top and has continued to keep he social messages on the nose.

 

Overall: Great addition to the franchise.

Rating

 

 

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Money Train (1995)

Director: Joseph Ruben

Writer: Doug Richardson, David Loughery (Screenplay) Doug Richardson (Story)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Lopez, Robert Blake, Chris Cooper, Joe Grifasi

 

Plot: A vengeful New York transit cop decides to steal a trainload of subway fares; his foster brother, a fellow cop, tries to protect him.


Tagline – If you’re a criminal, Stay on the Train!

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Throughout

 

Story: Money Train starts as we follow two New York Transit Cops John (Snipes) and Charlie (Harrelson) foster brothers that work well together as they look to take on pick pocketers in the subway system. When they get a new member to their team Grace (Lopez) the two brothers argue over who gets first chance at hitting on her.

When one of the brothers is pushed too far, he ends up going against the law and the only person that can save him in his brother.

 

Thoughts on Money Train

 

Characters – John is one of the foster brother pairing, he is the responsible one that always has Charlie’s back and bails him out of the trouble he gets in. Charlie is the screw up of the brother pairing, he has drinking and gambling problems which have caused him to fall of the straight life. Grace is the rookie cop that joins the unit causing the brothers to bicker over who should hit on her first, this isn’t the strongest woman character because it implies that a new girl to a unit will become first one to be hit on and quite happy to go along with things, rather than be a free thinker, but she can handle herself in a fight.

PerformancesWesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson had fantastic chemistry during this time and it shows in their performances here as they nail the comedy and action required for the roles. Jennifer Lopez is good in her role filling the support role well.

StoryThe story follows two foster brothers that have overcome their upbringing to become good transit police, we see how the bicker and have big plans for life, but when one gets pushed too far the other must stop him making the biggest mistake of his life. While this is entertainment the film does lack from a true villain for the brothers needing to work together to overcome and when one turns he is only desperate over being a danger.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is by the book with the final chase being the highlight of the film, the comedy is not thrown in too heavy and comes through Snipes and Harrelson’s chemistry. The crime side of the film shows how the two brothers must get their jobs done against the odds

SettingsNew York makes for a good setting for this to unfold because it shows the high crimes in the subway system. The subway tracks work for the big final chase too.


Scene of the Movie –
Train chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lack of a real villain.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action comedy that shows us that Harrelson and Snipes were fantastic pairing, most of the film is routine, but its lack of a true villain puts a spanner in any threat they face.

 

Overall: Fun, funny and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – D – Downfall (2004)

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Writer: Bernd Eichinger (Screenplay) Joachim Fest, Traudi Junge, Melissa Muller (Book)

Starring: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Kohler, Heino Ferch

 

Plot: Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator’s final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.


Tagline – April 1945, a nation awaits its…

Runtime: 2 Hours 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful & Revealing

 

Story: Downfall starts as we see Traudi Junge (Lara) hired by Adolf Hitler (Ganz) to be his next secretary, she would stay in this role for 2 and half years, as we pick up the story as the Nazi’s soldiers are facing the battle to keep Berlin, one of their last strong holds in Europe.

In the final days we see how Hitler is losing the loyalty of the ones he trusted most and is finding himself facing certain defeat, but he isn’t going down without fighting.

 

Thoughts on Downfall

 

Characters – The characters in this movie are based on real people, any discussion is only about how they are depicted in this movie, my opinions are not being discussed here. Adolf Hitler is the leader of the Nazi’s they have been at war with Europe for years, not the battle looks like it will be ending, he has lost faith in the people he trusted to lead for him and no he is cleaning up the people that betrayed him, preparing for defeat, but never giving up full hope in recovering. This version of Hitler is like any dictator that is about to lose, he has given everything for his own belief and demands loyalty through even the worst times. Traudi Junge is the final secretary for Hitler, she is one of the only non-military people to know what Hitler was thinking, how he was acting in those final days. We do meet plenty of the people closest to Hitler, family and military in the final days the ones that stood with him and the ones that betrayed him.

PerformancesBruno Ganz is fantastic in this leading role, he gives us multiply memorable moments even though he is playing such a hated man in history. Alexandra Maria Lara is great in her role while the cast in the whole does nothing wrong all giving us great performances through the film.

StoryThe story here shows the final days of Hilter’s reign of terror over Europe, now this isn’t going to be something that everyone will want to see, because we know how diabolical the actions of the Nazis were. Withdrawing myself from any personal connection to this story, we are left with a very interesting take on how a fallen dictator will be taking everything before the battle is finally over, how the people closest to him would act, be it fear of him, fear of the consequences or even the reality they could now be free from his power. The chaos is clear to see, the betrayal he feels is shocking to see for someone that is meant to be so feared by his own side and the relief for the innocent is clear to see. This story isn’t going to be easy to watch, but the story is essential for any war historian.

Biopic/HistorySeeing the final days of Hitler before facing his impending defeat is interesting to see unfold the biopic and historical side of the film shows this in an accuracy unheard of before.

SettingsThe film does take us to what feels like a realistic setting for the whole film, the middle of battle at times and in the last strong hold Hitler held.


Scene of the Movie –
Protecting the family.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is very long over 2 and half hours.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most essential historical viewings of any movie, it shows the defeated dictator facing his reality while the high ranking generals etc doing whatever it takes to serve or betray him to survive.

 

Overall: Must watch historical drama

Rating