The First Power (1990)
Director: Robert Resnikoff
Lou Diamond Phillips/Logan
La Bamba cop (Lou Diamond Phillips) sends killer (Kober) to gas chamber. Killer expires and comes back as a spirit donned with the first power; one of resurrection. Killer goes on to possess various people and make La Bamba’s life a living hell. Lots of zany chases ensue. [sings] “Para bailar La Bamba, para bailar La Bamba!”
See you around “Buddy Boy”--- Patrick Channing
I went “Tostitos” for “The First Power” when I saw it on the big screen upon its theatrical release. Key moments from the picture have been engraved in my grey matter since that first viewing (like the 10-story jump, the fan scene, or the spinning bag lady) and there’s something to be said about that. Experiencing it today at a less impressionable age, it did lose some of its luster, but it still made for a groovy, easy genre wham-bam and I must admit…I have a soft spot for this movie…there’s just something special about it for me…
"The First Power" sported a swift pace, a strong cast (Kober was genuinely chilling as the villain) and a deliciously aggressive score. Although the premise of an executed killer come back to life was déjà vu ("Shocker", "The Horror Show") the film’s gritty tone and the contrast it had with the horror elements, jacked the proceedings to a higher plain. Since the flick felt so much like a down and dirty cop thriller, the slew of supernatural occurrences kicked even more ass due to them being set within such a grounded setting. Then, there was the highlight of the show for me; the loveable psychopathic murderer known as Patrick Channing (Kober). Not only did this kool mofo wear one hell of a creepy mask, but his devilish antics and the exciting chase sequences his un-catholic actions provoked, resulted in all kinds of freakin' fun times! We get some insane stunts (loved that first jump), inventive scenarios (the water slide bit rocked), a couple of good scares and even an assault by ceiling fan! Yes, CEILING FAN! This loon was on a roll and I loved every second of it!
On a sour note, the film let me down at times with its weak script. First, every turn was so predictable, with the “cop movie” and “horror film” clichés being followed to the letter (guess what happens to the black partner and yes, we get a “cat” lunging in frame scares). Then we had the “so-so” dialogue at hand which had tendency to be hokey, especially when Logan and Bess’s flimsy relationship was explored. Lucky for us, the actors were strong and almost fully made up for the bad writing. Lastly, although it didn’t bother me one bit while watching the film, it should be said that the supernatural aspects of the piece were never clearly defined, therefore leading to some plot holes. For example, the killer must’ve inherited more than just the first power, since he not only body-hopped left and right like a drunk waitress, but was also able to predict La Bamba’s every move, manipulate reality (the phone message) and possess just about anyone (going against one of the film’s established rules). Hey, I’m not complaining...I’m happy our boy had all those kool abilities, but they should’ve called the film “All the Powers”.
Overall, even though the script had its boo-boos, I still managed to rock 'n roll throughout. Also let's be frank...watching Lou Diamond Phillips get his ass whooped for an hour and half is always fulfilling. Can you have a more ineffectual cop? I dare ya to take a shot of JD every time La Bamba gets kicked in the nads in this movie! Trust me, you’ll be picking up ugly chicks and flirting with inanimate objects as the end credits roll. Now I must ask you a question of my own...how’s your stomach, buddy boys and gals!”
The film didn’t go nuts on the chunks, but we still got slit throats, pentagrams carved in chests, blood on walls, a very kool head shot, an axe in the head, skin melted by acid and some stabbings.
Lou Diamond Phillips (Logan) looked a tad too young for the role, in my opinion, but other than that, he held his own admirably. Tracy Griffith (Bess) did her best with her badly written part and her talent made the role bearable. Jeff Kober (Patrick) was a hoot as the serial killer with the most. He obviously had a blast playing the menacing role and he was one of the flick’s main strengths.
T & A
Big-titted Tracy Griffith goes the wet top way, while the ladies get a lean, cut and shirtless La Bamba dude.
Resnikoff did a fine ass job! He knew how to build up a scene, excelled pacing wise, served up some polished images and used slow motion quite effectively. I liked his style! Where did he vanish to? "The First Power" was the last thing he ever did! COME BACK BRO!
The dark and aggressive score by Stewart Copeland freaking ruled! Talk about to the core! Excellent!
"The First Power" is one of my top “guilty pleasure" films. Sure, with a tighter script to back it up, it could’ve been more than just fun Swiss Cheese, but I still manage to have a Merry Dead-Mas with it every time. If you’re looking for a somewhat silly, yet dark, opus that offers a string of inventive chases, easy scares, a badass killer that jumps in slow motion a lot and a Lou Diamond Phillips that just can’t get stop getting a beating…YOU JUST HIT PAY DIRT! If that’s not a glorious evening, I don’t know what is! [Sings] Soy capitán, Soy capitán!
The film was initially called “Transit”.
The flick was shot in Los Angeles, California.
Is it me or does the film’s ending rip off the ending found in "The Omen"?