Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The First Power (1990)

I admit to be a strong and stubborn opponent to religion, and maybe specifically Christianity - because I was raised in that religion and saw some very dark sides of it that some people might not know about. Once when I was at a Christian camp for teenagers I was reading Whitley Strieber's The Wolfen and one of the pastors saw me and asked if that was good for me. I replied: "It's just a book". The same evening the same pastor got a message from "god" that someone (guess who?!) read books that wasn't good for him. For me it was the last nail in the coffin and I left religion and never turned back.

So what has this to do with The First Power? Well, every time I scream about the stupidity of religion Jocke at Rubbermonsterfetishism points out to me that with out nasty religions we wouldn't have so many fun horror movies based on Christianity! Well, he's right about that and that's one of the reason we have this Lou Diamond Phillips thriller from 1990. I remember how me and my dad rented it and I liked it, but I haven't seen it for at least twenty years and tonight I had the pleasure of watching it again. No, not a masterpiece - but still a good thriller.

A serial killer, Patrick Channing (the great Jeff Kober) is stalking LA with ritualistic murders involving occultism and devil worshipping. Lou is the twelve year old super-cop Russell Logan who finally catches him and watches him die in the electric chair. But some time after the killings starts all over again and Russell sees and hears visions of Patrick. A psychic, Tess Seaton (Tracy Griffith) helps him, because no one else believes in Russell's visions. Yes, Patrick is back from the dead and he's using the bodies of drug addicts to continue his killing spree!

Lou Diamond Phillips wasn't twelve years old when he shot this movie, but in some takes he sure looks that age. Anyway, The First Power is one of those slick, well-made thrillers that plagued Hollywood during the nineties. And friggin' love them all! Why? Because they look good, have nice neat little scripts, some violence, good stunts and a couple of audience-friendly twists and turns. Hardly original, but good entertainment. The level of violence isn't especially high, but the stunt-work is often fantastic. In this movie there's a couple of crazy stunts and action sequences, and I they must have been a blast to watch in cinema.

One of the best scenes - and the only one I remember from when I first saw it - is when the killer is taking control over a ceiling fan and chases our heroes out from an old building, climaxing in a nice stuntman-hanging-on-to-a-car-stunt that looks very dangerous.

The First Power is a good old occult thriller mixed with a nineties cop-movie. Lou Diamond Phillips might look very young, but he's good and handles the action and drama well - and shows of his hairless chest a couple of times. But Jeff Kober steals every scene he's in as usual, and that's fine with me. He makes even the most boring movies a little bit better. The First Power can be a bit troublesome (or more correct, expensive...) to find nowadays, but I found an Australian R4 release which looks good and are in fullscreen (not sure if it's open matte or not).

That's all folks!

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