Horror Movies:

The First Power


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Restricted 16

Restricted to persons 16 years and over.

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Writer director Robert Resnikoff's action thriller is about the battle between Lou Diamond Phillips as a LA cop and a serial killer who's mark is the inverted pentagram, which he knives into the flesh of his victims. LDP thinks he has the upper hand when the killer is captured and executed in the gas chamber, not knowing that he will return as an entity with "the first power" ie the ability to inhabit the body of others. Therefore the problem arises - how do you stop something that is techically dead? The killer feels a personal connection between LDP and himself and chooses his future victims as people associated with LDP, that is when others with a "lesser sense of reality" like the homeless, junkies and drunks, aren't available. Resnikoff gets his biggest laughs when a baglady is possessed and taunts LDP with "Give us a kiss" and "It's not nice to hit a lady". Resnikoff makes good use of the atmospheric Stewart Copeland music score (nearly as effective as the one he did for Frances Coppola's Rumble Fish) and moves things along pleasingly, taking great satisfaction in the stuntwork, since the killer is remarkeably agile, and adding more of the supernatural in the form of LDP's helper Tracy Griffith as a smarmy red-headed psychic, with partly overcomes the general silliness of the concept. Resnikoff also scores laughs from the killer's grandmother, with Julianna McCarthy giving lines like "He was not illegitimate" and "You're that cop" a comic hiss. There is also much hissing of cats, optical and aural hallucinations, a demonstration of Griffith's predictive vision and then the playing out of it, an unsafe abandoned water sewer with an available waterslide, and a nun brought in to explain the differences between the first and subsequent powers which hold the key to the destruction of the demon. One might question the logic of running from a being that is able to transport itself to your destination before you can get there, a kind of anti-chase joke, and also firing into a fan when the bullets ricochet off the spinning blades, and Resnikoff overplays the animosity with matching eye closeups. LDP is said to be "surrounded by a shell", cynical and nihilistic after the death of his father and perhaps rather burnt out from his third serial killer. However that still doesn't excuse LDP's pugnacious attitude or flat acting. He's the kind of protagonist that you enjoy seeing hurt, and I was grateful that Resnikoff cut his romanctic scene short. However the ending is left unresolved, as if a setup for the sequel.
Release date NZ
January 1st, 2001
Movie Format
  • DVD
DVD Region
  • Region 4
  • Standard Edition
Aspect Ratio
  • 1.78 : 1
Length (Minutes)
Supported Audio
  • Dolby Digital Surround 2.0
  • Horror
Product ID

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