The First Power (Blu-ray Review)

The First PowerHow do you stop a killer with immortal powers? Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba) stars as a hotshot L.A. homicide detective caught in a harrowing game with a man who lives to kill – and cannot die – in this psychological thriller that transcends mortal terror! After a long, gruesome hunt. Detective Russell Logan (Phillips) finally captures the brutal Russell Logan (Phillips) finally captures the brutal Pentagram Killer (Jeff Kober), and watches as the murderer is executed at San Quentin. Finally, the terror is over… or is it? When the ritualistic killings begin again. Logan is haunted by violent visions of the executed man, and seeks the counsel of a beautiful psychic (Tracy Griffith). Together they discover that the Pentagram Killer, one of Satan’s disciples, possesses the First Power – the ability to inhabit the bodies of others at will! Now Logan has to catch the killer again, not knowing where – or in whom – he’ll show up next! Charged with bone-chilling suspense and otherworldly evil, The First Power will scare the devil out of you! 

The First Power


Back in 1990 a really cool commercial played on the TV that was actually a trailer for something called The First Power. It creeped me out, because I think I was in middle school when it came out and I had not yet been desensitized to the genre yet. The First Power stars Lou Diamond Philips as Detective Logan, who has a knack for catching serial killers. Jeff Kober is Patrick Channing, who is serial killer that preys on victims for satanic sacrifices. When a stakeout goes horribly wrong, Logan is captured, tried, convicted, and executed. All is not as it seems, because Channing possesses the “first power.” Ignore the descriptor in that lead-in paragraph in the beginning of this review. The first power is actually the power of resurrection NOT the power of possession. Possession is like the 2nd or 3rd power – there tiers for these things.

Once Channing resurrects himself he begins to kill again and possess those of weak wills. Logan is aided by Tess (Tracy Griffith), a psychic who knows where Channing will strike next. Along the way Logan will encounter strange occurrences, creepy voices, and Channing himself in the pseudo-flesh. Getting The First Power on Blu-ray was pretty cool in that I never had the DVD (don’t even know if it was ever released on DVD) and had not watched it since I was a kid. I think I saw it on the local KTLA station and of course it was edited all to hell. Not here. I bathed in its satanic-ness in full 1080p! Logan and Tess have to race against time before Channing ups the body count in the name of the dark lord.

I enjoyed The First Power a lot but there are a couple of things that bugged me, plot wise, and those were the lack of a higher being that Channing answered to. He sacrifices people and prays the verses backwards but we don’t see Satan or anything else that would lead one to believe that Channing is not working alone. He kills and is given power. That’s it. There’s no boss. I guess I wanted to see a nice looking creature or creature effect or something. Yeah, I’m selfish that way.

This may be a Lou Diamond Philips flick, and he’s good in it, but I think Jeff Kober steals the show. It made me take notice of him all those years ago. He’s still kicking it strong in current film and television shows. I would also praise the stunt work involved. This was filmed before the CGI craze took over and all of the stunts were real and involved actual humans as opposed to digital stunt doubles. There are two stunts that are epic in scope and all done the practical way. One involves a person leaping off of a building and the other one involves a car flipping over on the 4th street Bridge over here in L.A. The stuntman that was driving the car was hospitalized for 6 weeks and survived a coma.

Fun facts aside The First Power stills holds up rather well and it was a lot of fun revisiting the film. Kino Lorber and Scorpion Releasing partnered up to release the Blu-ray and now everyone can enjoy The First Power in all its satanic high definition glory! Please keep reading for more information on the technical specifications of this Blu-ray.


The First Power


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: The First Power looks pretty damn good in high definition. It was shot on 35 mm back in late ’89 and released in the first quarter of ’90 and it shows. The Blu-ray presentation of the film keeps the grain firmly intact. I did not detect any instances of sharpening or DNR applied. Los Angeles was very gritty in those days and this Blu-ray does the city some justice in keeping with that aesthetic.

Depth: The film isn’t going to pop anymore than it already does. It’s a good-looking image and that’s all we can ask for.

Black Levels: There many scenes taking place at night or in dark and secluded places. Those scenes come through beautifully on this Blu-ray. I did not notice any instances of heavy crush or compression artifacts in these low-lit interiors/exteriors.

Color Reproduction: The film is very dark and somewhat dreary and that reflects on the color palette. With the exception of the red in the blood everything else is muted but serves the material really well.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are natural and no one looks sickly unless they’re dying, dead, or possessed, and not necessarily in that order!

Noise/Artifacts: This high definition presentation was surprisingly noise and artifact free for the most part. I only notice a speckle and a spot here and there. The video presentation on this Blu-ray IS its major attribute.


The First Power


Audio Format(s): DTS-HD MA 2.0 (stereo)

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics: What you see is what you get. The First Power is presented in 2.0. A nice remastered 5.1 mix would have been awesome but the fact that we’ve got this film on Blu-ray for the first time is consolation enough. The stereo soundtrack does have some kick, and even though the film and its settings are a bit dated, the soundtrack reproduction is actually pretty good. There’s a good sense of depth here.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels have been split down the middle to fill the 2.0 sound field and they’re just as good as anything out there featuring a 2.0 soundtrack. I felt as though Philips and Kober were speaking in my living room.


The First Power


The First Power on Blu-ray has two NEW interviews with stars Lou Diamond Philips and Jeff Kober. They’re both very entertaining, enlightening, and hilarious. You know it’s on when you can hear the interviewer start chuckling in the background at some of the stories. A trailer rounds out the package.

  • Interview with Lou Diamond Philips (HD, 32:00) – Lou Diamond Philips sits down for a candid interview about his experience on the film. This is a stellar interview and not only does Philips talk about The First Power he also talks about his other projects and what led to getting the job for this one. It’s a very honest interview and I appreciated that.
  • Interview with Jeff Kober (HD, 17:00) – Jeff Kober discusses his role in the film, what led up to it, and all of the antics that happened during filming. Jeff is a very interesting and funny guy. Like Philips’ interview this one is also an interesting and hilarious one.
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD) – Theatrical trailer presented in high definition.


The First Power


25 years later The First Power manages to retain its creepy vibe while still being an effective little horror thriller. Kino and Scorpion Releasing have done a relatively fine job in bringing the film to the Blu-ray format. It’s most definitely a cult film and I’m sure fans will want to scoop up the Blu-ray. The video presentation is stellar and the audio is on the fair side of things. The interviews were outstanding, too. Overall, The First Power is very much recommended! See ya around buddy boy. 😉


Order The First Power on Blu-ray!

The First Power


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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