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April 11, 1990 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-11

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The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, April 11, 1990

Page 5

Possession is nine-tenths of the law

The First Power
dir. Robert Resnikoff
by Mark Binelli
The emotional high point of The
First Power comes when the evil
spirit of an executed serial killer
takes over the body of a bag lady,
levitates through a window and kicks
Lou Diamond Phillips in the groin.
This breakthrough use of both de-
monic possession and the psycho-
pathic stalker in the same film
should have guaranteed nothing less
than a horror extravaganza, espe-
cially when combined with an en-
dearing mixture of pentagrams,
blood, psychic visions, backward
Our Fathers, flies, weird gothic
chanting and scenes where Phillips
takes his shirt off.
But The First Power has a few
problems, a major one being the
story. Phillips plays Russell Logan,
a hotshot young detective who is
disliked by his superiors because of
his unorthodox methods. You might
* think that it would be too much to
ask for any more plot after this
clever twist, but it also turns out
that Logan hasn't believed in any-
thing since his father was murdered,
and he's not able to regain his faith
until he faces gas-chambered devil-
worshipping lunatic Patrick Chan-
ning (Jeff Kober), who has been
granted Satan's first power of im-
mortality. Channing returns from
the grave to kill off most of the Los

Angeles homicide department and
torment Logan, the man who put
him away, with really bad one-lin-
While this theme of spiritual re-
demption through a violent manhunt
might sound a bit silly, the biggest
problem with the film turns out to
be that our hero is a complete ass-
hole. Phillips, taking a break from
glaring moodily into the camera
only long enough to light up an-
other cigarette and throw the butt
down in disgust a few painfully deep
inhalations later, seems to be trying
way too hard to make us forget that
he once lip-synched "Donna" on
screen. After breaking into the home
of informant/professional psychic
Tess Seaton (Tracy Griffith) and be-
ing confronted by her, Logan poeti-
cally snarls, "I can do anything I
damn well want." But the tough guy
wannabe proves that mom was right
when she told us that wearing a
black trenchcoat and violating peo-
ple's civil rights just doesn't make
you cool.
Meanwhile, bad guy Channing
is only scary for about five seconds
- those same five seconds that you
might have seen in the ads - where
he's wearing that demented Hal-
loween mask. But then he possesses
a nun and he loses some of that
shock value (although the logic be-
hind using a nun as the antagonist in
a horror film is admittedly flawless).
Virgin writer/director Robert Res-
nikoff should definitely be com-

The Church
Gold Afternoon Fix
When I remarked that I wanted to
review the new record by The
Church, I was asked if the band was
trying to look like U2. I assumed
this was in reference to the band
members themselves - in that case,
well no, not really. Steve Kilbey
now has a beard, but that's about as
close as it gets. But if one compares
the cover of Gold Afternoon Fix to
that of The Joshua Tree, some simi-
larities become clear: the black-and-
white photos, the gold lettering, the
mountains in the background, etc.
Unfortunately for The Church, how-
ever, this may not be the
"breakthrough" (read: big seller) that
The Joshua Tree was.
All in all, Gold Afternoon Fix is
of similar quality as other Church
records, but it lacks the spark that
the outstanding Starfish had. There
are 13 songs on the cassette and CD,
but not one of them really stands
out, except possibly "Metropolis."
A good choice as the first single,
"Metropolis" is the only song that
seems a possible hit. While most of,
the songs are good and fine, they

don't do much to distinguish them-
selves - whether it's the easily
overlooked "City" or "Essence,"
which could have been an outtake
from Remote Luxury. The songs do
begin to grow on you after several
listenings, but nonetheless, the writ-
ing here is not up to Starfish qual-
Not all the songs are bland. This
is not necessarily a good thimrg,
though - the embarrasing sci-fi aod-
venture "Terra Nova Cain" suggests,
that the band should keep their feet
on terra firma. And the over-inflated'
"Grind" closes the record on a sour
note. But then again, there-are 13
songs here, most of which are wel-'
come additions to the Church collec-
tion. While there are no gems like'
"Under the Milky Way," GOd-
Afternoon Fix is far from being a
lost cause.
It looks like The Church will'be'
going on a world tour to support
Gold Afternoon Fix, but drum'mer'
Richard Ploog won't be going along
- he's taking time out for side yto='
jects. Added to the fact that each 6cf
the other three members has released'
at least two solo records apiece, it'
See RECORDS, page #

Mykel T. Williamson and Lou Diamond Phillips play two detectives
dealing with, among others, the devil in The First Power. Slayer did not do
the soundtrack to this film.

mended for the classic scene in
which the evil one actually tears
down a ceiling fan and chases our
pals through a hallway with it, but
otherwise the film is choppy, melo-
dramatic and a really good argument

against capital punishment. Even
that guy in Texas doesn't want a
Shocker III.
THE FIRST POWER is playing at
Fox Village and Showcase.




History Honors Society
(Phi Alpha Theta)
4:00 PM, Weds. 11 April
Faculty Lounge, History Department
3rd Floor, Haven Hall
Prospective Seniors Majoring in History with a
GPA of at least 3.25 over-all and 3.5 in History
are invited. Formal enrollment in the
History Department's Honors Program not a

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