Blu-ray Review: Dark Angel (a.k.a. “I” Come In Peace)

Why do you remember a film featuring Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV) battling an alien, but have no memory of it being called Dark Angel. That’s not the name you heard on the TV spot that aired on various cable channels in 1990. That’s not the name you recall from the VHS box that lurked in the bowels of Phar-Mor’s video rental corner. Dark Angel is the name James Cameron gave to his ill-fated sci-fi TV show starring Jessica Alba. You have no memory of a film called Dark Angel because that’s not what the Dolph flick was called in America. Here it was called, “I” Come In Peace. The rest of the world got the original title. Now you remember the movie that redefined the buddy cop genre and are eager to see it again.

Dolph Lungren is the back-up undercover cop on a cocaine deal. His partner sits inside a nightclub making a buy from the slick-suited White Boys gang. They are the dealers who look like the Wall Street abusers. When the cocaine deal goes bad, Dolph is nearby stopping a convenience store robbery. He misses out on everything including the arrival of the alien Talec (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country‘s Matthias Hues). He only knows one English phrase: “I come in peace.” But he didn’t show up on Earth to spread a message of peace. He’s on a mission to get lots of drugs and process them into an even more powerful drug. He does this by running the drugs through humans with a system that kills them. He also has a disc that acts as a flying guillotine. He slices all the gangsters and others in the club. Even with such a slaughter, the White Boys aren’t out of business. They go big by stealing a massive amount of heroin that’s in an evidence locker. Dolph gets chewed out for screwing up on the drug sting, but doesn’t get kicked off the case because nobody can replace him when it comes to the White Boys investigation. He does get stuck with FBI agent Brian Benben (HBO’s Dream On) as a semi-punishment. The duo learn that this case is bigger than the White Boys. An alien cop arrives to find Telec. In a shocking casting move, the alien cop is Jay Bilas, Duke basketball legend and ESPN commentator. He lets the locals know that if Talec gets back into space, things are going to get bad. Thousands Intergalactic drug lords will return and kill humanity by turning them into drug processors. Dolph needs to kick some ass or the world is doomed.

The film is an intoxicating mixture of the buddy cop genre with the alien invasion film. Dolph is perfectly badass as the cop who doesn’t need a partner to beat down the criminals. Benben shines as the uptight agent who has no desire to bend the rules, but maintains a comic edge. The alien is perfect for the being just menacing enough to rival Dolph. Adding to the excitement is Jan Hammer’s synth score that gives all the action a Miami Vice sheen. The stunts are rather impressive for a low budget film. There’s a lot of cars blowing up and Dolph throwing down. How Bilas didn’t win a Golden Globe must keep Coach K. up all night. The best part is that the film looks so much better than the VHS copy that once lurked at Phar-Mor. The sleeve is reversible so you can put it on the shelf as either Dark Angel or “I” Come In Peace.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. There’s a bit of grain to the image since there’s plenty of night shooting. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Both mixes bring out the end of the ’80s sounds. You’ll get to hear Dolph kick away on all the speakers. The movie has English subtitles.

A Look Back at “Dark Angel” (24:19) lets Director Craig R. Baxley, Brian Benben and Dolph Lundgren remember their time tearing up Houston. Baxley came from a stunt background which explains how he could have such elaborate effects on a low budget film. They all have praise for Matthias Hues’s performance. Benben admits to wearing platform shoes to stay in the shots with Dolph. Sadly ESPN’s Jay Bilas doesn’t contribute.

Trailer (2:43) sets it up as a buddy cop flick with an alien twist and Dolph’s kick. The title is Dark Angel on the trailer.

Poster & Still Gallery (4:06) is plenty of promo material for the film including the lobby cards.

Dark Angel (a.k.a. “I” Come In Peace) an amazing detour for the buddy cop genre. Not only does Dolph and Brian have to fight drug dealers in Houston, they must battle one from outer space. No matter which title you preder, the movie has all the cinematic cheese you can handle from the end of the ’80s.

Scream Factory presents Dark Angel (a.k.a. “I” Come In Peace). Directed by Craig R. Baxley. Screenplay by: Jonathan Tydor and Leonard Maas Jr.. Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley and Micheal J. Pollard. Running Time: 92 minutes. Rated: R. Released: August 27, 2013.

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