Friday, July 8, 2022

I Come in Peace


I Come in Peace (aka Dark Angel)
Craig R. Baxley

I just want to say that I Come in Peace is a fantastic title. There is never a real reason for the being in question to say it, but it works as a threat and a punchline and is easily the best thing about this film.

By 1990, our buddy cop action movie technology was very well developed. I Come in Peace serves as an example of just about every trope you’d ever expect to see in this kind of film. A partner getting killed early on? Check. A loose cannon cop who doesn’t play by the rules? Check. A new partner who’s by the book? Check. Top that off with a mild science-fiction element and we have an unoriginal but still entertaining action movie.

Detective Jack Caine (Dolph Lundgren) is a wise talking cop who loses his partner while investigating a local heroin ring. His new partner is a straight arrow Federal agent (Brian Benben). The two find a strange disc weapon at a crime scene. Elsewhere in the city an 8ft tall humanoid (Matthias Hues) is stealing heroin for its own needs while a space cop (Jay Bilas) arrives to take it down. Eventually these various people cross paths in shootout after shootout, in what amounts to a movie you’ve probably seen a dozen times in other forms.

"Excuse me, I have to go take my estrogen."

Despite being rote, the movie is still engaging thanks to some great looking action scenes. The aliens are the twist in the formula and to make their focus extraterrestrial drug dealing is a decent twist, but in function there’s really nothing that separates these aliens from human drug dealers in any other movie. It does add in fun weapons and these lumbering giant people making weird faces while talking.

Dolph Lundgren plays a very typical cop character for the era, nothing seems to get to him, the death of his partner and the realization that aliens exist end up happening within hours of each other and he just keeps on wisecracking. This is definitely a holdover from the 1980s, on the other hand, there is an undeniable charm to his performance and it is a fun if paper thin character.  His chemistry with Brian Benben’s Agent Smith is another trope, but it works in that capacity. Both Matthias Tuttle and Jay Bilas put some very idiosyncratic performances as our alien opponents. They are both a mass of weird twitches and expressions. It’s a very simple approach but it works well to communicate that these are not humans merely, but trying to imitate them.

"Dolph, can you get me in an Expendables movie or something?"

I Come in Peace is not a great film, it’s derivative and repetitive, but I still found myself enjoying it. Yes it trash, but it’s comfortable trash from the end of particular era of film when something like this would get a theatrical release. If want a far better version of this movie go and watch The Hidden (1987), but if you are up for some silly action, with silly characters and a really carefree attitude, I Come Peace does just fine.

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