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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
by Garon Cockrell
31 Days of Scream-O-Ween! - Dark Angel (AKA I Come in Peace)
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Oct. 17, 2013 5:20 p.m.

By David Massey





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I know it’s

not my job to convince you that any of the genre films given the ‘Criterion’

treatment by Scream Factory’s Blu-ray line are cinema genius or, even, classic

camp but it is a very thin line between ‘Dark Angel’ and films like ‘The

Terminator’ or ‘RoboCop’. That ‘line’, more often than not, comes largely down

to budget. ‘Dark Angel’ (or ‘I Come in Peace’ as it will always be to me) is no

more far-fetched in story than the films it aspires to be and manages to make

up for its small budget with enough pyrotechnic absurdity to make Michael Bay blush

and one-liners that could give Arnie a run for his money.<>












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Dark Angel





The Film:<>






‘Dark Angel’

follows detective Jack Caine (Dolph Lundgren) whose investigation of Houston’s

organized drug smuggling syndicate, ‘The White Boys’ (a tongue-in-cheek troupe

of Patrick Bateman clones straight out of 1980’s yuppie culture), is interrupted

by an extra-terrestrial drug-harvesting alien and the cosmic cop on his trail. Okay,

so, when I put it like that, it does sound more than a bit silly but this is

the stuff of comic books; it’s incredibly violent and could easily accompany

films like Spawn, Predator, or Darkman.<>






The humanoid

alien has come to earth to steal heroin which he then injects into his victims

using a snake-like probe. The drug results in a tidal-wave of endorphins which

the ghost-eyed E.T. extracts from their brains using a giant spike directly to

their foreheads. Come on, that’s kinda cool... right? <>




<>In a time

when CD’s were a mysterious technology, ironically (*wink wink*), the alien’s

primary weapon is a razor sharp, self-propelled shiny silver disc that is tuned

to the electro-magnetic frequency of humans. His back-up weapon is a kick-ass

gun that fires 3-times the speed of the one used in ‘RoboCop’. That was

literally the request made of the prop department and achieved to great effect;

there are seemingly more explosions than dialogue. I started counting fire

balls a few minutes into the film and even before I got to the climax, I lost

count somewhere around 36. You could make an epic drinking game out of this one

and be fall-down drunk half-way through.<>















<> For all its hokey,

misguided ambitions (and for what it’s worth) this is Lundgren’s best performance.

He’s fresh-faced, human, 99% intelligible and, in a sharp about-face to the

tough-guy cliché, he collects art, sips Cabernet, and longs for romance. It’s a

weird take but they balance it out by giving him one of the cheesiest

action-movie one-liners of all time. Alien Drug Dealer: ‘I come in peace.’

Dolph: ‘and you go in pieces, asshole.’ It’s pretty unfor(give)getable.<>












<> Apparently,

‘Dark Angel’ (the original title) was envisioned as a big-budget blockbuster

(aren’t they all) and was written by David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Death Becomes

Her, Spider-Man). If you’ve seen it, you might think me an optimist but this

really could have gone either way. The fact that it went the way of the

forgotten late-night video rental is fitting but there is some really vintage

stuff here and it’s never boring.<>
























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The Disc:<>




<>The cover

art is a pretty impressive, photo-realistic painting that’s got some nice

symmetry to it. It’s reversible and you have the option of the less-aesthetic

video cover on the inside with the title ‘”I” Come in Peace’. Shame they

couldn’t have put that title on the better cover. As for the image, it gets

pretty noisy from time to time. Much of the film takes place at night and, in

some scenes, we get sharp blacks while others are grainy as hell.<>















<> I was kind

of sad that we don’t get an audio commentary with this one but we do get a

great little documentary, ‘A Look Back’. The director, Craig R. Baxley (better

known for his work as a stunt coordinator), Lundgen, and Brian Benben (‘Deam On’

/ ‘Radio Land Murders’) reminisce (a bit apologetically) with some genuine

nostalgia for the film. I did notice that some of the interviews were actually

repeated within the same documentary – someone wasn’t paying attention – but,

on the whole, it’s a good watch.<>
























The

Features
:






  • Documentary ‘A Look Back at Dark Angel’ – Interviews with Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, and Director Craig R. Baxley






  • Trailer






  • Poster & Still Gallery<>










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The Specs:






  • 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.78:1






  • DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo






  • English-only Audio & Subtitles






  • Original Release: 1990






  • Runtime: 91 Minutes






  • Rated R<>












Final

Grades
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Story: A / In different hands and with

a better budget, this could have been a genre classic.<>






Presentation quality: B / The film is

grainy from time to time.<>






Scare factor: D / It’s not really a

horror movie but plenty of violence and imposing white-eyed aliens. <>






Gore Factor: C / They didn’t go all

out with this one but there’s lots of spikes to the heads.<>






Repeat view-ability: B / For a

12-year-old boy, this is better than Predator!<>






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Add Dark Angel to your collection, click HERE!





Check out yesterday's Scream Factory review, Prince of Darkness!





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