**** Out of 5
Tagline- It’s Not a Close Encounter. It’s the Last.
Release Date- September 28th, 1990
Running Time- 91-Minutes
Screenplay- Jonathan Tydor and Leonard Mass Jr.
Director- Craig R. Baxley
Starring- Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley, Matthias Hues, Jay Bilas
Released in 1990 I Come in Peace, which also goes under the title Dark Angel was one of my favorite cult films of the 90s. I remember watching this many times on cable back in the 90s and than it was nearly 20-years until I saw it again when Shout Factory (Scream Factory) released it on blu-ray August 27th, 2013 under its original Dark Angel title. Upon seeing it again I remembered very little, but even after all those years I Come in Peace holds up as a really fun and exciting film with constant action. Originally the budget was to be in the 25-million dollar range, which is still a decent budget, but back when this film was released was a lot bigger. The budget was cut down to about 5-million, but it never hurts the film. This was before CGI and I really miss those days as action films and horror for that matter felt a lot more authentic. When used properly CG can be decent, but more often than not its fake looking. I Come in Peace is a film from a different time and a time I love
The screenplay by Jonathan Tydor and Leonard Mass Jr. is light on plot, but more than makes up for that in excitement. The script never goes into too much detail story wise we have an alien killing people and taking fluid from them to make a stronger drug and there is a subplot with a drug dealer killing Jack Caine’s (Lundgren) partner, but it never really goes anywhere. However the script is again quite exciting and while characters are a bit cliched such as Caine the renegade cop who doesn’t follow the rules and the by the book Agent Smith (Benben), but yet it never hurts the film. The screenplay is just really fun and entertaining and sure the plot is thin, but like I said its more than made up for with fun characters that actually have some depth and plenty of excitement.
I Come in Peace also has one of my favorite one liners of all time. The bad alien says I Come in Peace, which Dolph’s character replies with ‘and you go in pieces, asshole’.
Director Craig R. Baxley got his start directing episodes of the A-Team before making his feature debut in 1988 with Action Jackson. Quite honestly I didn’t care for Action Jackson it was basically like every other action flick out there at the time, but far inferior, but with I Come in Peace, Baxley delivers a truly excellent action movie. The pace of the film is excellent as there aren’t any slow moments and at only 91-minutes the film never gets overly long. Baxley crafts fun and energetic action scenes with a lot of excitement behind all of them. On a low budget I Come in Peace is action packed and can rival any big budget Hollywood film at the time or since. Craig Baxley sets out to make a fun action packed film and he more than succeeds.
As entertaining as the script was and the direction excellent what really elevates this film was Dolph Lundgren and Brian Benben who had great chemistry together. While Dolph had a lot of success in his career I don’t think he became as big a star as deserved. At the time Stallone and Arnold were the biggest action stars and Mel Gibson was getting more and more popular due to Lethal Weapon and than Bruce Willis with Die Hard. Acting wise Gibson & Willis were the best, but Lundgren had a lot of the same attributes as Sly and Arnold. In my opinion I Come in Peace was Lundgren’s best film and Brian Benben is a terrific and underrated actor. Together they work really great and are so fun to watch and they playoff each other so well.
Overall I Come in Peace is such a fun film. It’s got excellent characters and plenty of exciting action scenes. While the film has built up a cult following it deserves a bigger one. I Come in Peace easily rates as one of my favorite action films of the 90s and while the plots do differ this would make a great double feature with John Carpenter’s They Live also available on blu-ray from Shout Factory.
As I mentioned Shout Factory under their Scream Factory label released this on blu-ray under the Dark Angel title. However like most Shout Factory releases it has a reversible cover with the I Come in Peace title. The HD transfer has received a lot of great reviews, but honestly I thought it looked ok, while never poor or anything I’ve seen better. Audio is strong and while not packed with extras the interviews with Craig Baxley, Dolph Lundgren and Brian Benben is terrific. Having only seen this on cable TV I cannot compare the blu-ray to past DVD releases, but I think its a safe bet the Scream Factory release will be a major upgrade over past DVDs.