DirectorCraig R. Baxley
Release Date(s)1990 (August 27, 2013)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: C
Dark Angel (a.k.a. I Come in Peace) was released in 1990, was directed by Craig R. Baxley and starred Dolph Lundgren. The film tells the story of a drug dealing alien from outer space that comes to earth to extract a drug from the human brain to sell back on his home planet. His plan is thwarted by detective Caine (Lundgren) and his FBI partner (Brian Benben).
I remember first coming upon I Come in Peace in the early nineties when it first started airing on The Movie Channel. The lead alien, played by action movie veteran Matthias Hues, is definitely the standout reason why so many people remember this film, including myself. The long blonde hair, the white eyes and the line “I come in peace” made for a very memorable image. Unfortunately, I had forgotten everything else about the movie. I was delighted to discover that it was a rather fun action movie that was filled with explosions and cool alien technology. It reminded me a lot of Robocop, but you can also draw similarities to Die Hard, Predator and Lethal Weapon very easily.
It’s not that it’s a great movie either, because it isn’t really. It’s just a fun action B movie, and one that Dolph Lundgren actually does some surprisingly decent work in as an actor. Director Craig R. Baxley’s background as a stuntman definitely informs the film’s action set pieces. Many of the actors are in shot with the explosions going off behind them with next to no real precautions taken. The film was also done for less than $7 million dollars, which is a testament to the director and his crew using the money wisely. Brian Benben has some nice comic relief moments, the action comes quite often and the idea is actually a relatively original one, at least that I know of. And I think it’s a shame that Scream Factory aren’t releasing it as I Come in Peace. I think it’s a better title, and it better reflects the tongue-in-cheek nature of the movie. Most people here in the US know it by that title anyways, not to mention that the actual print on this release carries that title, but oh well. It’s not a big deal as there isn’t much difference between the US and UK releases other than the title itself. It’s still a fun movie, no matter what it’s called.
The film’s Blu-ray presentation is very good for the most part, although it did appear a little soft. I think it’s the film itself though and not necessarily the transfer. The image is stable and the grain is mostly solid throughout. There aren’t many colors on display to speak of, but they look fine. Blacks looks nice, and the brightness and the contrast look pretty good, although I think the latter could have maybe been raised a couple of notches. It’s nothing to write home about, but it’s good enough for what it is. The audio comes in English DTS-HD in both 5.1 and 2.0. I actually found the 2.0 track to be a little better, but both tracks are on an equal playing field. There aren’t an enormous amount of aural dynamics, but there are enough thrown in to keep the speakers busy at times. Dialogue is clear and the sound effects, especially those pertaining to the killer flying discs, have some nice panning moments. It sounds as it should and is very reflective of low budget movies from the time period that it was made in. My only complaint would have been to make it a little louder, as I had to crank my system up to hear it properly. Otherwise, this is a fine presentation. There are also subtitles in English for those who might need them.
The extras are sparse, but what’s here is mostly good. There’s a featurette entitled A Look Back at “Dark Angel”, containing some decent interviews with Baxley, Lundgren and Benben, the film’s theatrical trailer, and a poster & still gallery. It’s a shame that there isn’t a commentary, at least from the director, but we should be happy that we get some kind of representation from the people that made it.
Overall, Dark Angel won’t win any awards for most memorable film, but if you grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, you probably caught this on TV or as a rental. Despite it not carrying a title that the majority of people interested in it will recognize, It’s still a fun movie and definitely worth picking up. Thanks again to Shout! Factory for digging it up for us.
- Tim Salmons