Christmas Picks: ‘I Come in Peace’

Seasons Greetings! This week’s Christmas pick is the 1990 action sci-fi classic I Come in Peace (a.k.a. Dark Angel). International action star and He-Man type (no pun intended) Dolph Lundgren stars as a Houston, Texas cop who tracks down an alien who is killing people in order to harvest the universe’s most powerful narcotic. You may be saying to yourself “That’s really the plot?” and yes, it is. The film also stars Brian Benben (from the HBO classic comedy series Dream On), Betsy Brantley, Matthias Hues, and Jay Bilas.

Jack Caine (Lundgren) is a cop who disregards proper procedure in order to get the job done. While on a routine drug bust to catch a syndicate of yuppie criminals known as the White Boys, Caine’s partner is killed when he is discovered as a cop while trying to entrap them.

The White Boys have stolen a large amount of heroin from the Federal building’s evidence room and in the process detonated a bomb to cover their tracks. Caine’s superior trusts him but are unable to gather any proof in order to convict the gang because the evidence has mysteriously disappeared. The bombing of the Federal building calls in the FBI who assign by-the-book Special Agent Arwood Smith (Benben) to work with Caine and to nab the White Boys. Caine on the other hand isn’t so sure that the Feds are merely just investigating the White Boys and begins to have doubts about his new partner.

While Caine and Smith investigate the murder of Caine’s partner and the death of several White Boys lackeys, the two men discover a razor sharp disc that has lodged itself into a stereo speaker in the club where Caine’s partner was killed in the bust. Upon further research through a forensic scientist friend of Caine’s, they find out that the disc is a projectile weapon that hones in on the magnetic frequency of a person and kills them with lethal efficiency.

At the same time throughout the city, a series of grizzly murders are occurring with the stolen heroin. Two aliens one a drug dealer and the other a cop, engage in a series of cat & mouse encounters where the two of them shoot at each other with “space guns” and cause massive destruction everywhere. The drug dealer Talec (Hues) has come to Earth to harvest endorphins from his victims. The cop Azeck (Bilas) must stop him before others arrive and turn the Earth into a grazing planet for more drug dealers. The endorphins from the heroin filled corpses will provide the species with the ultimate drug.

Caine’s girlfriend, a police pathologist shows Caine and Smith the victims and concludes that they were the victims of massive drug overdoses but the two men can’t understand what the motive is.

One of my favorite parts of the film is when Caine and Smith arrive at that moment of the buddy cop film where they put their differences aside and work together. Caine and Smith track down the lair of Talec and discover his cache of heroin and endorphins. The two engage the alien and acquire his powerful weapon and the drugs. Talec is in quick pursuit to get back the drugs and kill both Caine and Smith.

My second favorite part of the film is the last twenty minutes which is filled with car chases, explosions, and an excuse for Lundgren to show off his martial arts skills as he battles the bad alien in an abandoned warehouse. When Lundgren prevails over the dying alien who delivers the titular line of “I Come in Peace” Lundgren replies “Then you go in pieces asshole” and blows him up with the space gun.

I Come in Peace has always been a guilty pleasure action flick of mine and it’s hands down Lundgren’s best role, seriously. Benben is fantastic as the straight-faced comic relief and Jan Hammer (Miami Vice fame) provides an awesome music score.

I Come in Peace wasn’t a huge box office success but it’s gained a huge cult following over the last twenty years. The film was briefly released on Video and Laserdisc in 1991 and has official DVD releases in Europe, Asia, and Australia. The film is available in the U.S. and Canada through MGM’s Classics Collection and can be purchased through Amazon.com. There is no word of an official release on DVD or Blu-Ray as of yet.

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