{2jtab: Movie Review}

Dark Angel (I Come in Peace) (1990) - blu-ray review


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4 stars

Once upon a very brief time ago, Dolph Lundgren was being groomed to be the next badass superstar.  And then Hollywood woke up, realizing he was already a parody.  Made at the very peak of his brief rise to superstar fame here in America, Dark Angel – now considered an underrated classic of the super-buff and ultra-camp era - features a long-haired alien who wanders the Houston nighttime streets and spears the heads of the humans he encounters and slices skin with a flying device that is little more than a compact disc.  Yes, a CD.

When you originally saw the film, it was appropriately titled I Come in Peace with its tongue firmly in its cheek but – even if its title changed to Dark Angel (which makes little sense) for this release – you knew what a good and cheesy time you were guaranteed with every on-screen explosion.  I mean, Lundgren AND Brian Benben in a buddy cop flick where they go toe-to-toe with towering aliens?  Action.  Banter.  Strippers and aliens?  Cool!

Yeah, that was the territory of Hollywood in the early 1990’s; pretty much a hollow wasteland of action ideas.  Stories were the same.  And blah, blah, blah.  It was a place where every action beat had to top the last and, well, Hollywood is stuck there again.  Somehow, though, with its zippiness and cool characters, this alien-infested flick has risen to the top.

While Dark Angel may be limited in its sparkling effects by a kneecapped budget, one can appreciate what director Craig R. Baxley (who cut his action credibility on the tube with The A-Team) and original writer David Koepp (yes, you read that correctly) did with this underrated gem.  This campy sci-fi romp is littered with great sets and fantastic explosions – so much so that the limited acting from everyone – only adds to the spectacle.

To its credit, the action choreography is top notch and the setpieces – always a key to these type of movies – are as engaging as the onscreen hijinks of renegade cop cop Jack Caine (Lundgren) on the search (or so he thinks) for a new kind of drug the crooks are selling.  His hunt leads him straight into the arms of a couple of Nelson air band-looking aliens with an affinity for human endorphins.  I mean, why wouldn’t it?

Co-starring amped up explosions, cartoonish plotlines and basketball stud-turned-alien-turned-ESPN-announcer Jay Bilas, Dark Angel might not be everyone’s cup of tea but fans of the genre know that this release is a cult classic.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Dark Angel - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 91 mins.
: Craig R. Baxley
: Jonathan Tydor, Leonard Maas Jr.
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley
Genre: Action | Sci-fi | Thriller
It's not a close encounter... It's the last.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Flathead's basically right. S'like turning your radio dial to K-I-L-L."
Theatrical Distributor:
Triumph Releasing Corporation
Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 28, 1990
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 27, 2013

Synopsis: Jack Caine (Dolph Lundgren) is a Houston vice cop who's forgotten the rule book. His self-appointed mission is to stop the drugs trade and the number one supplier Victor Manning. Whilst involved in an undercover operation to entrap Victor Manning, his partner gets killed, and a sinister newcomer enters the scene... Along with F.B.I. agent Lawrence Smith, the two investigate a spate of mysterious deaths; normal non-junkies dying of massive heroin overdoses and bearing the same horrific puncture marks on the forehead. This, coupled with Caine's own evidence, indicates an alien force is present on the streets of Houston, killing and gathering stocks of a rare drug found only in the brain... Caine is used to fighting the toughest of criminals, but up to now they've all been human

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Dark Angel (I Come in Peace) (1990) - blu-ray review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
4 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 27, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: Region A

Shout! Factory’s AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 is absolutely impeccable for the era of its production.  The film is riddled with grain, but the edges are refined and the colors are especially emphasized. There is never an overt sign of DNR softening, but the heavy grain may turn off some high definition enthusiasts. Still, the film looks the best that it can for the material available.  Fine detail is good in close-ups. Colors are sharp.  A new DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track graces the film with a good separation between dialogue, music, and explosions.



  • None

Special Features:

While a little slight, the supplements are worthwhile. There are new interviews with the director and the film’s two leads, a trailer, and a poster & still gallery.  The Blu-ray also comes with alternative artwork on the inside of the case.  Another worthwhile Blu-ray release courtesy of Shout! Factory.

  • A Look Back at Dark Angel (24 min)
  • Poster & Still Gallery (4 min)
  • Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}