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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

I COME IN PEACE aka DARK ANGEL (1990) Dir. Craig R. Baxley. Written by Jonathan Tydor, David Koepp as Leonard Maas Jr. Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley, Mathias Hues, Sherman Howard, and Michael J. Pollard.

Much has been made of the awesome impact the giant Intergalactic Drug Dealer of I Come in Peace made on genre fans in 1990 and he was certainly a stroke of genius in concept (early Koepp idea?) and realization. Often, the next point of praise falls to the killer CD-like weapon deployed by said alien, and again it's a clever idea, retconning a pop cultural artifact at its zenith into a deadly weapon. I have come here today, however, to once again praise the mighty action and stunt direction of Craig R. Baxley (Action Jackson, Stone Cold.) We take action setpieces for granted anymore, but before CGI destruction bored us stiff, and video games outdid Hollywood on a regular basis, filming action, good action, was an art form too often overlooked and the stunt performers who pulled them off even more so. The amount of fireball styled explosions in this film is fucking ridiculous, especially for a low-budget genre film. The fact that each of those explosions is cut seamlessly with the scenes around them, often with actors barely outrunning those explosions or delivering lines in the foreground belies not only an expert pyrotechnic and stunt team, but actors who had total confidence in Baxley's expertise to stage these scenes safely. Now, if you haven't seen this one, you may be questioning my decision to dwell on the pyrotechnics more than the story, so let me set you straight: I Come in Peace is absolutely a movie to be viewed for its one of a kind bad guy, it's original kills and its pyrotechnics. The story, dialogue and acting is barely above average here, but the film moves at such a quick pace and has so many cool ideas shot with style that nothing else really matters. A quick aside, as an adolescent who came of age with Dream On on HBO, I really wish Brian Benben had made the transition to film a little more successfully, but it seems all dreams were dashed after this testosterone overdose. Ah well, guess he should have stuck to comedy. Another aside, the other bad guys of the film - a gang of rabid Yuppies called "The White Boys," are perhaps my most despised group of bad guys from the 90's and that's saying something. I mean, I am certain their smarm and disdain for human life is 100% real, or maybe I just really hate Yuppies. Anyway, if you love explosions Dolph Lundgren and alien drug dealers this one if for you!

 

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