Some movies come out of nowhere and simply knock you out. Dark Angel or I Come in Peace is so cliched and unapologetically eighties that it simply had to be released in the nineties. And I’m dying from the urge to tell you the thing that so elegantly proves but I simply can’t. The thing is so good I cannot bring myself to spoil it for you. It’s stylish, entertaining and features a script that will surprise you with its creativity. Probably because most of the script was rewritten by David Koepp, the guy behind such titles as Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way and Mission: Impossible.
The cast is pretty solid led by Dolph Lundgren who was perfect as tough-as-nails Det. Jack Caine. It was good to see him in a lead role for once, not sharing the screen with other stars. The urban setting with all the neon lights and seedy nightclubs reminded me of another eighties classic, Ferrara’s Fear City. At times it felt like you were watching Blade Runner as well. There will be a lot less rain but a lot more explosions. And the way the story unfolds is very similar to The Hidden.
Here’s a fun game you can play while watching Dark Angel, just try and figure out from what movie they borrowed the concept. It’s simple and a lot of fun. Plus, if you’re a fan of eighties action movies, I’m sure you’re going to get most of the movies. These B movies worked for a reason, they’re simple but effective. You don’t have to think too much or follow complicated plots, just turn off your brain and enjoy all the action.
Jack Caine is a gritty cop working for the Houston police department. He and his partner are on the trail of a vicious gang known as The White Boys. Led by ruthless Victor Manning, they soon kill his partner only further angering Jack. And Jack Caine is a man whom you don’t want to see angry. He teams up with a straight-laced FBI agent to take down Victor but soon finds out that someone is killing people in a very strange way all over Houston. It seems that our duo has their work cut out for them.
This is a no-bullshit thriller with a brisk pace that will entertain the shit out of you. What I loved most about Dark Angel are the quick cuts. I mean, the movie opens with a guy driving down the road when he barely avoids hitting a bus because of a faulty cd-player. Then wham, bam, something hits and vaporizes his car leaving a huge hole. From that hole emerges Matthias Hues and says I come in peace before we hard-cut to opening credits. Pure fucking gold I tell you!
Just two years after Dark Angel we will get Split Second, another movie where one tough cop and one brainy cop go after a supernatural threat. It’s really good, so I do recommend you check it out if you’re looking for movies like this. I also can’t help but mention another 1990 movie featuring a similar theme, Predator 2. People don’t like it that much but I love it! It’s different, dark and more importantly, it has that eighties to nineties vibe. A true Cannon film group vibe if I might add.
I couldn’t decide whether this is a great action movie, solid thriller, formulaic science fiction movie or even a horror. And I feel so bad classifying it as a movie so bad that it’s good. Most of all, Dark Angel is a guilty pleasure that all of us eighties movies lovers are going to enjoy for years to come. I recommend you watch on those special nights when you can enjoy a little bit of beer and a little bit of weed. It will be quite an experience.
Director: Craig R. Baxley
Writers: Jonathan Tydor, David Koepp
Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Matthias Hues, Jim Haynie, David Ackroyd, Sam Anderson
Fun Facts: The gun aliens use is a Calico M950 with a couple of modifications.