Some ideas are as predictable as the sunrise. Good will beat evil, the hero will have some clever quip before dispatching the foe, and while we’ve seen them time and time again, we will probably keep coming back for more. In 1990, actor Dolph Lundgren combined a classic cop, that audiences grew to love with an otherworldly force, and stared in an action buddy cop combination known as Dark Angel (a.k.a. I Come in Peace).
When Heroin and $500,000 goes missing under a botched investigation. Blame is immediately placed on the head of Jack Caine, who shows no regard for the rulebook, preferring to trust his instincts. To rein in the operation, the F.B.I. gets involved and sends in one of their best, Arwood Smith, he is the youngest agent of his rank at the academy and follows procedure by the book. While the two may not see eye-to-eye, they will soon need to learn how to quickly co-operate. As an unusual hitman is bringing his brand of justice to the streets of Houston, the duo will have to work together on a case that may soon be out of this world.
I Come in Peace, or Dark Angel (not to be confused with the 2000s Jessica Alba show), is an unusual buddy cop film. With its setting and starting scenario straight out of McBain, with a muscle-bound cop who plays by his own rules, infuriating his superiors. Everybody has those tell-tale 1990 fashion pieces of completely buttoned shirts with no ties and the abundance of Neon Lights, gives the film an almost timeless quality that is hard to pinpoint. With its extra-terrestrial element, coming from Talec, and his interstellar pals, e.g. using Compact-Disc-looking shurikens to decapitate foes. In short, it is an odd mismatch of clichés, that when combined makes for an unexpectedly fun pairing, much like the combination of French Fries and Ice Cream.
Staring in this film is Dolph Lundgren, who you may know from Johnny Mnemonic, but you probably know them more as the imposing Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. To reuse the McBain analogy again, he does feel a lot like Reiner Wolfcastle made flesh (outside of Arnie, of course). Playing special agent Arwood is comic actor, Brian Benben, outside his work on Dream On, (and that one episode of Tales from the Darkside). Here, he adopts the straight-man role, allowing the humour to be aimed at him rather than from him. But makes for a first-rate partner once everything starts to hit the fan. We also have Betsy Brantley playing Caine’s coroner girlfriend, Diane. Matthias Hues also started in the project, playing the mysterious assassin, Talec. He is quite vocal about producing a sequel, whether it will be in the style of Showgirls 2, or even if it gets made, we’ll have to wait and see.
While there are more clichés than you can count with a computer, it doesn’t matter, Dark Angel is an interesting film that manages to transcend its illogical ingredients and make a fabulous mosaic from the pieces. It’s a goofy take on the Buddy Cop formula, one augmented with an extra-terrestrial edge, not from where you’d expect. One of the many examples of a classic turn-your-brain-off-and-enjoy action film, that lets nothing stand in the way of a good time. Dark Angel is a film that offers a lot more than just the olive branch.
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