Thursday, November 10, 2011

DARK ANGEL

Back in 1990, rising action star Dolph Lundgren followed up his lead roles in MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and THE PUNISHER with a science fiction/buddy cop thriller that was released in the U.S. as I COME IN PEACE - a film known everywhere else in the world as DARK ANGEL. It's under that latter title that it now comes to DVD from the MGM Limited Edition Collection of manufactured-on-demand discs.

Tough Houston cop Jack Caine (Lundgren, COMMAND PERFORMANCE, THE KILLING MACHINE) loses his partner in a botched sting operation, and upon investigating, discovers that a seven-foot-tall albino extraterrestrial criminal (Matthias Hues, FIST FIGHTER) is on the loose. The alien is stealing heroin from the city's dealers, which he then injects into human victims until they die of an overdose, at which time he extracts the endorphins from their brains. Why? Well, apparently, human endorphins are a valuable narcotic "out there." Caine is partnered with an obnoxious, by-the-book FBI Agent named Smith (Brian Benben, DREAM ON), and together they hunt down the murderous spaceman, trying to put an end to his killing spree.

DARK ANGEL is a terrifically fun, fast-paced sci-fi cop flick in the vein of THE HIDDEN, loaded with well-choreographed and shot fight scenes, car chases, huge explosions and a delightfully bonkers plot. Lundgren is reliably entertaining in his stock tough-guy role, demonstrating some impressive karate moves. Benben is perfectly cast as the stick-up-his-ass Fed, and the imposing Hues is eerie and effective as the alien drug dealer. The stunts and special effects are state-of-the-art for a late-80s/early 90s flick, and still pretty impressive today.

The MOD disc from the MGM Limited Edition Collection sports a remarkably nice, 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, that, while a little soft-looking (and that's probably due to the 80s film stock it was shot on), is otherwise pristine, with bright colors, solid blacks, and no evident specks, scratches or other print damage. Audio is a very solid Dolby Digital 2.0. The disc also includes a single bonus feature: the enjoyable International theatrical trailer.

DARK ANGEL is pure, over-the-top, Old School 80s-styled action movie entertainment, with an utterly insane plot, tons of goofy dialogue and plenty of bang for your buck. If that's your thing, you really should check it out. For those of you who remember the movie as I COME IN PEACE from its run on U.S. cable or its VHS incarnation, and have been waiting for it to hit DVD, you should be quite pleased with the quality of this MOD disc - it looks great, and it's nice to finally see it in its proper widescreen format.

Recommended.

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