The film opens with a man driving along and listening to Christmas music until he drives off the road. Suddenly, he runs as a flaming ball from the sky crashes into his car, completely demolishing it and leaving a crater in the ground. As the man examines the wreckage, a hulking figure emerges from the flames like a phoenix and utters in a cold, raspy voice, "I come in peace." We are then introduced to vice police detective Jack Cane , who is after a gang of drug dealers called the White Boys after they kill his partner when the partner was undercover. He gets teamed up with a (literally) by-the-book Fed named Agent Smith to investigate the murder of four White Boys, three of whom had their throat cut before they could even draw their weapons, and a missing case of heroin. Cane soon realizes that the series of murders occurring in the city (all were injected with heroin and had a spike mark in their foreheads) are being committed by an alien drug dealer, who injects humans with heroin (which he stole) and then shoves a spike in their head to suck out their endorphins, which he sells on his planet as a drug. An alien police officer with an awesome mullet also arrives, and tells Cane and Smith that if they don't stop the bad alien from going back to his home planet, that thousands more like him will come and eliminate a majority of the human race to get their drug. Cane and Smith must then team up, despite their differences, and stop this extraterrestrial menace.
I Come in Peace was directed by Craig R. Baxley, who was pretty successful as a stuntman, and this is his second time directing a feature film. Surprisingly enough, it's very well made for his second movie. The cast includes some notable names as well, besides the great Dolph Lundgren. Brian Benben is recognizable due to his acting on multiple TV shows like Dream On and Private Practice. Matthias Hues appeared in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Sherman Howard from Day of the Dead and Lethal Weapon 2, Sam Anderson from Forrest Gump, Water for Elephants, and a lot of other famous works, and Michael J. Pollard, from such cult classic horror films as Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland and 1987's American Gothic. Not exactly a star-studded cast, but they do a good enough job so that I can say the acting in this movie is good. Dolph Lundgren is as awesome as ever, but I have to say that my favorite actor in the movie was Brian Benben. I found his character (Smith) to be hilarious because of how lacking in street-smarts he was, and Benben pulled off the role fantastically.
Matthias Hues as the bad alien is an example of perfect casting at its finest. With his 6'5" frame and muscular build, he's one intimidating guy, especially when you see this scary bastard running at you with those milky white eyes and roaring loudly. Dolph Lundgren is as badass as usual, whether it be stopping robberies or stopping aliens from outer space. I do feel his line delivery is very cheesy, but hey, I'm really not one to complain about cheesiness. The action sequences are stunning, but what would you expect from a seasoned stuntman behind the camera? I also must add that this film most likely has the most explosions I have ever seen in one movie. You see, these aliens carry high-powered machine guns that have four settings, and it causes a lot of things to blow up. I counted around thirty explosions, with nearly everything imaginable blowing up: buildings, cars, people, you name it.
Now onto the slasher elements of the movie. The alien manages to rack up a large body count over the course of the movie, with eight gruesome murders (cut throat and sucked out endorphins), three in explosions, and one offscreen. As I said, Hues makes for a really threatening villain (imagine a sci-fi version of Jason, only he can run and has hi-tech weapons). The alien weapons are also pretty cool, with a flying buzz saw programmed to slice people's throats open, a tube to inject heroin, the spike to extract the drug, and the guns. Now, tell me this isn't a slasher: a massive figure with signature weapons picks off denizens of a city one by one, and it's up to the cops to stop him. To me, that's straight out of a slasher, only with an alien instead of a killer and it focuses more on the cops than the killer. Oh, and there's more explosions.
I love I Come in Peace. To a person who only likes the horror genre, they won't like this movie at all. However, if you enjoy incredibly fun action movies, you'll most likely love this as well. There's a crapload of explosions, a scary-ass alien, a wicked mullet, cool weapons, really funny (intentional) humor, a badass hero, a likable girlfriend of the hero, car chases, gun fights, awesome one-liners, a dorky sidekick, great special effects, astonishing choreography during the fight scenes, and the horror undertones are great. This was MIA on DVD for a while (as stated in the first paragraph, since it appeared on HorrorHound's 100 Most Wanted on DVD), until it was released last September as a part of the MGM Limited Edition Collection. The MGM Limited Edition Collection is similar to that of Warner Archives in that they both release movies that their companies own and release them on MOD (Manufactured On Demand) DVDs. I Come in Peace is on DVD as part of this line under its original moniker, Dark Angel. This puzzles me, as most people who saw his movie on VHS know it as its other title, so they might not realize it's the same film. I appreciate the change at the same time, as it shows the execs at MGM at least know about the film they're releasing. The picture quality is actually quite good, but the only special feature it includes is the theatrical trailer. But hey, beggars can't be choosers.
The Verdict: A perfect, cheesy action/sci-fi/horror flick in every way, and comes highly recommended for those who love the popcorn action flicks of the '80s and '90s, as well as horror fans who wish to get into the action genre.
Don't trust my judgment? Here's four other opinions:
New York Times
Arrow in the Head