Film: I Come In Peace (1990)
The Principals: Dolph Lundgren, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley, Matthias Hues, Jay Bilas, Jim Haynie, David Ackroyd
A loose cannon Houston vice detective, Jack Caine (Lundgren), finds himself caught in the middle of drug dealing super yuppies, interfering Feds and aliens who are tearing up the streets. Caine’s partner is murdered by the drug dealers, called the White Boys, while he’s preoccupied with stopping a liquor store robbery. Refusing to be put off the case when the Feds take over, Caine is saddled with and obnoxiously straight-laced partner, Agent Laurence Smith (Benben). Meanwhile, the pair of aliens, Talec (Hues) and Azeck (Bilas), are engaged in their own personal drug war. Talec, who has a penchant for saying that he comes in peace (for no other discernible reason than it’s the title of the film), has arrived to pump people full of drugs in order to harvest their dopamine, which is a much more powerful drug on his home planet; and Azeck is there to try to stop him. Talec’s rampage with high tech weaponry puts him afoul of both the cops and the drug dealers, and Caine and Smith have to stop him before more of his kind come to Earth to harvest human dopamine by the thousands…if the White Boys don’t kill them first.
DON’T TRUST HIM!
Is It Good: It’s got that late ’80s trashy, junk food action, Dolph-y film appeal, but ultimately, not really. Lundgren is fun as the stereotypical, free-wheeling maverick cop and he and Benben have pretty good interplay in their boilerplate buddy cop roles. But the problems with I Come in Peace are twofold: 1. It pales in comparison to the very-similarly-themed Alien Nation that came out just two years prior, and 2: It doesn’t explore its own fairly interesting premises any more than it can possibly get away with, probably due to is low budget. Everything about the plot sticks to the late ’80s / early ’90s low budget action flick playbook to a fault and the more fantastic elements, namely the two aliens, aren’t given nearly enough lip service to be anything more than a plot device and an excuse to blow shit up.
Not to Dolph scale.
All you know about the aliens is that they arrive, one kills people with his custom alien dope kit, and then they run around turning property into fire insurance claims. Hues is little more than a growling caricature and Bilas is a non-entity. They have cottage cheese for guts, they tend to self immolate when they die, and they have a penchant for power mullets and trenchcoats and flying magnetic CDs that can kill as efficiently as a Jonas Brothers album. Oh, and neither can hit shit with their space guns even though the damn things could turn tanks into craters.
Shame really, because there could have been the makings for a much more interesting multi-pronged alien / crime / conspiracy flick. With a little more attention given to the White Boys, Caine and Smith’s budding friendship / partnership, a shitload more personality given to the aliens, the alien-chasing Feds and some more three or four way encounters between all the players, this could have been a pretty good romp. As it is, it’s a bare bones knock off of the aforementioned Alien Nation done on the cheap.
EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY TARGETS!
Is It Worth A Look: Actually, just because it’s cheap, campy cult action doesn’t rule it out as a late night excuse to get wasted – which you can easily do if you drink every time someone doesn’t get killed with the space howitzers – and eat hollow calories. It’s not brain-deadeningly stupid, but it’s nothing special either. One of Dolph’s less-appealing films, but not completely without its (minor) charm. It’s Raw Deal or Running Scared with an alien gimmick. It’s Critters minus the little shits and the fun.
Random Anecdotes: This was only Dolph’s sixth film, but will probably be remembered for having arguably his most snazzy one-liner.