Dark Angel (1990)
Back at the very start of the 90’s, the CD was still a thing of the future, with its glittery surface holding magic sounds. Such was the wonder of these circular plastic pieces of joy that someone thought that the ‘compact’ disc could also be a ‘combat’ disc - enter Dark Angel (or as it was called in America - I Come in Peace).
A few years beforehand, Predator had hit big and Predator 2 was just gracing the silver screen. Like latter day Asylum films I can imagine studio execs at Vision - for 'twas them - seeing the idea of urban gang warfare amidst alien tomfoolery and wanting a bit of the action. You can easily dismiss this as a cash-in film, and one where they were too tight even to give the aliens proper make-up, but this film has its own charm.
The alien plot runs parallel to the drug busting story with blonde alien (Matthias Hues) stealing a consignment of the Bolivian marching powder and being very generous with his bounty. Dead bodies are turning up around town with signs of overdose as we see Viking alien first dose his victims up and then suck out their brain juice at the point of euphoria. All the time he is being pursued by a dark haired alien fella (Jay Bilas). As well as the odd eyes, porridge blood and huge stature, we know both men are aliens due to their odd hair cuts.
Apparently travelling through space gives you a significant receding hairline but a lovely long locks at the back.
At some point the writers were trying to lay down a good alien - bad alien idea. Dark E.T. Azeck was being set up as the villain while the Aryan Übermensch -Talec - was the goody. However, this is plainly at odds with blondie’s murderous habit. Still, they lay it thick, with Talec spouting “I come in peace” at every opportunity, hence the poor US title for this film. However, it does hide the nature of the dark-haired xenomorph quite well for most of the film. As the drug investigation continues, it overlaps with the alien murder spree, including Talec slaughtering a gang of the drug dealers to secure their product.
The gang of yuppie dealers is quite pointedly called The White Boys. This again brings up the idea of it being Predator 2-lite. Instead of rastafarian gangsters, we have their inverted copy. However, this slaughter also gets us the CD’s of death. Talec fire’s these out as if they were free cover discs, slicing and dicing the drug dealers.
The discovery of a discarded disc puts Caine and Larry on the alien’s track. This leads to a side plot where the FBI are tracking Talec and his technology down for their own ends. However, this is merciless short lived as it soon emerges that - surprise surprise - Talec is an intergalactic drug dealer, taking spiced brain juice to the hipsters of the universe. Meanwhile Azeck is the space cop tracking him down. We get this mostly in an info dump from Azeck as he dies, giving over his uber-space-pistol to the pair. Larry refuses to let Caine play with the new Nerf gun.
Overall, Dark Angel may sound like two film ideas spliced hard together, but the weld is good and there are not many parts where things feel forced. There is not the jarring change like at that point in Dusk till Dawn, and the characters and acting is above par to engage you. Plus, the weapons and innovation in how squishing together tropes in new ways pushes this above the norm. Indeed, in many ways this has a lot more charm and heart than Predator 2 ever had - it has no King Willie though.
No one beats King Willie, but CD’s of Death come close.
Paul "Logan Blaze" "Sugar Bear" Anderson has mined the best and worst of gekery for many years. He hosted Shut Up and Watch This, has worked for the Nerdsphere Network, and been a regular on The Underbase podcasts and owns more truly strange movies than you or I could ever do.
He is also the single greatest man bear pimp to have walked the planet.