The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got.



Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Come in Peace aka Dark Angel (1990)

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For my 150th post I felt it necessary to review a film that is very near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately, until recently, I hadn't seen the film in years, probably more than fifteen. I'm not sure why I hadn't bought it sooner, but I finally bit the bullet and got it on VHS used from Amazon. Hopefully soon it'll come out on DVD.

I Come in Peace is about an alien drug dealer who comes to Earth. The best drug in the galaxy is to pump humans full of heroin, then collect hormones from the adrenal glands before the person dies. Unfortunately this alien has stolen a bunch of drugs from a major crime syndicate, and they want them back. Dolph and his partner, Dream On's Brian Benben, are investigating both the drug syndicate, and the rash of forced drug overdoses that are killing random junkies throughout the city. Eventually they figure out an alien is involved, and bump into the extraterrestrial cop sent to stop him, played by ESPN NCAA basketball analyst Jay Bilas (seriously). He dies, but they get his gun, and Dolph has it out with the bad alien, finally taking him down.

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This is a classic bad action film. We featured it at our biannual Dolph Fest a few weeks ago. There isn't that one or two good things that standout individually, but the film as a whole just exudes this extreme level of awesomeness. This is the standard I look to whenever I watch a bad movie, and I'm not sure why it's so hard to achieve it. Lots of explosions, lots of gun shots, lots of killing, big alien guys, very little plot exposition, and Dolph Lundgren. Is that too much to ask?

As one of his first movies, I Come in Peace really cements Dolph's legacy as an actor who will probably spend his time on screen doing everything he can to avoid the A-list. In a career that spans over twenty years, Dolph stands out as a sort of monolith in every film he's in. He may look slightly different from time to time, but he's still Dolph, no matter who he plays or what his character's doing. I appreciate that, and I think that's why he's attained the exalted status of Babe Ruth of the DTVC Hall of Fame. He's an action star in the truest sense of the word, a real Hack Blowfist, if you will. Here's to you, Dolph Lundgren, you're one of the Good Ones.

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The bad guy in this is played by Mattias Hues. We thought for sure it was someone else, and just couldn't put our finger on it. When we looked him up on imdb, it turned out he wasn't who we thought he was, because we didn't recognize any of the other films he'd been in. (Kickboxer II was the best I could do, and I didn't remember him in that.) It's a shame this guy hasn't been used more often in bigger projects as a bad alien. I could see him giving Vin Diesel a hard time in Chronicles of Riddick, or teaming up with John Travolta in Battlefield Earth.

Brian Benben plays the annoying guy with the stick up his ass that follows Dolph around. You may remember Benben from Dream On, either on HBO, or the edited version on Comedy Central. He did a good job going from annoying to slightly redeemable by the end of the film, and I think that's what we look for in an annoying guy like that. Play it too annoying for too long, and we're good with you getting murdered. Be too cool too soon, and we lose respect for the main hero when he decks you for getting in his way. It's a fine art to being the annoying partner, and Benben excels in this film.

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One interesting piece of trivia: this is the only theatrical performance for ESPN NCAA basketball analyst and former Duke basketball stand out Jay Bilas. He plays the good alien chasing the bad alien here on Earth. I'm surprised he hasn't parlayed his success on TV into a more lucrative film career. He's got the physique, plus, with his law degree, he can avoid being swindled by a shady producer with a crummy contract. I'm not sure how often that happens, but I'd imagine with the kind of bad films I watch, it happens enough. I'm sure there are plenty of stunt men who had trouble paying their rent one month because a scurvy shyster producer took the cost of all the shrimp cocktail they ate at craft services out of their paychecks. The guy probably sees his what he made, then sees the deduction, and groans, remembering how sick the shrimp made him anyway.

If you have never seen I Come in Peace, you really can't call yourself a bad movie honk officially until you do. It's only out on VHS, and you may have to get it through Amazon. If money's tight, then I'd say don't go the Amazon route, because you may end up spending over $10. Do keep your eye out for it in bargain bins and places that sell used VHS tapes cheap, though. It's worth it.

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  1. I cant believe this movie isnt out on DVD!

    This is the one with the alien throwing cds, I remember this movie from when I was a teenager. It was fun times.

    I always loved that line from this movie when the bad alien says: "I come in Peace" and Lundgren answers: "And you go in Peaces!"

    Cant remember much of it cause I havent seen it in a while, but I do remember the plot line with the aliens injecting humans with drugs.

    It kind of feels a bit similar to a 1989 film called Alien Nation, Im sure youve heard of it. Where its also about drugs and aliens, only in that one its an alien drug that aliens who have invaded earth become addicted to. And two cops are sent into investigate. And theres also a "good alien". These two films have more similarities then I thought, though I think I Come In Peace has more of an edge to it.

    Could this movie have been trying to do a similar thing? Im pretty sure it was! For every big budget studio film, theres a smaller budget film trying to do something similar.

    Example The Abyss was followed by Deep Star Six and Leviathan.

  2. I thought both Alien Nation and Predator, especially at the end with Dolph having to confront the alien. A lot of these scripts are just a bunch of stuff thrown in. What's great is seeing Kurosawa's influence in some of them (notsomuch here, though.)

    I'm glad you commented on this, because I hadn't read it since I posted it almost two years ago. I had forgotten all about that tangent about the shady producer and the shrimp cocktail. It actually made me laugh.