Follow TV Tropes


Film / I Come in Peace

Go To

I Come in Peace (1990) (released and known worldwide as Dark Angel) is a science fiction action thriller film about a rule-breaking vice cop who becomes involved in the investigation of a number of mysterious drug-related murders on the streets of Houston, Texas. The film was directed by Craig R Baxley, and stars Dolph Lundgren, Matthias Hues, Brian Benben, Betsy Brantley, and David Aykroyd. Future ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas has a small role as an alien cop.

Jack Caine (Lundgren) is a Houston cop who is determined to wipe out the White Boys, a gang of white-collar drug dealers who killed his partner while Caine was waylaid stopping a convenience store robbery. Little does he know that there is a new drug dealer in town (Matthias Hues), one who preys on heroin addicts in order to get his own drug of trade - made from the endorphins extracted from heroin users. But this guy's home turf isn't in Houston. It isn't even on planet Earth...

This movie contains examples of:

  • Addled Addict: Bruce the Scientist, the police lab technician shows signs of several personal issues relating substance abuse and dependency. His body constantly shakes, he screams, he brews extra-caffeinated coffee because regular coffee isn't strong enough for him, and the presence of a federal agent makes him paranoid and overly agitated, leading to him stashing various unnamed drugs and pills lying around on his lab table in a panic.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: A Space Whale Aesop version of this in the Big Bad: an alien drug dealer that gains his alien drugs by forcing a heroin OD on his victims and draining their cerebral fluid while they are dying, and plans an Alien Invasion that will turn Earth into a galactic drug lab.
  • Alien Blood: The aliens bleed a blue clay-like substance.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Alien mayhem on the streets of Houston, Texas. While Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, it rarely gets featured in media due to being neither New York City nor Los Angeles.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Yet another film example of this trope with no explanation.
  • All There in the Manual: Talec is only named in the credits.
  • Almost Dead Guy: After the alien drug dealer mortally wounds the space cop who was pursuing him, the good one survives just long enough to tell Jack and Larry about the drug dealer's plans and give them his energy gun.
  • Asshole Victim: The gangsters the bad alien kills to steal their drug.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Downplayed with the White Boys Gang, who dress in tailored suits and drive top-of-the-line roadsters and fire top-of-the-line sub-machine guns and make business from their downtown Dallas office building and thus try to present themselves as classy as a result, but in reality are just a bunch of heroin-peddling yuppie scumbags that boast big.
  • Badass Longcoat: The aliens wear these.
  • BFG:
    Jack Caine: [while being chased by the White Boys, Larry produces a huge firearm, which resembles a cannon more than a gun] What the hell is that?
    Arwood "Larry" Smith: A Christmas present from my mother.
  • Big Bad: Talec, the alien criminal killing everybody.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The White Boys Gang talk big and fire guns a lot, but the plot makes clear again and again that they are most definitely not the badass criminal outfit they consider themselves to be, culminating with them being completely exterminated by the evil alien in the third act.
  • Blatant Lies: "I come in peace" is said repeatedly by a mass-murdering alien who manufactures drugs out of said dead people.
  • Brain Food: The evil alien injects humans with overdoses of heroin in order to harvest endorphins that could be rendered into a powerful recreational drug on his home planet.
  • Buddy Cop Show: A Cowboy Cop is paired with a By-the-Book Cop as they find themselves having to stop the rampage of a monstrous alien serial killer.
  • Car Cushion: The alien throws Smith into a car. Despite being dropped from a considerable height, he only hurts his shoulder.
  • Cool Car: The White Boys drive around in top-of-the-line roadsters like Lamborhinis and Porsches that they purchased with their drug money. Instead of making them cool, it only provides more fuel to the point that the White Boys are just braggarts when they swerve out of the way in a Game of Chicken with Jack Caine to prevent damage to their cars and later Jack is able to march right into their headquarters by distracting the members assigned to guard the entrance by making the car alarms sound.
    Jack Caine: If there's one thing a White Boy can't stand, it's a scratch on his car.
  • Cool Guns: The "alien guns" are actually Calico M-950s with an additional LED toggle display on the side (apparently showcasing various power levels-the higher one good at making Stuff Blowing Up and turning people into Ludicrous Gibs).
  • Cowboy Cop: Jack Caine prefers to play by his own rules, but this does get him into a lot of trouble at the start. The only reason he isn't booted off the force is because the FBI agents pull some strings.
  • Deadly Disc: The alien shoots small magnetically-powered disks that ricochet around the room and home in on humans' electrical patterns.
  • Dead Partner: Detective Ray Turner, Caine's original partner. He is killed by the White Boys in a failed sting operation.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: Christmas in Houston, Texas... prevented from being a full-blown example of An Ass-Kicking Christmas because the characters almost don't talk about it (except for a couple of sarcastic lines) and aside from the occasional background decoration it could have been set at any time of the year.
  • Evil Gloating: Victor Manning, the drug lord who killed Jack Caine's partner in the opening, later sends Jack a photo of himself with some half-naked girls to show that he's having a great time on his vacation in Brazil.
  • False Reassurance: Caine is smart enough to warn Larry that if his boss starts being chummy and talking about how good he's been at serving his country, Larry should start to worry. And so he does, and Larry does too.
  • Fantastic Drug: The alien drug "collector" overdoses humans with stolen heroin so he can extract endorphins from them for sale off-world.
  • Groin Attack: Threatened when Jack interrogates one of Victor Manning's associates by pressing his gun against the guy's crotch.
  • Hand Cannon: The alien's weapons look like regular handguns. But when shot, HUGE explosions ensue. Larry's own revolver is a .357 Dan Wesson with a telescopic sight.
  • Hate Sink: Victor Manning is the leader of the White Boys, a gang of drug dealers who hide their crimes behind kitschy attempts at glamour. Before the start of the film, Manning killed Jack Caine's partner when he tried to bring him down, a fact he regularly taunts Caine with. Manning opens the story by bombing an FBI office to steal some drugs they seized, killing several officers in the process. Despite Caine's attempts to track him down, Manning flees to another country, last seen in a postcard he sent his nemesis.
  • He Knows Too Much: Larry's FBI boss tries to kill his subordinate after Larry hands over the energy weapon which he retrieved from the alien cop, but Larry's local partner Jack saves him by shooting the guy first.
  • Human Aliens: The aliens look like regular humans, only with white eyes, strange haircuts and tall statures.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Jack wounds the Alien in the final battle by turning it's own heroin-overdosing wire on it.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The alien uses a sawblade-like disk zips and bounces around while homing in on the "electrical charge" in human beings, until it attracts itself to a stronger magnetic field.
  • I Come in Peace: Subverted. The main alien says this to the Earthlings almost out of reflex, but in reality he wants to steal their brain fluid for the intergalactic drug trade. He's not trying to deceive us however, as he uses the line the moment he appears and starts attacking. Perhaps he believes the phrase is a standard human-alien greeting before getting down to business.
  • I Gave My Word: It's a recurring plot point that Jack Caine always keeps his promises when he does make one. The alien cop seems to be aware of this reputation, since when he is dying, he also makes Jack promise to stop the alien drug dealer before he can kill even more people.
  • It's Personal: Caine was already going after the WhiteBoys, but then they had to go and kill his partner...
  • Karma Houdini: Victor Manning, getting out of Dodge after his one scene and sending a picture to Caine in order to gloat about it. On the other hand, the complete slaughter of his gang back on Houston is going to make things harder for him in the long run... and the last joke of the film is Jack musing about "taking a vacation" to hunt him down (with Larry wanting to tag along).
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Larry has a moment like this when he and Jack get ready for their climactic showdown with the alien.
    Larry: Let's kick some ass.
  • The Men in Black: After the two aliens have a shoot-out in a convenience store, the crime scene is quickly cordoned off by these people and the case closed. It's implied that Larry's boss is one of them, as he reveals that they want to make a deal with the alien and ignore how many he's already killed on Earth.
  • Name of Cain: Jack Caine, who is a Cowboy Cop Anti-Hero who frequently flouts protocol.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Human endorphins work on alien brain chemistry. Unless there's a Placebo Effect involved... Zigzagged: There are many animals just on Earth with excretions, etc...that humans use for various effects. Given that these aliens breath oxygen and are humanoid, there's no telling how much processing would be required for an effect.
  • Odd Couple: Caine is a scruffy rule-breaking vice cop while Smith is a suit-wearing by-the-book FBI agent. The difference is emphasised by the actor's heights - Dolph Lundgren at 6'5" is significantly taller than the 5'6" Brian Benben.
  • Offscreen Karma: The last few lines of the movie are Jack making plans to go to Brazil to have a face-to-face encounter with Victor Manning (the escaped leader of the White Boys Gang) and administer proper revenge for his dead partner. After what he just went through, it'll be practically a vacation.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The alien drug dealer arrives in the middle of a botched sting operation to kill the human gangsters. Later, he kills more of them when they arrive to kill protagonist Jack Caine. For a good part of the film the alien is in the periphery of Jack's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the White Boys and both sides think it's some insane vigilante or Ruthless Foreign Gangsters striking from the shadows.
  • Picky People Eater: The alien drug dealer harvests brain fluid from Earthlings that can be rendered into a powerful recreational drug on his home planet.
  • Plot Armor: The Alien that kills cops and gangsters in droves naturally becomes far less efficient when trying to kill the protagonists, constantly missing with his devastating explosive-gun and even his homing disc attack (when he actually uses it on them.) The Alien also only dies when his runs out; he wears armor that lets him shrug off shotgun blasts, explosions, and shots from it's species own powerful gun, but gets fatally impaled by a pipe.
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: Victor Manning is a drug kingpin who only exists to kill off Caine's original partner, then disappears from the narrative entirely (he skips the country to enjoy his freedom in Brazil, sending a postcard to Caine just to be a dick) as Caine suddenly has to deal with an alien drug kingpin who starts rampaging through town. Caine doesn't even have time to avenge his partner (though the ending implies that he's heading off to Brazil to do so).
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The alien drug dealer collects his narcotics by injecting humans with heroin before using a spike to extract the endorphin-laden brain fluid.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: When Jack is playing Chicken with some White Boys (all of whom drive expensive sports cars), Larry is worried at first, but Jack knows he'll win because "if there's one thing a White Boy can't stand, it's a scratch on his car".
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: After the evil alien has been impaled on a pipe:
    Bad Alien: I come in peace.
    Jack Caine: And you go in pieces, asshole.
  • Prophet Eyes: The aliens have white eyes.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Caine already lives by this code, but Larry grows into it once he finds out that the government has no problem with letting the alien kill people (and possibly bring along an Alien Invasion to turn Earth into a space-meth lab) as long as they can get a deal out of it.
  • Slasher Smile: The bad alien during the fight with Caine at the climax.
  • The Sociopath: Talec, an alien who comes to Earth to kill people and sell their endorphins as a drug.
  • Space Police: Another alien turns out to be a law enforcement officer who gives Not Quite Dead exposition on the alien drug dealer's reason for being on Earth.
  • The Speechless: The evil alien, except for his Catchphrase "I come in peace", doesn't talk very much.
  • Super-Toughness: The two aliens are much tougher than ordinary humans. The cop still lives for quite a while after half his torso is shot off, and the drug dealer isn't even phased when Jack tries to kick his ass, while gunfire barely slows him down.
  • Terminator Twosome: An alien cop does show up to hunt down the alien criminal, but he turns out to be the The World's Expert (on Getting Killed) and gets gutshot pretty quickly. His only real contribution is giving Jack an alien gun before he dies and explodes.
  • Title Drop: Unless seeing it as Dark Angel, multiple repetitions of "I come in peace" make up almost all of the bad guy's dialogue (his only other line: "I win").
  • We Come in Peace Shoot to Kill: One of the aliens keeps repeating "I come in peace" while murdering people.
  • Wrote the Book: Played with in this Bond One-Liner after Caine kills Smith's boss when he's going to silence Smith:
    Jack Caine: "Trust no one". The book of Caine, Rule One, Chapter One.
  • Yuppie: The White Boys are a gang of yuppie drug dealers, presumably to have something different from the stock villains from The Mafia, The Triads and the Tongs and The Cartel.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Angel