One of the joys of checking out a dumb action flick from the ’80s or ’90s is playing “Spot the Goon.” Most of the henchmen being gunned down by the mullet-headed hero are unrecognizable extras, but sometimes you’ll spot somebody you recognize. Not big stars, exactly, but people who’ve been gunned down in other movies.
I mention this because I recently watched the now-forgotten cops-vs.-aliens travesty I Come In Peace (1989), and who should turn up but Kevin Page as a smirking gunman!
C’mon guys, Kevin Page!
You know, the guy who gets shot by ED-209 in the boardroom in RoboCop?
Yeah! That guy! As soon as he turns up in I Come In Peace, you just know he’s going to get gunned down. After all, he got gunned down as thoroughly as a person can possibly get gunned down in one of the all-time classic getting-gunned-down scenes. He’s the Laurence Freaking Olivier of getting gunned down. Kevin “Mister Kinney, we need you to point this gun at that malfunctioning kill-bot” Page. The one and only.
In I Come In Peace, Mr. Page (a.k.a. the blue-eyed bullet magnet) plays... let’s see here... oh yeah, “White Boy #1.” I’ll explain; the evil drug dealers in this movie call their enforcers “White Boys.” Because heroin is white. Or maybe because the boys themselves are white. Whatever. Oh, and there’s another rival drug dealer in this movie, but he’s from outer space. Space Pusher has a high-tech space gun that makes things go boom, another high-tech space gun that shoots little spinning buzz saws, a spiky tentacle thing that he uses to inject victims with heroin, and a spiky... spike thing that he stabs people in the brain with. Basically he’s got a lot of dangerous things strapped to his forearms that’ll kill you. He’s also got white contact lenses and flowing white hair, but apparently this doesn’t qualify him as a “White Boy,” even though he’s basically in the same business as Kevin Page’s crew. (Dope gangs won’t do business with extraterrestrials.)
Some action films from this time period were criticized for making violence appear orgasmic. Here, the alien kills people by a) ripping their shirts open, b) stabbing them in the chest with a long shaft, c) injecting them with a milky white fluid (making them moan ecstatically in the process), and then d) stabbing them in the brains and stealing their endorphins, a.k.a. their orgasm chemicals. Wow. (Interestingly, only one of the victims is female.)
Space Pusher needs these endorphins because they’re incredibly valuable narcotics back on his home planet, and if he lives long enough to get back home, an entire gang of stab-happy doper aliens will come back here and harvest our pituitary glands. Can anyone save us from this fate? Oh look, it’s Dolph Lundgren as a gruff super cop who plays by his own rules! After the White Boys kill his partner, he joins forces with an irritating, by-the-book FBI agent (Brian Benben), and sets out to kick some alien ass.
The film throws quips, clichés and explosions at us until it’s time for “Spot the Goon” round two... with the one-and-only Al Leong!
Al Leong! The ultimate henchman! He’s got long hair in the back, no hair on his big bald forehead, and a Fu Manchu moustache. He also got gunned down in every single Hollywood action movie made between 1984 and 1993. Yeah, that guy!
Anyways, there’s also a good-guy alien who’s after the evil alien, because this film isn’t finished ripping off The Terminator (1984) and The Hidden (1987) yet. Actually, huge sections of this movie are brazenly ripped off from other films, because in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Hollywood just kept making the same action movie over and over again. This made I Come In Peace forgettable then, but quite fun now, because it serves as a neat little time capsule of a movie that’s filled with maverick cops, stern police captains, murdered partners, stuffy FBI agents, plucky love interests, casual profanity, bulky coats, aviator sunglasses, strip clubs, indoor car chases and stupid quips whenever the hero does something cool. In fact, the only reason this flick is called I Come In Peace is because that’s the line that the bad alien keeps repeating before he kills people, and the only reason he says it is so Dolph can retort “...but you go in pieces, asshole!” Kaboom!