Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dark Angel (AKA I Come In Piece) Blu-Ray Review with some monstervision memories.

As a man with over five hundred fifty horror movies nesting not 6 feet from my bed, it takes a certain special flick to really get me excited about buying it. It helps if the movie in question has never truly had a good release or if it belongs to a certain special subset of old Monstervision flicks. This lil bad boy nests in both those camps.
For those who are either not old enough, didn't have cable in the mid to late nineties or simply missed out on watching it, Monstervision was TNT's Saturday night horror/cult movie show hosted by the great Joe Bob Briggs. Say what you will about Elvira or Svenghoolie, but Joe Bob never needed a rubber chicken or a skimpy dress (that was the mail girls thing) to keep things interesting. Simply put; no other horror host had the same appeal or verbal skill. The guy was a top-notch host who'd toss just enough info and comedy into perfect lil bite sized bits for your enjoyment. He's not as prominent these days and apparently had some trouble with a few less than choice gay jokes, but back in the day this cat was the centerpiece of my weekend. It's rare to be able to point to one person who helped build a love for something but I can think of no one else who had a greater influence on my viewing habits.Over the years he aired plenty of different flicks but there was a group of them that stuck with me. Titles like The Wraith, Halloween 3, The Beast Within, From Beyond, all took up residence in my young mind while I lounged in my Pepsi beach chair. I feel a slight twinge of pride that I have just about everything except for Saturn 3 (which comes out soon), People Under the Stairs (no idea why I don't have that), and until last week, I Come in Piece.
The premise of our flick is one of simple elegance. Dolph Lundgren is a hard ass cop who has to deal with a drug-dealer from outer space. You could turn Shakespeare into a vampire, chain him to a typewriter for a thousand years and he still wouldn't have come up with a story this beautiful. Admittedly the whole plot is riddled with cliches like the by the book partner and the old fashioned one on one fistfight to end the whole ordeal but complex writing is not what's important here. What is important is the feeling the movie conveys, that of pure rainy day cinema. Truly the sights, sounds, and dialogue are of the kind that belong solely to those special films reserved for those days when your barbecue gets rained out.
There's also a nice variety of little touches added in, like Dolph's character being a wine and art connoisseur who goes to titty bars to think. And I'd be remiss not to mention the gun the aliens carry which is essentially an Uzi that fires explosion (eat it Michael Bey!). The cherry on top is that this a Christmas movie as well, which would make for a great alternative x-mas double feature if paired with Cobra.
The whole affair isn't life changing, or even a good movie per say, but those of the right mindset will get that warm old blanket feeling from a simple action flick from the days when such movies weren't up their own asses with self-importance and geeky wink wink moments. If you love action, aliens, or just basic fun cinema at least give this thing a viewing.
As far as the blu-ray itself; the picture quality is surprisingly good. There are a few parts that feature a little too much grain or image stutter but all in all it's quite purdy. I've seen some cats who like to think themselves as AV nuts criticize the transfer on some very shaky grounds but most just seem to be looking desperately for attention. I frankly don't get the complains cause it's pretty damn nice looking. Audio on the other hand is a little muffled. It's nothing serious and probably has more to do with the movie itself than the disc. There's some OK separation for those with multi-speaker setups, just don't expect anything too impressive. Thankfully Jan Hammer's score come across quite well. All in all, It's not bad audio...just kinda weak.
There's not many special features but I don't mind since we get a good half-hour of interviews with Lundgren, Director Craig Baxley, and Brian Benben who seems to be an odd little man. Other than that you get a standard definition trailer. I've never minded a lean offering of features since I don't usually have the time to watch that many and these were good enough to satisfy me. Plus they explained why the alien ran so damn strangely.
Since I'm still lost in a haze of Monstervision memories I leave you with this advice: go out and get this disc. Also; check out the Monstervision song. Ta!

1 comment:

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