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Cherry Pop

'Dark Angel'
(Dolph Lundgren, Betsy Brantley, Brian Benben, et al / DVD / NR / 2011 / MGM)

Overview: A police detective must stop the murderous rampage of a criminal alien who's addicted to human endorphins.

DVD Verdict: Jack Caine (Lundgren) is a maverick Houston cop with a reputation for losing partners. He's still having problems with the drug cartel who offed his partner, but things are about to get a whole lot worse. Not only is a big shipment of heroin owned by that cartel stolen by a huge alien in a black duster, but the FBI is now on the case, and Caine gets paired with a button-down by-the-book agent named Smith (Brian Benben, currently doing a stint on the TV show Private Practice).

To top it all off, he's got girlfriend problems; probably doesn't help that he's dating the county coroner (The Princess Bride's Betsy Brantley). This may all seem like a whole lot of plot for an action film, but don't worry; the alien angle always takes center stage. Everything else is a throwaway either to give the audience something safe to retreat into (the mismatched-partner clichs) or simply appears when needed (the girlfriend storyline, the cartel stuff) to advance the plot.

But really, it's all a thin scrim of plot that exists in order for Dolph Lundgren and his alien nemesis to fight things, shoot things, and make things blow up. It's not even really a sci-fi movie, when it comes right down to it; there are a couple of futuristic gadgets, but that makes it a Bond film, not sci-fi. It's still an action movie. An entirely unoriginal action movie, with borderline acting, competent-at-best direction, and a script that probably killed more brain cells in its writing than it took to come up with this hare-brained idea in the first place.

And yet I can't deny that it's the kind of stupid fun that at least had me not reaching for the fast-forward button every two minutes! I've seen far worse movies this week, though that should in no way be considered a recommendation for this. You have to have a strong stomach and no brain, but if you enjoy that sort of thing, you may find it a guilty pleasure. [FYI: This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media] [DF] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.MGM.com





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