Commando (1985)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Director's Cut)
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Overall Rating 67%
Overall Rating
Ranked #936
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Retired Special Forces Colonel John Matrix lives in the secluded mountains with his daughter Jenny. One day, his former commanding officer General Kirby pays him a visit, informing that all members of Matrix's former elite unit have been assassinated one by one. As Kirby leaves, Matrix himself is ambushed by the mysterious group of assailants and both he and Jenny are taken prisoners. It's here Matrix comes face-to-face with the plot's mastermind Arius, a corrupt South American dictator whom Matrix had deposed and is assisted by Matrix's psychotic former lieutenant Bennett who faked his death as a part of the scheme. Matrix is blackmailed into killing the leader who replaced Arius in 24 hours if he wants Jenny back. Unbeknownst to Arius or Bennett, Matrix escapes midway to the destination and with reluctant help from an off-duty air hostess Cindy, he starts tracking down Arius to rescue Cindy and plotting the despot's downfall, even if it means initiating a one man World War 3. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: April 14, 2007
Arnold Schwarzenegger outings are known for being "guy movies" that just ooze testosterone and machismo. Nearly all of the better ones feature him as a one-man army going up against hundreds of villains (or one super-powered cyborg / alien / what have you) while packing the biggest guns that he can lay his hands on and delivering his trademark one-liners at every opportunity. The slightest gust of wind will set off at least a dozen explosions, cars can drive at no less than ninety miles per hour, and the guns never run out of ammunition unless they're in the hands of a villain: those are the trademarks of a good action flick, and when it comes to the vast majority of the eighties, nobody did it better than our musclebound Austrian friend.

Like most of the eighties action movies (or most action movies in general), the plot is pretty thin. John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a former commando who has given up his exciting job in exchange for a nice, quiet life in the country where he spends his time playing with his daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano at the ripe old age of thirteen). All of that comes to a screeching halt when we learn that a Latino dictator (Dan Hedaya) wants Matrix to assassinate a South American leader so that he can be instilled back in power. To ensure that this is an offer that Matrix can't refuse, one of his old commando buddies (Vernon Wells) is sent to kidnap little Jenny and hold her hostage until the deed is done. With no other obvious choices, Matrix boards the plane to head to his destination and get things over with... until, that is, he manages to jump off the plane. With the help of an airline attendant (Rae Dawn Chong), he then sets out to rescue his daughter and gun down anyone who stands in his way.

So yes, the plot is paper-thin and serves only as an excuse to send Arnie up against an endless supply of baddies while flexing his muscles and delivering his one-liners; however, did you expect any less after seeing his mug on the DVD cover? Schwarzenegger was known for making good action movies, not dramatic tear-jerkers or comedic masterpieces - and with that fact in mind, I can safely say that Commando is one of those few mindless action movies that sets the standard for how all the other mindless action movies should be.

Now, when I say that the plot is thin, I'm not saying that that's necessarily a bad thing for this type of movie. You don't pick up an action movie with expectations of Shakespeare, but you do need a little something to drive the shootouts and car chases along. Commando balanced the two perfectly, as the storytelling part of the plot never drags and the action sequences never run on for too long. Arnold was in his prime for the shooting of this film, looking as menacing as ever and coming off as completely natural when equipped with a rocket launcher or a pair of sub-machineguns. His one-liners are never overdone here as they were in certain other movies, and if you're at all a fan of the man's work, you'll find this one to be a genuine treat.

Pick up a twelve pack from your local convenience store, chomp down on a fat cigar, and give it a watch after Monday Night football: it's a manly movie if there ever was one, and that is definitely a good thing. 8/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 04/14/2007, 02:52 AM
This is classic Arnold. Not quite as good as "Predator", but definitely better than "Red Heat". Just the cover of that DVD makes you know that Arnold is going to fuck you up -- he's got that "Time To Insert My Foot Into Your Rectum" look. 8/10.
grain of sand #2: grain of sand - added 04/14/2007, 05:24 PM
the part with the circle saw blade is memorable ha
Crispy #3: Crispy - added 11/04/2011, 07:39 PM
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