Macho, stupid, ultra-violent but nonetheless brilliant, Commando is another perfect example of a classic 80’s action flick. Violence? Yes. Explosive? Yes. Simple plot? Yes. Muscle men going at at(ahem)? Yes. One liners? Yes. Everything is here and although many hate it, this is still a wildly entertaining film. These films were important as part of our childhood, and still are today. They may not be suitable for kids, but with these it is easy to see the difference between right and wrong, real and not. Even though it is full of flaws it still should be recognised as pure entertainment.
Arnie plays John Matrix, ex marine whose daughter is kidnapped by an old colleague. He is blackmailed into an assassination or his daughter will be killed. However, Matrix soon escapes the man hired to make sure he doesn’t try any funny business and begins to search for his daughter with the help of a sceptical trainee pilot played by Rae Dawn Chong. Matrix has revenge on his mind, and no-one will stop him.
As always Arnie is perfect, does his lines brilliantly, deals with the action effortlessly. For some reason Chong’s performance has been destroyed by critics, but she is pretty good and I can see no flaws. Her character is meant to be annoying and scared, and she plays her that way. Bennett, the main bad guy, famous for his Road Warrior role is clearly effeminate-an interesting choice for a macho bad guy, and Alyssa Milano is also good in an early role. Bill Duke makes a welcome appearance, as does D.P. Kelly, who has vanished since the Crow. The action and set pieces are excellent, particularly the final attack, the soundtrack works well, and there are hundreds of quotable lines. ‘I lied’- Shakespeare never did better.
Unfortunately most editions of the DVD have no features, and are cut to shreds by various ‘film and classification boards’. Yes, the people who make our decisions for us have deemed Commando the source of all society’s evils, so what we get is a hideously edited version. Don’t worry though, a special edition is available but I haven’t checked it yet to see if it’s uncut and packed with extras.
As always, feel free to comment on the movie- why don’t they make them like this anymore? Does Arnie look his toughest in Commando?