This is a quintessential 80’s action movie, it might not be the most famous but by God is not iconic in its own right. Arnold Schwarzenegger has his daughter kidnapped by evil mercenaries (one who dressed like he’s going to gay bar right after) and he has eleven hours to save her. It’s just an amazing film of stupidity and Arnold kicking ass, you don’t care about the politics of the bad guys or about Cindy’s trepidation of the danger it’s all about watching Arnold kill every last bad guy in sight.
The story is simple but works really well, the film doesn’t really build any tension with the ticking clock because all the villains are clichéd and underwhelming. I’m not kidding, the bad guy who is supposedly Schwarzenegger’s nemesis looks just like Mr. Slave from South Park, it cuts all the tension when Arnold looks like Hercules himself. The action is what keeps the film moving, every new development that gets Arnold closer to his daughter leads to a new fight scene. Arnold beats the Christ out of anyone who gets in his way, he rips a phone booth out of the damn ground and throws it like The Incredible Hulk, he is seemingly unstoppable in his mission.
Schwarzenegger is fantastic in this film, he once again plays the all American hero while maintaining his thick Austrian accent. He doesn’t look human at times so if you’re insecure about your body you may have a rough time watching his muscles literally fight to break free from his shirt. His character of John Matrix (great fucking name!) is a retired Delta Force colonel who has old enemies resurface killing all the men in his unit just after he’s warned he’s attacked but he isn’t quick enough the save his daughter. Matrix is efficient, powerful and will not stop and when he finally gears up to take on the compound you can’t help but feel sorry for the bad guys.
Commando definitely feels like Schwarzenegger’s response to Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo but John Rambo never had John Matrix’s one liners. My god I thought They Live had it nailed down, Commando bring it to another level with Schwarzenegger’s delivery of humour. I usually have problems with one liners and comedy undercutting drama and action but you can’t complain here because it just makes the film so much better. I think it’s a way to make the extreme violence and murder more accessible, Arnold is straight up murdering people in this film but the one liner makes you laugh so its alright. Morality brought to you by Hollywood!
It’s dumb, its fun and you can’t look away, Commando is Arnold Schwarzenegger at his best. Not bogged down by franchises or unrealistic premises, Arnold is allowed to thrive in his best element and the film thrives with him. It’s so entertaining and is one those great films that captures the vigor and my love of the 1980’s.