Monday, May 12, 2014

Commando (1985)

I just realized something-I've never revied an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie before! Granted, my bigger faux pas is that 184 reviews into my blog, I still haven't reviewed a Terence Hill-Bud Spencer movie! What the hell is wrong with me?! So, today I shall be talking about 1985's Commando!...

Retired soldier John Matrix (Arnold) is living peacefully with his daughter, when an old military commander arrives at his home, telling Matrix that members of his former squad are being killed off. The general orders two soldiers to stay and guard Matrix's house, which instantly goes haywire when it's attacked literally seconds after he leaves. The soldiers are killed, Jenny is kidnapped, andMatrix fends off as many attackers as he can, tearing his way through them until he's finally caught by old enmy and former squadmate Bennett (Vernon Wells). Bennett is working for General Arius (Dan Hedays), a warlord who was ousted from his rule of South American country Val Verde by Matrix years prior. In exchange for his daughter's life, Arius wants Matrix to assassinate Val Verde's current president, a trusted associate. Things instantly go wrong for the villains, however, when Arnold gets away and goes on a bloody rampage to get his daughter back...

The action in Commando is pure fun, and the finale just goes insane! Arnold is gunning against an entire army, and not only does he kill every single one of them single-handed, but they never even graze him! And there's also a massive violence spike, with out-of-nowhere gore that wouldn't be out of place in a Friday the 13th movie! From several huge massive explosions, to Arnold punching Vernon Wells thirteen times in a row, Commando's action is fantastic! Yes, it's absolutely ridiculous, and there's not a single moment in the film where you can believe anything on this Green Earth can stop the unstoppable John Matrix, but that doesn't matter. It's good sometimes to have action films that are simply escapist ridiculousness that you can laugh with and have a fun popcorn-y time!

This is an action film from the 1980's, so you know cheesy one-liners will be in abundance, and they are! There's heaps in Commando-All some of Arnold's best, and all equally ridiculous! I won't spoil a single one, and I instead implore you to watch the movie if you haven't already! You won't be disappointed by the mass cheesiness!

Commando doesn't build up the relationship between Matrix and his daughter a whole lot before she's kidnapped, but eh, it's serviceable. And anyway, the plot to Commando really is just a flimsy excuse for Ahnold to run around the Americas with God Mode on, killing every bad guy in his path.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a decent actor here, but his main draw is his ability to kill every bad guy on Earth at once. The man is invincible here! Hit him head on with a car? He'll get right back up. Gang up around him 20-to-1? He'll send you all flying. If you're funny? He'll kill you last... He also appears to shrug off a bullet wound with ease before the final fight, but it looks like it could just be a graze, which makes sense, given he immediately engages in a brutal fistfight, then later carries his daughter on his shoulder.

As for the villains, Dan Hedaya is ok as General Arius. He doesn't do a whole lot but stand around and talk. Vernon Wells as Bennett, on the other hand, is great! He's menacing, sociopathic, gets fun dialogue, and he's an Aussie! Hell yeah! As an Australian, I've sat through decades of Aussie actors doing American accents in every film they're in (which are invariably all big-budget Hollywood movies), so it's a real blast to hear an Australian actor with their own accent!

David Patrick Kelly is great as Sully, bringing his usual slimyness to the role. Plus, his death scene is one of the funniest Ahnold moments on film! Bill Duke as Cooke looks intimidating, and puts up a fight against Arnold before a swift and violent death.

The biggest problem with the two main villains is that they don't appear enough, and have almost zero contact with Matrix for the majority of the movie. I get why they don't given how the plot goes (Arnold can't let them know he's not on the plane to Val Verde, otherwise Jenny dies), but it's still a bit annoying.

Alyssa Milano is cute and pretty resourceful as Matrix's daughter Jenny, and Rae Dawn Chong as Cindy is kinda terrible at times, but is pretty ok for most of the film. She has the film's stupidest scene though, when she breaks Matrix out of a moving police van with a rocket launcher! Near the end of the movie, the script seems to forget Cindy exists, as from the point that Matrix steps on the bad guy's island, and she radios in to the military, she barely gets a single scene, and has no more dialogue!

The opening credits are pretty odd, in that they have feel-good music playing while Arnold is having fun happy times with his loving daughter. COMMANDO! HE WILL CUT. OFF. YOUR. ARM! It's pretty amusing seeing Arnold in a scene as schmaltzy as this. Doubly amusing is seeing him lugging huge cut up trees around on one shoulder. Just like Bruce Lee's film ability to kill someone with a single punch, Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the few actors who I could believe is actually lifting the weight he's supposedly carrying, rather than it being a prop tree!

The score is pretty awesome, and the song that plays over the ending and credits is a great 80's tune!

Commando is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's best movies, and one of the best action films of the 80's overall! If you're an action fan and you haven't seen Commando, then you're missing out on a truly enjoyable movie!

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