Commando

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Retired Delta Force Operative Colonel John Matrix is informed by his former superior Major General Franklin Kirby that all the other members of his unit have been killed by unknown mercenaries. The mercenaries, among them Bennett, an ex-member of Matrix’s team fired for overt brutality in service, attack Matrix’s secluded mountain home and kidnap Matrix’s young daughter Jenny. While trying to intercept them, Matrix is also overpowered by the mercenaries.

It is revealed that Matrix is needed to carry out a political assassination for a South American dictator named Arius, who wishes to lead a military coup in his home country of Val Verde. Arius, who was deposed by Matrix in the course of one of his missions, has chosen the colonel because the current president trusts him implicitly. With Jenny’s life on the line, Matrix reluctantly accepts the demand.

After boarding a plane to Val Verde, Matrix manages to kill his guard, Henriques, and jumps from the plane just as it is taking off. With approximately 11 hours’ time (the period of the flight), he sets out after another of Arius’ men, Sully. He then enlists the aid of an off-duty flight attendant named Cindy, and instructs her to follow Sully to a shopping mall. Cindy first assumes that Matrix is a maniac, but after seeing him desperately trying to get his hands on Sully, she has a change of heart and henceforth assists him in his endeavor. After a lengthy car chase, Matrix catches up with Sully whom he drops off a cliff to his death.

With Cindy’s aid, Matrix learns where Jenny is being held. He then breaks into a surplus store to equip himself with military weapons, but the police arrive and Matrix is arrested. Cindy helps him escape, and after commandeering a seaplane from a nearby marina controlled by Arius, Matrix and Cindy land the plane off the coast of Arius’ island hideout. Matrix instructs Cindy to contact General Kirby and then proceeds to Arius’ villa, kills Arius’ entire private militia, and subsequently confronts and kills Arius in a gunfight.

Matrix locates Jenny in the basement of the villa, where she has fled and was cornered by Bennett. After a fierce struggle, Matrix finally kills Bennett. Kirby arrives with a military detachment and asks Matrix to rejoin the Special Forces Unit, but Matrix declines and departs the island aboard the seaplane with Jenny and Cindy.

REVIEW:

Many critics and reviewers, myself included,  have been saying that they want to see some legit 80s action. With this in mind, a friend of mind suggested Commando, one of Schwarzenegger’s upper tier, yet somewhat forgettable, films.

What is this about?

Col. John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the former leader of a special ops team, is vaulted back into action to save his young daughter (Alyssa Milano) who has been kidnapped. Her life is threatened lest John assassinate a South American president. Rather than being strong-armed into such a proposition, John takes matters (and lots of guns) into his owns hands as he fights through the jungle against his enemies to save his daughter.

What did I like?

Body count. From the opening scene to the end, there is a pretty high body count, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more! Man, I miss 80s flicks, where movies got away with killing people for no other reason then they were there. In a way, I was hoping for more bodies strewn about and more blood. Yes, you can call me bloodthirsty, sadistic, etc., but I know what I like.

Ridiculous. Many of the things that Schwarzenegger does make no sense. They make him almost super human with these feats, such as carrying a tree from the forest to his house. Also, driving a bulldozer into a weapons store and then stocking up on everything without cops showing up for quite some time. I feel like I should have a problem with this, but the over-the-top ridiculousness of this sold me even more on the whole flick.

What didn’t I like?

Score. This can be a big or small thing, depending on how much you pay attention to the score. For me, as a musician, I analyze everything about the things. This score isn’t bad, mind you, but it doesn’t really fit, especially in the early parts of the film when they are still in, I want to say outside of L.A., but don’t quote me. The steel drums and exotic feel didn’t seem to be the best choice. Truthfully, I didn’t really notice it until the introduction of Schwarzenegger. It was played almost like his theme music. With that in mind, in the latter half of the film, when location shifts to the island, not only does it work better, they also go with some cheesy 80s music. I felt it would have worked better the other way around.

Obvious. Look at the cast. Isn’t it quite obvious who is going to live and who isn’t? I don’t believe this was a big budget film, but they could have at least brought in some actors that wouldn’t have made it so obvious that they weren’t going to make it to the end. It just seems like that does the audience no favors.

Skin. This is sure to sound a bit hypocritical of me, but I really saw no reason for Arnold to strip down to his skivvies just to go from the plane to the land and then put clothes on. To me, that seemed like that was just a way to show off his muscles. Conversely, there is a scene a little earlier where we see gratuitous boobs. No reason for them, as she isn’t even a character in the plot, but I have no complaint about that. Arnold, though, I have to issue with.

Anyone looking for a fun, bloody, action flick, need look no further than Commando. With this you get everything you’re looking for, including Arnold in his early prime (this was around the time of The Terminator). Make no mistake, though, this is not a great film. It is just mindless fun, the kind of thing that movies of this era were made for! Check this out sometime!

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Commando”

  1. […] My reviews of movies I catch via Netflix, in theaters, TV, or my own DVD collection. « Commando […]

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