Cast and Crew: Mark L. Lester (Director); James Horner (Score); Joel Silver (Producer); Rae Dawn Chong, David Patrick Kelly, Bill Duke, Bob Minor
What It’s About: John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is the U.S. government’s greatest commando, but he’s retired so he live in a secluded estate with his daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano). When his former comrade Bennett (Vernon Wells) kidnaps Jenny and demands that Matrix assassinate the political rival of his boss Arius (Dan Hedaya), Matrix only has hours to trick Bennett’s goons and find and rescue his daughter.
Why Watch it Today?: Today in 1940 the first British commando raid occurred. The British were the first to apply the word in its modern sense of élite forces that engage in special missions.
Commando is probably the ultimate use of the term in its modern American sense, which is “unstoppable bad-asses that can take on hundreds of men in the open and somehow survive and win”. The film is full of every 1980s action cliché taken to their logical and excessive conclusion, with Arnie shooting, punching, stabbing and exploding his way through hordes of mooks and “That Guy” heavies while quipping after each major kill.
Where to Get It: Netflix or Amazon
The only “straight-up” Ah-nold movie I can still stand. Mostly because it was another regular on my local TV network’s Saturday Afternoon Movie bloc. The day it played a double bill with “Revenge of the Nerds” was the day I thought I’d reached Heaven.
Do you consider The Terminator and Conan the Barbarian “straight-up”?
Thanks to their sci-fi and/or fantasy elements, I think of those as “Ah-nold on the rocks,” and therefore prefer them to his less-speculative fictions. But if I ever find myself condemned to a desert island, forced to choose only one Action Movie to keep me warm…I’d choose The Long Kiss Goodnight because…well…Gena Davis. But if I could chose two, the second one would be Commando.
I wonder what I would choose.