No more screwing around: this is the quintessential 80s action movie. It has everything: explosions, gunfights, one-liners, Arnold performing feats of impossibility like carrying an entire tree on his shoulder, ripping the passenger seat out of a car, or lifting a phone booth out of the ground with a man still inside it. If you have to watch one action movie this year, make it this one.
The plot of Commando is as follows: John Matrix (yeah, that’s Arnold’s name in this) is a retired Delta Force Commando who just wants to retire and live a quiet life in the mountains with his daughter Alyssa Milano, feeding deer, eating ice cream and fishing. But then she’s kidnapped by South Americans from a fictional banana republic in order to get Matrix’s cooperation in overthrowing the current government of said republic. When this is laid out to Matrix, he shoots the one telling him and begins his epic quest for revenge to rescue his daughter. It’s really up there with the glorious epics of history: The Iliad, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Commando.
I could go on about every little detail I love about this movie, but you really need to see it for yourself. Chances are you’re familiar with many of the one-liners, but you may not know they come from this movie (ie. ‘Remember how I said I’d kill you last? I lied!’, or ‘Don’t wake my friend; he’s dead tired’, or ‘Fuck you, asshole!…”Fuck you, asshole!” and the ever-popular ‘I’ll be back, Bennett’. Alright, that last two were originally from Terminator, but they’re still great). That’s another thing to mention: Bennett, Matrix’s main antagonist looks like Freddie Mercury and he wears a mesh chainmail tunic the entire movie. It’s incredible.
This movie also has my favourite shot of all time, closely followed by my favourite crappy edit of all time. It’s 2 minutes of pure awesome (https://youtu.be/hopRenk1oaQ?t=56s for the shot; the latter isn’t on YouTube unfortunately, but it’s about 5 seconds after this clip ends.) Just look at that close-up with that music, and the slowly zooming camera. It makes me so happy.
The music is simple, yet effective. I hope you like steel drums, because the entire soundtrack consists of about 2 songs, and the second is only played once. The rest of the song is the same intense steel drum (yeah, I used those words together) tune. It’ll be stuck in your head for years.
This movie easily gets a 5/5 rating. I cannot stress enough the importance of watching Commando if you are interested in 80s and 90s action movies. Much like Curt Hennig, it is simply perfect.