“Commando” (1985)

Sometimes there are movies that just cannot be explained. Sometimes there are movies that are just so awesome you have to see them for yourselves.

For us, the movie that started the awesome movies craze was Commando. Read more and you will find out what the fuss is all about. Commando is the story of John Matrix (Ahnuld), a former military colonel who led his men on a mission to remove the evil dictator of the tropical island Val Verde. It’s many years later, as John is living with his daughter (played by a pre-Samantuh Alyssa Milano) while his compadres has all assumed fake identities.

But one day.. something goes wrong. All of John’s buddies are tracked down and killed! General Franklin Kirby flies his Army helicopter to John’s mountain fortress to warn him. Unfortunately for him, the baddies followed the helicopter. Not so smart, huh? Well, Kirby warns John and his daughter Jenny, and soon enough – the baddies blast their way through. Apparently the military protection wasn’t strong enough. While John scrambles for an exit, the baddies kidnap his daughter! In a hilarious scene, a random baddie named Diaz gives John his ultimatum – “You gotta co-operate, right?”. To which John answers “WRONG” and blasts him.

If you like cheesy movie dialogue, Commando is full of it. John proceeds to chase the bad guys who have his daughter but is captured instead! The man behind it all… BENNETT. One of John’s war buddies who was killed earlier but apparently is not dead. Bennett is a sight to behold. Armed with a chain mail vest and a riding crop, he totally refines being gay. Anywho, Bennett has joined forces with the Val Verde dictator (played by latin Steve Carell) to put him back into power. John’s role? To kill the current president. Or his daughter will die. Bennett is one bad (gay) dude!

John doesn’t really have a choice, so he boards an airplane with a big black dude named Henriques. Sully makes some sly joke, to which John replies “You’re a funny man, Sully, I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last.” Funny line, but funnier when it’s brought up later.

In one of the stupidest action sequences ever, John knocks out Henriques (informed the stewardess not to bother him because he’s “dead tired”. GET IT?!) and then proceeds to jump out of the airplane. Thankfully, the jump scene is on YouTube:

John then goes back to the airport and tracks down Sully, who is busy trying to hit on some stewardess who wants no part of him. Somehow John thinks she will help. After Quagmire, I mean Sully, leaves and he gets the stewardess (named Cindy) to follow him. In another unbelieveable scene, Matrix tears her passenger seat out of her car to look more incognito. Maybe it makes sense, but it just looks stupid.

The two chase down Sully, who is heading to a bar in a mall to meet with another baddie. He tells her to seduce Sully, but instead she tells the security on her. Oh no! But Matrix is a fucking beast, and takes down everyone, including a skinny black guard who calls him a “gigantic motherfucker.” Sully fires some shots, his friend is killed by mall security, and Sully knows Matrix is on to him. Sully retreats to a telephone booth to squeal to Bennett, but Matrix grabs the entire booth and throws it. Oh, did I mention Matrix takes down a bunch of security guards in one shot? It’s ridiculous!

Sully manages to escape and Matrix chases him in Cindy’s car. She tags along of course, annoying ranting about how she “tried” to help. John keeps his stone face through the whole scene even saying “all that matters to me now is Jenny” in the most monotone voice ever. You can’t make this shit up.

The chase continues, as both cars crash, but Matrix gets Sully and dangles him off the edge. That is, not before he grabs a motel room key, his next clue. Matrix dangles Sully from the edge saying “Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?” Sully says he remembers, but John replies with a classic “I lied.” and let’s go. How fucking awesome is that???

With his motel key in hand, John and Cindy take Sully’s damaged car (which manages to magically repair itself) and drive to the motel where Sully is supposed to meet up with Cooke, a big black Green Beret who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Cindy, posing as “room service”/hooker for Sully, lures Cooke in and Matrix jumps behind him and begins the pummelling. John has some trouble with Cooke, even as the two bust into the next room as a couple is having sex (boobies!). At one point, another classic line is emitted:

Cooke: You scared motherfucker? Well you should be because this green beret is going to kick your big ass.
Matrix: I eat green berets for breakfast. And right now I’m very hungry.

Fucking great!! Cooke manages to fall right on a chair leg that goes right through him. Aw. Poor guy. John isn’t able to get any info from him, but Cindy finds a airplane fuel receipt in his glove compartment. (Guess she’s good for something after all.) The two head to the fuel place and find out that they need to get to Val Verde and stop the takeover! But of course, John has to stock up at the local gun surplus store that apparently has every weapon needed. I mean, he even busts down the whole front with a bulldozer just to get in. What a macho fucker he is.

But oh no! The police stop Matrix in his tracks and place him into a wagon. Is this the end of our hero’s journey? Hell no! Somehow Cindy managed to escape with a rocket launcher and literally blasts her way to get John free. Meanwhile, Kirby arrives at the surplus store and tells everyone to be on the lookout for “World War III”. A pointless scene, nonetheless. John and Cindy find a plane and fly to Val Verde, where time is running out! (Another little “feature” of the movie is John’s “ticking” watch. It’s stupidly awesome.)

Cindy and John (clad in a speedo) make it to the island. John tells Cindy to radio for Kirby while he heads to shore to kick some ass. John suits up in full commando uniform and gets ready to take on Bennett’s cronies.

What comes next is an insane sequence of pure kick-ass action that pleases any meat-eating male. John blows up buildings, kills baddies and makes his way to Bennett and his daughter.

During this, Jenny manages to escape to some kind of boiler room, and Bennett chases her down. Matrix kills the latin Steve Carell dictator dude with a shotgun, and heads off to find his daughter.

What results next is the climatic final battle, and from what I can tell, Bennett likes killing a little too much. He sort of gives an “O” face and the the battle begins. They slash each other with knives, push each other into an oven and finally Matrix kicks Bennett into a power conduit of some kind and he’s electrocuted. But he isn’t dead yet so Matrix rips a pipe off the wall and throws it at him. Bennett is left dead with steam pouring out of him and Arnold utters this line.

“Let off some steam, Bennett…”

With the final villain vanquished, John and Jenny meet up with General Kirby and Cindy. Kirby is grateful for John’s heroics and even asks him to start up his old unit. As a cheesy ’80’s love ballad starts playing, Matrix replies… “No chance.”

“We fight for love…..”

If that recap doesn’t make you want to go watch Commando now, then you’re not human. Or maybe not male. From an era of Chuck Norris, Arnold and Sly Stallone, comes another awesome movie. Plus, I was born in 1985. Coincidence? I think not. I guess all things awesome came from that year.

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One thought on ““Commando” (1985)

  1. This is by far one of the greatest movies of the century. I can’t believe what an awesome movie it is. It has no morals, no lessons to teach, no political statements, no coherence, and no sense whatsoever. When Schwarzeneggar’s beloved daughter is kidnapped by a psychotic dictator, he doesn’t try to reason with the bad guys or take precautions like most action heroes would. He just goes bonkers and starts killing everyone in sight. The movie is packed with fantastic scenes such as Arnie crashing a car at about 80 mph, without a seatbelt, and being perfectly fine, Arnie tearing a phone booth out of a wall, Arnie punching a guy through a wall, etc. It’s gloriously entertaining.

    Also, despite his reputation for bad acting, he delivers all his lines with perfect comic timing (“Let off some steam, Bennett”). Bennett is also a great character, but no match for Arnold. You’d have to be completely devoid of personality to not find this at least slightly entertaining.

    10/10 stars. Seriously.

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