Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Commando (1985)

In the wake of the recent release for "The Expendables 2," I decided to have all of you vote on several choices of cult classic action movies for me to review. And in the end, the winner was the infamously over-the-top Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s action flick "Commando." After making his American acting debut in "Conan the Barbarian" and "The Terminator," Schwarzenegger established himself as a very promising star in the action department. His acting skills were nothing amazing, but his strong physical build and exquisite line delivery for puns set him apart from most action stars of the 80s decade. However out of all the action movies he starred in during the 1980s, none of them stand alongside the ridiculously over-the-top, yet awesomely bad "Commando." If you're a Schwarzenegger fan that hasn't seen this film yet, you're essentially not a true fan until you sit down and view it for the first time.

Colonel John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is an elite retired Army Black Ops that has devoted the rest of his life to laying low and raising his daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano). However, his former superior Major General Kirby (James Olson) informs him that the members of his old team have been killed at the hands of shady mercenaries. Matrix's home is soon ambushed by the mercenaries, and his daughter is kidnapped in the process. Once the mercenaries pin down Matrix, they soon explain to him that he needs to carry out a political assassination for a former South American dictator named Arius (Dan Hedaya), because his power was overthrown when Matrix led a staged revolution against his leadership. If Matrix doesn't carry out the specified job, his daughter will die at the hands of Arius' lead mercenary Bennett (Vernon Wells), who was also a former member of Matrix's team. Fortunately though, Matrix escapes the clutches of Arius' henchmen, and ends up unleashing a one man war against them.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is as badass as he'll ever be in the role of John Matrix. Not only is he shaped physically like a military tank, but he can also deliver an awesomely hilarious line before he kicks someone's ass, too. One of the best examples being "I eat Green Berets for breakfast," when he goes hand to hand with Bill Duke's villain named Cooke. Furthermore when the film reaches its pinnacle climax, he kills over 60 people once the fighting and shooting finally stops. If that's not enough to convince you of how unbelievably awesome Schwarzenegger is in this film, I don't know of any other way to convince you.

Acting wise in the supporting cast, they range from being decent to just plain bad. Dan Hedaya is average at best as Arius, but that's also because he's in probably five scenes at the very mos throughout the film. However, his character is mostly used as a device for Arnold to fight Vernon Wells at the end too, so technically I can't blame him too much for that. Arius' henchmen on the other hand are portrayed by Vernon Wells, Bill Duke, David Patrick Kelly, and Charles Meschack. Out of the four of them, only Wells and Duke manage to really entertain at a certain degree. Wells has a menacing presence on screen, and its serviceable enough for the film's worth, while Duke on the other hand is great in his fight against Arnie's character.

Rae Dawn Chong as Matrix's damsel in distress named Cindy though, is just awful. Though she does improve towards the end of the film, her buildup carrying off from her character's entrance up until that aforementioned point had me cringing from how bad her acting was. However this is also based off the very lazy writing at times too, but the combination of the two makes for instances where you just want to either facepalm or cover your ears from how annoying and repetitive it gets.

With all of the problems and 80s movie cliches this film has, the action sequences are what truly make this film worth watching multiple times. Ranging from a fight in the middle of a busy mall to the ridiculously awesome climax for the film's final twenty minutes, the filmmakers show superb self-awareness of acknowledging how ridiculous the sequences are. Seeing Schwarzenegger swing down through a mall like Tarzan, in addition to giving new meaning to the term "dropped call" are awesome enough, but him taking on an entire army at the end is as entertaining as it can get. Sure at times there are technical goofs galore in the midst of the action, but that only adds on to the 80s movie vibe you already get from the film.

Overall, "Commando" is one of the most awesomely bad action movies ever made, and also clearly defines the phrase of "don't ask how or why, just enjoy." Thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger's badass, intentionally over-the-top performance as Matrix, in addition to the ridiculously entertaining action sequences, this is a huge treat for both the die-hard action fans and those who are fond of cheesy 80s entertainment.

Final Grade: B

P.S.: Be sure to click the following link below to vote in the next viewer-voted review poll


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