Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Commando" (1985)

"Commando" (1985)
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alyssa Milano and Rae Dawn Chong
Written by Jeph Loeb and Matthew Weisman
Directed by Mark Lester

There are probably few movies as incredibly dated as 1985's "Commando", an Arnold Schwarzenegger flick that tastes like a block of cheese from first bite to last.  Schwarzenegger stars as John Matrix, a retired special forces soldier who just wants to live a quiet life and raise his daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano).  Of course, this can't be allowed to happen since then there'd be no movie.  Jenny is promptly kidnapped, and Matrix is given an ultimatum: Work for a former enemy to take out the newly installed leader of a fictitious South American country, or the girl dies.

This, of course, is completely unacceptable to any character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  What follows is a rampage nearly unrivaled in Schwarzenegger's filmography.  Brutally, quickly, and with unparalleled ease, Matrix kills anyone and everyone who gets in his way.   Gunfights, car chases, explosions, and cheesy-ass one-liners... "Commando" has it all.

Now, as I said, "Commando" is about as dated as it gets.  It's synth score, tinny sound effects, clothing and hair styles, everything about this movie positively screams 1985.  There's literally no way around it.  In "Commando", whenever something happens, people immediately rush to the nearest payphone.  Beyond all the details of the time, the simple truth is that they just don't make movies like this anymore.  The days of the superhuman, muscle-bound action hero are gone.  Sure, we have superhero movies up the wazoo, but it's just not  the same.  No, nowadays we often expect our action heroes to be the John McClane every-man.  Schwarzenegger's heyday has passed.

But watching "Commando" brings it all back.  By the time the ludicrously overblown finale comes along, and Schwarzenegger marches through the enemy stronghold killing dozens of men, it's hard not to be grinning from ear to ear.  The blood is brightly colored, the one-liners are terrible (and that just makes them even more hilarious) and ... well... You won't be disappointed.  "Commando" is the definition of a guilty pleasure, one that I stop and watch each and every time it's on TV.