Movies are like alcohol. There are times to savor the sophistication of a fine wine, while other times, equal pleasure can be attained through the uncomplicated simplicity of a frosty, cold American beer. Commando is a goofy, action movie. Not the best or worst of its genre, but certainly a fun time, especially when sitting around a room with a bunch of friends drinking, although I can’t recommend the volume suggested by CommadoFans.com.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as retired Colonel John Matrix, who now spends his days, secluded in the mountains while looking after his young daughter Jenny, played by a pre-teen Alyssa Milano. Of course, like most movies of this genre, Matrix gets pulled back into service against his will. The man responsible is El Presidente Arius, the deposed dictator of Val Verde, a fictional country south of the border, who wants Matrix to assassinate the new president, which will allow Arius to return and take over the country. He has Jenny kidnapped to force Matrix to work for him.
To make sure he gets there, Matrix is escorted on his plane ride to Val Verde by a thug wearing a hat that surely made it difficult for the costume designer to find work again. Before taking off, Matrix breaks the man’s neck and covers him with a blanket and in that inimitable Schwarzenegger style tells the stewardess, “Don't disturb my friend. He's dead tired.” Matrix sneaks off the plane during takeoff, which means he has 11 hours until the plane lands and Arius finds out he’s not on it.
Before leaving the airport, Matrix enlists/shanghais Cindy, a stewardess with a car. Together, they work their way up, my euphemism for “kill,” the chain of bad guys to find where Jenny is being held, which leads to a guns-a-blazing shoot out before the final “mano a mano” fight. The best part of the movie is the “Garden Shack” sequence where Matrix uses all the tools at his disposal to fend off the Val Verde rebels/Caucasian extras who wear terrible-looking, fake black moustaches. The film’s body count is 81.
What’s interesting about Commando is the change in Schwarzenegger as an actor. Previously the Conan films and The Terminator didn’t require much from him other than being a bad ass. Here, he gets to stretch as a family man, and reveals his sense of humor, which became his trademark, a deadpan and monotone delivery of groan-inducing one-liners.