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Commando
1985 - R - 82 Mins.
Director: Mark L. Lester
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells, Alyssa Milano
Review by: John Ulmer
   
It's no secret nor wonder that "Commando" is a cult hit for certain people (particularly teenage boys). This is one of those poor, poor movies that almost makes "Rambo's" fight scenes look like a child's program. The plot is ridiculous, the supporting cast is appalling, there are continuity errors about every five seconds, not to mention the pi$$-poor direction on Mark L. Lester's account.

It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Col. John Matrix (where's Keanu Reeves?), an ex-commando who has retired from the Army to live a peaceful life with his annoying pest of a daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano, pre-babedom). Scene to look for during the introductory sequence: Arnold petting a wild deer with his daughter. No, don't laugh, it gets better, trust me.

John's old commando team members start getting killed off by a bunch of assassins, including Bill Duke (who later went on to star in "Predator" [1987] with Arnie, too). John is warned of this too late - Mr. Duke invades Arnie's home and steals his daughter.

Why, you ask? To give Arnold a reason to blow stuff up and kill an uncountable number of human beings, that's why. Oh, you mean the "plot" of the movie? A Cuban dictator (Dan Hedaya, with a truly horrible foreign accent) wants to overthrow the "Presidante" of Cuban so he can become the next prez. So he tells John Matrix to do it - or he'll kill Johnnie's daughter. The horror, the horror.

Arnold kills many people and escapes from a flying jet plane while its pulling up into the sky (don't ask). He manages to land in a pond but reappear without any water on his clothes at all. He then seeks revenge on all of the people who threatened him and his daughter. Good line: "Remember, Sully, when I told you I'd kill you last? I lied."

The film was directed by Mark L. Lester, the man behind the misfired comedy-action flick "Armed and Dangerous" with John Candy and Eugene Levy. The early signs of an untalented director shine through here - the film almost mutates into a self-mockery of itself. I come back to the scene where Arnold is petting a deer with his daughter and cheesy music plays in the background. They can't be serious!

The script is an utter mess of recycled action film plots, cliches, and dialogue. Arnie gets teamed up with a black chick (Rae Dawn Chong); luckily they do not get in a romance. I suppose the script had so many stereotypes in it they figured it wouldn't hurt to skip over a few.

"Commando" is such an appalling film it is one that people love to watch and make fun of. It was Arnold's first film since "The Terminator," and it was the start of his one-liners ("Hey Bennett, I'll be back!") so if you're a fan of Arnie this film deserves some credit. The first time I saw this movie I didn't get it - I thought it was stupid and boring. Now I think it's just stupid.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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