Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya
Director: Mark L. Lester
Running Time: 90 mins
Commando is an American film about a retired special forces soldier who sets about finding and killing every member of a South American criminal gang who kidnapped his daughter in order to blackmail him to start a revolution to bring an exiled dictator back into power.
It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger lifting things, shooting bazookas, and making quips. What more can you expect from a movie like Commando? It may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but as a fun, action-packed thriller, it does the job fantastically, with a great sense of humour, well-directed action sequences and an engaging story that left me with a huge grin on my face from start to finish.
Let’s start with the main man in all of this: Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Already embracing his stereotypical role established in The Terminator a year earlier, Schwarzenegger is so good as the ex-special forces operative who has to save his daughter from bad guys. It may seem like a simple role, but it requires distinct characteristics that few actors have: likeability, action capabilities and catchphrases. Lots and lots of catchphrases.
Now, the catchphrases are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how silly and cheesy Commando is, but at least it knows that it’s like that. Because it’s got a sense of tongue-in-cheek humour to it, Command is effortlessly enjoyable, and that comedy is sustained brilliantly throughout the film, never cheapening the action to a level where this would be considered as more of a comedy, but remaining entertaining enough to make it all an even more fun watch.
But don’t think this is an easy, throwaway movie. The comedy may make it a lot more light-hearted, but it’s still really violent, and definitely deserving of its R rating. The violence, however, makes the action a lot more exciting and meaningful, because seeing as there’s no really convincing emotional drama to the film, good action and striking violence stand out the most in the end.
All the action is very well-directed too. There’s not an over-abundance of explosions and special effects like you might think, and although there are scenes where all hell breaks loose and Schwarzenegger goes on a rampage, this is a well-held together action thriller, and thanks to that, combined with the brilliantly enjoyable and playful tone, you’ll enjoy Commando right the way through, and that’s why it gets a 7.8 from me.