80’s Movie Review: Commando

When Lee Andrew wrote a movie review on Robocop recently, he admitted the joy of eighties cinema is not in its technical or artistic merit as much as in its campy goodness. But sadly in choosing Robocop, a movie that with a great mix of satire, sci-fi, and ultra-violence that stands up even today, he picked a movie almost too good to fill that campy moniker. But if at first if you don’t succeed…

Being the responsible citizen I am I feel it is my duty to brave the dangerous rifts of time to find a movie more fitting of the campy fun that so permeates the age of teal shirts and Don Johnson. And there is no better source than the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger, the king of eighties action movies. From Hercules in New York to Kindergarten Cop Arnie’s had as many success stories as he has cheesy missteps. But for an 80’s movie, a movie bold enough to personify the rise of the Ultimate Action Hero, there is only one movie we can turn to. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Commando! You can witness this action marvel on 123 movies which is a free online movie streaming platform. So you can grab your popcorns and brace yourself for a blast.

Commando was released in 1985, the eighties were hitting its stride and we all were discovering the overwhelming awesomeness of the eights action flick: ultra-violence, little story, and one-lines that made your skin crawl as much as they made you stand up and cheer the good guy. Commando had it all.

Commando’s story centers on John Matrix (classic Arnie, muscles big as babies and all). You knew he was the hero; he had the coolest name…quite possibly ever. John was the leader of an elite group of, you guessed it! Commandos! You didn’t see that coming, did you? After years of kicking ass for Uncle Sam, John and company retire into obscurity. But something is amiss! After living the easy life, Matrix’s men are killed off one by one. The culprit is Arius, an evil dictator that Matrix removed from power in Latin America (don’t do drugs kids!)

Teaming with Bennett, a disgraced member of Matrix’s unit, Arius kidnaps John’s daughter and holds her ransom in return for the assassination of his country’s new President. Now really, do you think a man with the name John Matrix is going to bow down and do some punk’s dirt work? Of course not! Now Matrix only has hours to rescue his daughter and kill 10 million people in the process. That’s about as deep as this plot gets folks!

What goes on for the next 80 minutes of the film is simply one of the greatest unending lines of killings and campy one-liners that only Arnold could deliver. It begins on the plane to South America where Arnie kills his captor with lightning reflexes and replies to the stewardess “don’t wake up my friend, he’s dead tired.” It continues into the city where John confronts Sully, who Arnie promised to kill last mere hours earlier. He lied. The trail of bodies continues as Matrix tears a swatch of vengeance across the country till he finally ends up on Arus’s personal island and delivers the classic action movie beat down.

And what a beat down it is! Being a Commando, John Matrix is never without a weapon, even using his bare hands in more than one situation. Machine guns, rocket launchers, furniture, phone booths, everything within a ten-mile radius of Matrix is an implement of death that he will use to give you a very bad day. The ultimate example is obviously a showdown on Arius’s estate where Arnie personally delivers an entire army of drug dealing thugs a trip to the woodshed, literally. Never has to throw a buzz saw blade like a Frisbee been so beautiful. Matrix is almost like MacGyver, except instead of using his creativity to make stuff to save people; he just picks up the closest object and turns it into a weapon of mass destruction. He doesn’t need the knife, John. Now I know what you’re thinking, we’ve talked about the “plot” and we’ve spent a whole bunch of time talking about how John kills people. But really, what did you expect? A deep introspection on the symbolism of his actions? Nothing but psycho-babble! A critical analysis of the actor’s talents? Did you notice we were talking about Commando?

No people, there’s only one reason to watch this film, to bask in gratuitous violence and the undulating muscles of the man himself. The chick he picks up at the airport is kind of cute too. Ultimately, all I can suggest to you is go home, pick your ten-year-old daughter up on your shoulder and walk off into the sunset, because we’re done with this review. For now.