Matrix! Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in COMMANDO, directed by Mark L. Lester for 20th Century Fox.

Commando (1985, Mark L. Lester), the director’s cut

There are a couple good things about Commando–the opening titles and James Horner’s score. Otherwise, I suppose Schwarzenegger isn’t bad in the film, which takes his being Austrian into account, something the majority of his blockbuster roles do not.

What’s interesting about the film–and it’s hard to find anything to keep the brain occupied for the long ninety minutes–is the structure. It’s got three writers credited with the story but all it is, in the end, is a film noir mixed with some Rambo and Dirty Harry. Schwarzenegger’s character doesn’t experience the slightest complication from being, essentially, the Terminator and contrastingly it with Stallone’s take on a similar protagonist is a compelling idea.

It’s too bad it’d mean I’d have to sit through some of, if not all of, Commando again, so it’s out.

Half the movie, where Schwarzenegger’s after a limited number of memorable villains (David Patrick Kelly, Bill Duke), is passable. Then when he robs a gun store and Rae Dawn Chong (in one of her patented awful performances) breaks him out of police custody… it starts to implode. Before, it was at least an action movie in familiar settings, like a Lethal Weapon or Die Hard. Then it turns into a cartoon gunfight on a tropical island. The Green Berets for the eighties or something.

Lester’s a trite director.

Vernon Wells’s villain appears to be gay and closeted, which adds the film’s only layer.

I mean, Commando wastes Dan Hedaya. It’s a real stinker.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Mark L. Lester; screenplay by Steven E. de Souza, based on a story by Jeph Loeb, Matthew Weisman and de Souza; director of photography, Matthew F. Leonetti; edited by Glenn Farr, Mark Goldblatt and John F. Link; music by James Horner; production designer, John Vallone; produced by Joel Silver; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (John Matrix), Alyssa Milano (Jenny Matrix), Rae Dawn Chong (Cindy), Dan Hedaya (Arius), Vernon Wells (Bennett), James Olson (Major General Franklin Kirby), David Patrick Kelly (Sully) and Bill Duke (Cooke).

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