It feels like I’m writing a fair bit of reviews on films and television series… And that’s because I am! No big secret, I’m a fan of a god flic, especially something that was aired in the good ol’ 1980’s. There’s just something about that decade that’s near and dear to my heart; likely the fact that my formative years took place during that decade. But there’s something about watching a solid action film that doesn’t stress out too much about the script or even the plot points and focuses on plenty of action and explosions. 1985’s Commando, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is no exception.
Commando tells the story of a retired Special Forces commander named John Matrix who lives a secluded, quiet life with his young daughter, who just happens to be played by Alyssa Milano. I was a HUGE “Who’s the Boss” fan, so Milano is just the icing on the cake. Their lives are disturbed when members of Matrix’s team are systemically killed and the military assumes Matrix is next, and warns him. Matrix’s daughter is kidnapped and Matrix is blackmailed into performing a heinous act to get her back. Of course, instead of complying, Matrix becomes a one-man army of vengeance as he works to getting his daughter back.
I’d like to say the movie still totally holds up to modern times. The truth is that I likely only think so because I was a child of the 80’s. Most people nowadays likely wouldn’t get the references and comedy behind all the violence. Basically, Matrix makes his way back and enlists the help of an unwitting flight attendant who not only helps him gear up and get equipped to rescue his daughter but ends up being a key point to the story. It should be noted that the girl’s mother is never mentioned or referenced during the movie.
The movie reaches its climax when Matrix flies to a remote, private island where he absolutely decimates an army of opposing soldiers who are guarding the antagonist holding Matrix’s daughter hostage. Although I’m sure there are plenty of forums and discussion threads that would identify the impossibilities or inconsistencies of what takes place in this movie, sometimes it’s important to just sit back and enjoy the ride. This movies does just that, providing a gratuitous amount of action scenes while managing not to take itself too seriously.
As one would expect from a classic 80’s action movie, matrix rescues his daughter, annihilates everyone in sight and manages to kill the bad and save the day. The movie ends on a pretty cheesy note, with matrix marching down to the beachfront where U.S. Army forces storm the beach and somehow immediately recognize Matrix as a friendly, despite the fact that majority of them likely never served with him. He’s permitted to simply walk away and fly off with his daughter and newfound “associate,” without any debrief or information on what went down during his time on the island.
Honestly, it’s a pretty fun thrill ride, if you can get past the dated format of the movie and its plot points. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, worthy of being included among classics like Conan the Barbarian, Predator and Red Sonja (yeah, I said it! Fight me!) I know not many people were pleased with Brigitte Nielsen’s portrayal of the famous, red-haired comic book heroine, but I think it totally stands up. If you’re looking for something action-packed, fun and easy to watch on a Saturday night, Commando is currently streaming on Disney+ and I highly recommend it. ☯️