is a 1985 American action film
starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
. The film's use
of humor in an action film context became a distinctive element in
Schwarzenegger's later roles and since its release, the film has
gained a cult following.
Widower John Matrix is a retired special operations operator Colonel
who once led an elite unit. He left the service to live in a
secluded mountain home with his daughter Jenny. Unbeknownst to
Matrix, the members of his former unit are being killed one by one,
first Lawson then Forrestal and finally Bennett. Even though
Matrix's friend Major General
Kirby gives Matrix two armed guards, attackers kill them and manage
to kidnap Matrix and Jenny. Matrix learns that Cpt.
Bennett, a former disgraced member of
his unit, is still alive. Bennett has kidnapped
his daughter to try to force Matrix to
commit a political
for a man called Arius (who calls himself "El
Presidente") and his gang of other former U.S. soldiers. Arius is a
who was overthrown by Matrix. He now wishes to lead a military coup
in his home country, Val
. Since Arius will have Jenny killed if Matrix refuses,
Matrix reluctantly accepts the demand.
After Matrix is taken aboard an airplane heading to the foreign
country, he kills Henriques who's guarding him and jumps into a
just as the plane is taking off from the
runway. Matrix then sets his stopwatch
the approximate time of the flight. Subsequently, he commandeers
the car of Cindy, an off-duty flight
, and eventually manages to enlist her help by
explaining the disaster that has befallen him and Jenny. The two
follow Sully, the henchman designated to watch the plane leave, and
Matrix kills him by dropping him off the side of a mountain. Then
they drive to the motel where Sully was staying. When Cooke, a
, arrives at Sully's motel room, he is killed by being
impaled by a broken table leg during a hand-to-hand fight with
After Matrix learns where Arius' mansion is located (the location
where Jenny is presumably being held), he breaks into a surplus
store and steals a veritable one-man arsenal of both small arms and
heavy weapons. Matrix is interrupted by the police, who have shown
up to investigate the disturbance, and is arrested. Cindy frees him
by overturning the police van with a rocket launcher.
After commandeering a seaplane from a nearby marina run by Arius,
Matrix and Cindy land the plane off the coast of the island where
Arius is located. Matrix instructs Cindy to contact General Kirby
and then proceeds to Arius' villa, fighting and killing Arius'
private army on the way. He subsequently confronts and kills Arius
in a gunfight.
Matrix finds Jenny in the basement, but he is shot in the arm by
Bennett. Matrix then taunts Bennett into facing him in a knife
fight, an invitation Bennett cannot resist. After a fierce
struggle, Matrix gains the upper hand and Bennett, defeated,
reaches for a machine pistol, but is impaled with a steel pipe by
Matrix before he can fire. After Kirby arrives with a military
detachment, he offers Matrix another term of service in the Force.
Being tired of fighting, however, Matrix declines, and he, Cindy,
and Jenny fly off into the sunset.
Filming Locations for Commando
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as
John Matrix: the film's main protagonist. A former United States
Army Colonel, he is forced back into action when his daughter is
- Rae Dawn Chong as Cindy: Matrix's
unwilling companion but later trusted ally.
- Dan Hedaya as Arius: The former
Dictator of Val Verde until being overthrown by a new President, he
blackmails Matrix into aiding him in his revenge.
- Vernon Wells as Wes
Bennett: the film's villain. Former Captain in Matrix's special
forces team, described as having "loved killing a little
too much", which led to Matrix dismissing him. Now allied
with Arius, he seeks revenge. In the film's toy-line, he is
reincarnated as Psycho.
- James Olson as General Franklin Kirby: Matrix's former superior,
who warns him of the new threat and unintentionally leads Arius's
men to Matrix's location. Kirby is strongly influenced by Colonel Sam Trautman from the Rambo films even to the extent of
virtually repeating Trautman's lines from First Blood.
- David Patrick Kelly as
Sullivan "Sully": a former (and presumably disgraced) Army soldier
now working for Arius. He is the third member of Arius's gang to be
killed by Matrix.
- Alyssa Milano as Jenny: Matrix's
daughter, kidnapped by Arius and his men in order to blackmail
- Bill Duke as Cooke: Arius's brutal
hitman and a former (and presumably disgraced) Green Beret. He is
the fourth member of Arius's gang to fall.
- Michael Delano as Forrestal,
another late former member of Matrix's team.
- Drew Snyder as Lawson, a late former
member of Matrix's team.
- Charles Meshack as Henriques: a
former (and presumably disgraced) Army soldier and war buddy of
Sully. He is silently killed by Matrix on the plane to Val Verde by
snapping his neck, then Matrix ask's the stewardess not to disturb
his 'friend' as "he is dead tired".
- Gary Cervantes as Diaz: the first
of Arius's henchmen, who's also presumably a former Army soldier,
to be killed by Matrix during the kidnapping of Jenny.
- Bennett to Matrix "Ever since you had me thrown out of your
unit I've waited to pay you back. You know what today is Matrix?
- Matrix to Cooke "I eat Green B,erets for breakfast, and right
now, I'm very hungry."
Production and Reception
Screenwriter Jeph Loeb
states that the
film was originally conceived as a vehicle for Gene Simmons
(who passed on it), and later
scripted with Nick Nolte
in mind to play
the lead as an out-of-condition former Commando struggling with the
demands of his mission. Walter
was originally involved in the development process.
The original concept was for an Israeli special forces/Mossad
agent, who's sick of the continous death and destruction in the
Middle East. So he quits Israel and emigrates to the United States,
here he is forced out of his self imposed retirement after the
kidnapping of his daughter. This was modified and further adapted
when Schwarzenegger was cast, some of the original dialogue can be
viewed in the deleted scenes when Matrix says he regrets his past
actions. The film was released to a mostly-positive response,
garnering a 73% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
was written by De Souza and Frank Darabont
, based on the book
Nothing Lasts Forever
(1979) by Roderick Thorp
itself, a sequel to his 1966 book The
, made into a film in 1966 featuring Frank Sinatra
), but Schwarzenegger was not interested in making a
sequel as his previous sequel (Conan
) had bombed at the box office. The script was
reworked with a new central character, eventually played by
, and was retitled
. Although Commando
refuses to die, an internet campaign and the release on the
net of the script followed by Schwarzenegger's expected return to
motion pictures seems to have breathed new life into a once
Home Video releases
DVD of Commando was released in
region 1 in the U.S. on May 25, 1999.
Common with early DVD releases, the disc
featured a non-anamorphic
, a basic 2.0 surround track, and
only the US theatrical trailer
extra. DVDs released in other regions soon followed,
some with anamorphic transfers, but the 2001 UK region 2 DVD was censored by the BBFC (approximately 12 seconds of cuts) due to
These cuts were brought over from the 1985
original theatrical release. However, a German master was
used for the UK DVD, meaning the film was cut even more than it
should have been, leading to 56 seconds of cuts instead of the
BBFC's 12 seconds.
If the film had been resubmitted to the
BBFC, it would be passed uncut under the BBFC's new, more liberal
rules. This has proven to be the case as the BBFC's website
indicates that both versions of the film (the U.S. theatrical cut
and the unrated edition) for the DVD were passed on June 11
. With the unrated
edition released, the film is in its entirety, a first for the
On June 5
Century Fox officially announced that a completely unedited and
unrated director's cut
of the film
would be released on region 1 DVD on September 18
, this disc not
only features an unrated cut (which was claimed to run at 95
minutes, but is only 91 minutes, with 92 seconds of extra footage),
but as a bonus, also contains the original 90 minute, R-rated US
theatrical cut. Aside from this, the DVD is a special edition,
featuring an audio commentary
director Mark L. Lester
(only on the theatrical cut),
additional deleted scenes
, a Pure
, a Let Off
featurette, and four photo galleries with over 150
photos. The transfer is anamorphically enhanced and features a
5.1 audio mix
In April 2008 the 90-minute theatrical version of the film was
released to consumers on the high definition Blu-ray disc format.
The disc boasts a much more improved audio/visual presentation, and
features an uncompressed DTS-HD-MA studio quality soundtrack along
with a 1080p resolution picture and encoded using the MPEG-2 codec
at 6-8 times the bit rate of DVD.
released a line
of action figures
in 1986 in an
attempt to cash in on the success of G.I. Joe: A Real American
. Matrix now leads an elite special forces unit (which
replaced his old deceased unit from the original film) called
C-Team, made up of Spex, Blaster, and Chopper, against the forces
of F.E.A.R., led by Psycho (who is based on the character of
Bennett) and consisting of Lead-Head, Stalker, and Sawbones. There
was an assortment of 4" figures, containing all of the above, a
series of 8" figures, consisting of Matrix, Spex, Blaster, Psycho,
Lead-Head, and Stalker. Oddly, Chopper and Sawbones are absent.
Finally, there was an 18" John Matrix that came with a pistol
, an M16
, and a
. The toy line was criticized (as
were competing lines for RoboCop
) for making
toys marketed to children out of Rated-R movies that few of them
should have seen.
- While Matrix battles his way through the courtyard near the end
of the movie, he lobs several grenades at Arius's men. One grenade
explodes on the grass in the courtyard, throwing two men through
the air. The springboard that is used to launch one of the men into
the air is clearly visible, albeit painted colored like the grass
- As Matrix fires the machine gun the ammunition belt runs low
several times, then a moment later it appears as a fresh belt.
- When Matrix is loading up gear on the raft boat. He has on
black speedo's, when he reaches shore he has on a tan color speedo,
then back to black when on shore.
- When he pushes the yellow Porsche onto its wheels, the side is
dented, when he drives it away, it is not dented, when he shows up
at the motel, it is dented again
- When he hangs sully over the cliff just before the above scene,
a rope is clearly visable around his foot.
A soundtrack album was released by Varèse Sarabande
on December 2
as part of
the Varèse Sarabande CD Club, and was limited to 3000 copies. The
score, composed by James Horner
notable for its prominent use of steel
- "Prologue/Main Title" – 3:58
- "Ambush and Kidnapping" – 2:35
- "Captured" – 2:14
- "Surprise" – 8:19
- "Sully Runs" – 4:34
- "Moving Jenny" – 3:44
- "Matrix Breaks In" – 3:30
- "Infiltration, Showdown and Finale" – 14:32