The plot is dumb. Basically Ahnuld’s daughter is kidnapped and he wipes out an entire country of brown people to get her back. And I don’t mean brown people in a racist way. Commando actually takes place in the fictional country of Valverde, so even the script doesn’t know what the f*ck they are.
And what a script! Written by 80’s action god Steven E. de Souza (he wrote Die Hard which makes him better than you), Commando doesn’t offer much in the way of extravagant plotting but does give us ample bodies to be bagged and a badass main character to bag ’em: John Matrix. You know Matrix is a wrecker of sh*t when he’s introduced to us carrying a tree. Not a log. A tree.
But what really makes Commando so damn watchable is the collection of inept bad guys. We’re supposed to believe these guys are a crack team of mercenaries and all of them look like they just walked off the set of Xanadu. Apparently, all it takes to be a mercenary in the world of Commando is the ability to pirouette when shot. Arnold kills over eighty bad guys and forty of them spin. And the ones that aren’t shot die in the most over the top kills since Kane Hodder strapped on a hockey mask.
Their fashion sense is also terrible. Even for the 80’s.
Sully (David Patrick Kelly)
If you couldn’t tell from the picture, Sully is kind of a douche. The guy’s roughly four feet of sleaze and horrible pickup lines: “You know, I’ve got something I’d like to give you”. By something he means penis, and by give you, he means intercourse.
Why He Sucks: because Sully is supposed to be a trained mercenary and he can’t even shoot his way out of a phone booth. Because he tries and fails to hook up with Rae Dawn Chong and who hasn’t slept with her? Because he drives a Porsche.
Lame Wardrobe: the suit is so 80’s it needs to be shoved back into the rectum of Phillip Michael Thomas from whence it came.
Dumb Dialogue: “This place used to be great for hunting slash.”
Cooke (Bill Duke)
Notable for being the only mercenary in Commando that poses a credible threat, until you realize that he’s a complete moron.
Why He Sucks: because Cooke’s idea of careful planning and assassination is to steal a garbage truck, drive it outside the target’s house, and somehow convince the target to run outside with his garbage to get riddled with bullets. What if the target didn’t realize it was garbage day? What if he didn’t hear the truck? What if he wasn’t home? Cooke is so stupid he leaves the dead bastard in the middle of the street when he could’ve disposed of the body in the garbage truck. Sh*t for brains.
Lame Wardrobe: actually, Cooke’s wardrobe isn’t too bad. He wears stupid well.
Dumb Dialogue: right before he steals a car: “You know what I like best about this car? The price.”
Bennett (Vernon Wells)
You may recognize him as that mohawk guy from Road Warrior that wears assless chaps. Actually, that doesn’t narrow it down any. Usually when actors are cast in action movies they get in shape. Not Vernon Wells. Dude spills out of his costume like a fat Freddy Mercury. According to imdb, Vernon was the second choice for Bennett — the costume was originally tailored for a skinnier actor that dropped out. Personally, Wells owns the role and Commando wouldn’t be half as good without his presence. Even if he is fat.
Why he sucks: because the dude has Schwarzenegger dead in his sights with a freaking Uzi and instead of shooting him in the face, he drops the gun in favor of a knife. Dumbass.
Lame Wardrobe: the chain mail tank top. Really, chain mail? What the f*ck purpose does it serve? It can’t stop bullets. It can’t even hide Bennett’s fat. And where the hell did he get that thing? Have you ever seen chain mail for sale? In the form of a tank top? Ridiculous.
Dumb Dialogue: “John, I’m not going to shoot you between the eyes. I’m going to shoot you between the balls!”
Method of Demise: a steam pipe through the sternum followed by Arnold’s classic, “Let off some steam, Bennett.”
It may not be high art, but Commando is without a doubt the most fun action movie of the 80’s. A sequel was written but never made it to production. Rumor has it that a lot of the ideas for the Commando sequel were rolled into what eventually became Die Hard. David Ayer was attached to a Commando remake a few years ago, but there’s been no forward movement on the project. Oh well, at least we’ll always have Valverde.