6.7/10
143,815
498 user 150 critic

Commando (1985)

A retired Special Forces colonel tries to save his daughter, who was abducted by his former subordinate.

Director:

Mark L. Lester

Writers:

Jeph Loeb (story) (as Joseph Loeb III), Matthew Weisman (story) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,987 ( 96)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arnold Schwarzenegger ... John Matrix
Rae Dawn Chong ... Cindy
Dan Hedaya ... Arius
Vernon Wells ... Bennett
James Olson ... Major General Franklin Kirby
David Patrick Kelly ... Sully
Alyssa Milano ... Jenny Matrix
Bill Duke ... Cooke
Drew Snyder ... Lawson
Sharon Wyatt Sharon Wyatt ... Leslie
Michael DeLano ... Forrestal
Bob Minor ... Jackson
Michael Adams ... Harris (as Mike Adams)
Gary Carlos Cervantes ... Diaz (as Carlos Cervantes)
Lenny Juliano Lenny Juliano ... Soldier
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Storyline

A retired special agent named John Matrix led an elite unit and has left the armed forces to live in a secluded mountain home with his daughter Jenny. But now he is forced out of retirement when his daughter is kidnapped by a band of thugs intent on revenge! Unbeknownst to Matrix, the members of his former unit are being killed one by one. Even though Matrix' friend General Franklin Kirby gives Matrix armed guards, attackers manage to kidnap Matrix and Jenny. Matrix learns that Bennett, a former member of his Matrix' unit who was presumed dead has kidnapped him to try to force Matrix to do a political assassination for a man called Arius (who calls himself El Presidente), a warlord formerly bested by Matrix who wishes to lead a military coup in his home country. Since Arius will have Jenny killed if Matrix refuses, Matrix reluctantly accepts the demand. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The mansion used in the final shootout between Matrix and Arius (the former Harold Lloyd estate in Beverly Hills) is the same mansion see in the final shootout between Axel Foley and Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop (1984). Coincidentally, both Matrix and Foley were trying to rescue somebody named Jenny in that mansion in their respective films. See more »

Goofs

Immediately following the kidnapping of his daughter, Matrix is confronted by the thug who tells him he must cooperate if he wishes his daughter to be returned. Matrix is holding a G3 assault rifle, but when he shoots the thug it is clearly a pump action shotgun in his hand. In the next shot Matrix is holding the G3 again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lawson: What's that?
Leslie: It sounds like the garbageman.
Lawson: Oh? On Tuesday?
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Alternate Versions

On several US TV versions of the film, the garden shed shootout scene only shows one soldier shooting the shed instead of the large group of soldiers as in original version. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Know's Top 10s: Top 10 Movie Based Games (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

WE FIGHT FOR LOVE
Music by Andy Taylor
Lyrics by Michael Des Barres
Performed by Power Station
Produced by Bernard Edwards and Andy Taylor
Courtesy of Capitol-EMI Records
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User Reviews

A classic guy flick with non-stop action and hilarious one-liners.
20 July 2003 | by Li-1See all my reviews

Rating: *** 1/2 out of ****

Every time I'm accused by friends of being too tough or too picky on action movies made for pure entertainment (i.e. the works of Jerry Bruckheimer), I point back and tell them to look no further than Mark L. Lester's Commando as the prime example of a pure macho classic and the standard by which all mindless action cinema should be judged.

In its own simplistic ways, Commando is actually the epitome of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whenever we think of the Austrian muscle-bound star's films; gun battles, fist fights, deadpan one-liners, a total lack of plot, and a ridiculously high body count come to mind. Commando represents all this, directed with high energy flair and a great sense of fun.

Schwarzenegger stars as John Matrix, a former commando who lives in the mountains with his young daughter (Alyssa Milano). Matrix's former teammates are being knocked off one-by-one at the orders of a Latino dictator (Dan Hedaya) who wants Matrix to assassinate a popular South American leader so that he can be instilled back in power. As incentive, Matrix's daughter is kidnapped by renegade military, led by Bennett (Vernon Wells), who was once part of Matrix's team. As soon as Matrix boards his flight, he kills his escort, leaps off the plane, and begins his eleven-hour search for his daughter. Inexplicably joining his search is a flight attendant (Rae Dawn Chong) who gets mixed up in this whole mess.

Commando is one of those critically berated movies that only concerns itself with giving its target audience a good time. Running at a lightning fast ninety minutes, the film is packed to the gunnels with explosive action sequences and quotable one-liners. In fact, the lines are so fun, I have a hard time choosing my favorites. Here are a few examples: "I eat green berets for breakfast and I'm very hungry,""Remember when I said I'd kill you last? I lied," and "Let off some steam, Bennett!"

The script is mindless and idiotic, but serves its purpose by providing just enough plot and enormously entertaining one-liners to keep the momentum from ebbing. There are also plenty of noticeable continuity errors (ask yourself how a guy standing behind a railing atop a balcony could be hit with shotgun pellets without the railing taking the slightest bit of damage!), but that just adds to the movie's list of unique charms.

But you don't watch Commando for plot or technical brilliance, you watch it to see Arnold acting as a one-man army, mowing down scores of enemy thugs and soldiers. Whether it's through the movie's various shootouts, fistfights, or chases, the movie delivers thrilling action one scene after another. The climactic battle sequence, in which he single-handedly takes on at least a hundred men, will either make or break the film for you. Me, I had a blast watching Arnold inflict his brand of justice upon these nasty villains. Unless you don't like Arnold or over-the-top action films, it's unlikely you'll find Commando boring.

Schwarzenegger's charismatic and hugely likable screen presence is undeniable, and his delivery of those classic one-liners is perfect. Luckily, the movie has an equally strong villain in Vernon Wells, who delights in chewing the scenery and generally acting as insane as possible in any given situation. From his manic facial expressions to his questionable tastes in clothing, Wells makes Bennett one of the few villains that really stand out in an Arnold flick. You know the movie's going to boil down to a one-on-one fight between the two, and it's one of those fight scenes where each one takes his turn beating the crud out of the other without one ever truly having the upper hand until the very end (when, obviously, one of them's got to be dead).

For pure mindless mayhem, Commando is a perfect choice for Saturday night entertainment. I first saw the film on its network broadcast premiere, and distinctly remember that in the scene where Arnold hides in the garden house (which is the film's goriest part), the movie is edited in such a way that it appears only one man approaches the house instead of six!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Commando See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,700,015, 6 October 1985

Gross USA:

$35,100,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$57,491,000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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