Over the years, one of the most common topics of conversation regarding this film relates to Bennett's sexuality; is he homosexual, and more specifically, is he in love with Matrix. Although the official answer to this question is no (on his DVD commentary, director Mark L. Lester states "I don't know what people are saying when they say that to me. He seems to me like the most macho soldier or person you could think of"), the question remains active, and the theory that Bennett is secretly in love with Matrix continues to be popular amongst fans. For example, in the British film magazine Hot Dog, an article by Andy McDermott, entitled "What About Vernon Wells as Bennett in Commando?" discussed his sexuality, with tongue firmly in cheek. In this article, McDermott writes
Bennett is a walking, talking, stereotypical embodiment of the macho, puritanical Reagan era's utter terror of homosexuality, gripped with the fear that the slightest chink in the masculine armor will instantly result in a trip to the YMCA and a purchase of a pair of chaps and a tube of KY jelly.
McDermott argues, as do many fans, that Bennett's clothes are a give away to his hidden homosexuality, describing them as "Freddie Mercury casual. Leather trousers, a chunky string vest with a belt worn over it, what looks like a bike chain around his neck - all that's missing is a studded armband.
" Taking this into account, McDermott points out that Matrix is the polar opposite of this; the man's man who is clearly a raging heterosexual, and damn proud of it;
Arnie's John Matrix, on the other hand, is presented as the ultimate man, so much so that it deserves capitalization. He's a MAN, man. He owns more guns than Ted Nugent and Hunter S. Thompson combined. His earlobes have muscles. He exudes so much testosterone that bullets bounce off the miasmic cloud of MAN-spume.
McDermott go on to argue that whilst Bennett always calls Matrix by his first name, suggesting affection and familiarity, Matrix always calls Bennett by his surname, suggesting distance. This leads him to hypothesize that perhaps Bennett was kicked out of the unit by Matrix, because Matrix discovered that Bennett had become sexually attracted to him; "all he wanted was a little love, and instead he got fired. No wonder he's mad
." McDermott also attaches great metaphorical significance to Matrix' line at the end of the film, "Put the knife in me. Look me in the eye and see what's going on in there when you turn it. Don't deprive yourself of some pleasure. C'mon Bennett. Let's party
." The image of one man putting something in another man and then turning it, McDermott argues, has obvious homosexual connotations. He also points out the significance of the fact that Matrix' knife is bigger than Bennett's, thus causing "knife envy" in Bennett, prompting him to attack his "love/hate object". McDermott also comments on the irony inherent in the fact that although Bennett seemed to be in love with Matrix (and presumably wanted to have sex with him), it is Matrix who penetrates Bennett at the end of the film, albeit with a steel pole in the chest. Which probably wasn't what Bennett had in mind.
The question of Bennett's possible homosexuality is also addressed in the 2007 DVD featurette "Commando: Let Off Some Steam
". Screenwriter Steven E. de Souza mentions the much discussed wardrobe issue, pointing out that "the wardrobe on Vernon Wells has led to a lot of conjecture that Vernon had a crush on Arnold's character
." Rae Dawn Chong goes into more detail about the homosexual undercurrent in the film, arguing that the film is basically a love story gone awry;
They're like lovers. The outfit they had on him, I mean, hello, he looks like one of the Village People. Arnold is the ideal, and you know, if you can't be it and can't love it, you want to kill it. That really confusing sexuality comes through and it manifests in violence.
Vernon Wells sums up the whole argument succinctly, pointing out that Bennett is"Freddie Mercury on steroids