6.7/10
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473 user 141 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
1,732 ( 496)
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:

If there's a mission that no man could survive...then *he's* the man for the job. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Steven E. de Souza, Arnold Schwarzenegger told him, "I like this picture. I'm not a caveman. Before the shooting and killing, I'm a normal person." See more »

Goofs

When Cindy and Matrix are following Sully, there is a shot from inside Sully's Porsche and there is a big green what looks to be a lorry following 2 cars behind. The camera cuts and it is no longer there. See more »

Quotes

Lawson: I was afraid you'd miss me.
Cooke: Dont worry, we won't.
[Cooke and his partner execute Lawson]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2007, a Director's Cut version of the film was released containing 1 minute 41 seconds of new footage:
  • In the theatrical release, when Arius (Dan Hedaya) tells Jenny (Alyssa Milano) that Matrix is cooperating and asks her if it would be nice to see him again, she responds "Not nearly as nice as watching him smash your face in." In the Director's Cut, she says, "Not nearly as nice as watching him kick your ass."
  • During the scene where Matrix and Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong) follow Sully (David Patrick Kelly) from the airport to the shopping mall, there is an extra scene where she asks him his name and what he does for a living.
  • After Matrix has killed Sully, there is a short scene of Arius, Bennett and Jenny arriving in Val Verde, followed by a scene of Matrix explaining to Cindy what's going on. In the Director's Cut, this scene runs longer, with Cindy asking Matrix about Jenny's mother, who Matrix says died in childbirth. He then laments how he has missed all the important moments of her life due to his work around the world. Cindy asks him why he had to do so much traveling, and what he did, to which he replies, "Things you don't want to know about. Things that sometimes I wish I didn't know about. But that part of my life is over with, all that matters to me now is Jenny."
  • The tool-shed scene is longer, and contains several very brief new shots of soldiers being killed in various ways. Included amongst the new material is a brief close up of a rake piercing a soldier's belly, a shot of a saw-blade slicing a soldier's neck, a shot of the soldier who is hit in the groin with the axe grimacing in pain, and a shot of the soldier touching the stump of his arm after Matrix has cut it off.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Great MoVie Mistakes (2013) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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