Commando (1985)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicles developed gimmicky aspirations, they were mostly body-count movies like Commando. Considering its role in establishing the actor's stone-faced persona and penchant for delivering bad-ass one-liners, however, Commando is surprisingly forgettable. It's the kind of clumsy action movie in which even a hero of Schwarzenegger's hulking size can maneuver with a silent fleetness that always gives him the drop on a wave of faceless henchmen, often without regard for gravity or other scientific logic. It gets a lot of laughs, but more of them come from watching the stunt men execute perfect flips while being blown up by grenades than from Schwarzenegger's admittedly delicious puns. Commando does get an energetic villain performance from Vernon Wells, whose bug-eyed scuzziness was so familiar after this and The Road Warrior that he went on to parody his own image in Weird Science. The plot is inessential, and the set pieces work well enough to have earned a respectable box-office haul and continued Schwarzenegger's elevation toward icon status following The Terminator. Since it has no intention of being clever, Commando actually works better than some of his high-concept misfires, serving up the kind of mindless action that makes any attempts at delving criticism seem overly particular.