Things That Are Radical: Commando (1985 Film)

COMMANDO, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1985 TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved."" Courtesy: Everett Collection"

I don’t even know where to start with this one. Commando, starring the greatest film star of all time: Arnold Schwarzenegger, was made in 1985, after the release of the first Terminator movie as well as both Conan the Barbarian movies.

If I were to come up with an analogy for this movie, it would be something like The Pure Essence Of Manliness On Steroid Distilled Into A Super Concentrated Form And Shot Directly Into My Balls.

Fact: Watching Commando has been scientifically proven to increase muscle mass and testosterone levels in men. Females watching this movie have been known to get spontaneously pregnant.

Plot Synopsis

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays John Matrix (baddest name ever!), a retired Special Forces soldier living in the wilderness with his daughter (played by Alyssa Milano). He spends his time cutting wood and carrying tree trunks over his shoulder (presumably he built the cabin they live in), and feeding deer.

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Unbeknownst to him, a rogue member of his former team, Bennett, has been going around and assassinating his former team members. He tracks down Matrix and kidnaps his daughter, using her as blackmail in order to coerce Matrix to assassinate the President of Val Verde, so a deposed dictator can take his place. John of course complies and goes along with their plan because they have his daughter, right? WRONG!

He hops on the plane (accompanied by a goon) to the South American location, only to snap his neck and jump off a moving plane (Don’t disturb my friend, he’s dead tired). From there he begins the process of rescuing his daughter, amassing a triple digit body count along the way. The obligatory female support character (played by Rae-Dawn Chong) is picked up along the way.

What Makes This Movie Incredibly Radical

First of all, 80% of Arnie’s movies are totally badass. Yet even among the most badass filmography of all time, Commando stands out. It is a movie that is totally self-referential (without being explicitly, so like The Last Action Hero) and recognizes and amplifies all of Arnold’s movie strengths: the muscles, the one liners, the invincibility, the hyper masculinity, and the stoicism.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was fucking invincible in this movie, and I mean invincible. He was stronger and more durable in this movie than he was as the Terminator. He nonchalantly carries a tree trunk over one shoulder, jumps out of an aircraft mid-takeoff, sends 8 men flying through the air with one move, rips a car seat out with one hand, flips over a car, kills over a 100 men in under four minutes (including dismemberment and shearing off the top of a guy’s skull with a throw of circular saw), rips a steel pipe out of the wall and throws it through a man’s chest and into the wall behind. He was the 80’s Superman in this one, all glistening muscles and testosterone (he must have really kept up his protein intake on this one). Check out every kill he does in this movie.

And the one liners, oh my god, the one liners in this movie! This movie has the highest concentration of one liners that I have ever seen. Take a look at some of this classics:


Unnamed Bad Guy: We have your daughter, so you have to do what we say right?

John Matrix: WRONG! (Shoots the guy in the head)


John Matrix: Remember Sully, when I promised to kill you last?

Sully: Yes, John! You did!

John Matrix: I lied. (Drops him off a cliff)

Chick: What happened to Sully?

John Matrix: I let him go.


Cooke: This Green Beret’s gonna kick your ass!

John Matrix: I eat Greent Berets for breakfast, and right now, I am very hungry!


Or the classic finale scene:

John Matrix: Let off some steam, Bennett! (After impaling him with a steel pipe through the chest)

Just watch the compilation below:

Well, you guys get the picture. In short, WATCH THIS MOVIE.

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