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Arnie’s Commando: A Retro Classic That Still Packs a Punch

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a name that needs no introduction in the world of action cinema. The Austrian-born actor gained fame and fortune as one of the biggest action stars of the 1980s and 1990s, with roles in iconic films such as “The Terminator,” “Predator,” and “Total Recall.” However, one film that often gets overlooked in Schwarzenegger’s filmography is the 1985 action-packed classic, “Commando.”

Directed by Mark L. Lester, “Commando” follows the story of John Matrix, a former special forces soldier who must rescue his daughter from an exiled dictator who wants to use her as leverage to carry out political assassinations. The film is a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish, with Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering one-liners, explosions, and over-the-top action sequences that have become synonymous with his on-screen persona.

Despite being released over 35 years ago, “Commando” still holds up as a retro classic that continues to entertain audiences to this day. Let’s take a closer look at why this film still packs a punch and remains a favorite among action movie fans.

The Action Sequences

One of the standout elements of “Commando” is its high-octane action sequences, which are expertly choreographed and executed with precision. From the opening scene where John Matrix singlehandedly takes down a group of armed mercenaries to the explosive finale where he faces off against the main villain, Bennett, played by Vernon Wells, the film is filled with pulse-pounding moments that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Schwarzenegger’s physicality and charisma make him the perfect action hero for this type of film, and his larger-than-life presence on screen elevates each fight scene to a new level of intensity. Whether he’s wielding a machine gun, throwing a grenade, or engaging in hand-to-hand combat, Schwarzenegger’s performance as John Matrix is a masterclass in action movie stardom.

The One-Liners

One of the hallmarks of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film is the memorable one-liners that he delivers with perfect timing and deadpan delivery. “Commando” is no exception, with lines such as “Let off some steam, Bennett,” “I lied,” and “Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last? I lied,” becoming instant classics in the action movie lexicon.

Schwarzenegger’s ability to deliver these lines with a straight face and a twinkle in his eye adds to the film’s charm and makes for some truly unforgettable moments. These one-liners have become so iconic that they are often quoted and referenced by fans to this day, further solidifying “Commando” as a cult favorite in the action genre.

The Villains

A great action film needs a formidable villain to provide a worthy adversary for the hero to face off against, and “Commando” delivers on this front with the character of Bennett, played with relish by Vernon Wells. Bennett is a former member of John Matrix’s special forces unit who has turned to the dark side and now works as a freelance mercenary for hire.

Wells brings a sinister charm to the role of Bennett, with his over-the-top performance and the character’s flamboyant wardrobe choices (including a chainmail vest and a handlebar mustache) making him a memorable antagonist for Schwarzenegger to go up against. The final showdown between Matrix and Bennett is a true highlight of the film, with the two adversaries engaged in a brutal fight to the death that is as intense as it is satisfying.

The Score

No action film would be complete without a rousing musical score to accompany the on-screen mayhem, and “Commando” delivers in this regard as well. The film’s score, composed by James Horner, features a mix of synthesizers, electric guitars, and orchestral elements that perfectly capture the film’s high-energy, adrenaline-fueled atmosphere.

From the pulsating main theme that plays during the opening credits to the bombastic action cues that underscore each fight scene, the score for “Commando” enhances the film’s emotional impact and adds an extra layer of excitement to the on-screen action. It’s a testament to Horner’s talent as a composer that the music for “Commando” remains just as effective and memorable today as it was over three decades ago.

The Legacy

Despite being released in the mid-1980s, “Commando” has endured as a cult classic that continues to resonate with audiences around the world. The film’s blend of action, humor, and larger-than-life characters has helped it stand the test of time and earn a special place in the hearts of action movie fans everywhere.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of John Matrix remains one of his most iconic roles, and the film’s over-the-top action sequences and quotable one-liners have cemented its status as a beloved entry in the action genre. “Commando” may not have received the critical acclaim or box office success of some of Schwarzenegger’s other films, but its enduring popularity speaks to the timeless appeal of its blend of fast-paced thrills and old-fashioned entertainment.


Q: Is “Commando” available to stream online?
A: Yes, “Commando” is available to stream on various platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Google Play.

Q: What is the running time of “Commando”?
A: The running time of “Commando” is approximately 90 minutes.

Q: Are there any sequels or spin-offs to “Commando”?
A: While there have been talks of a potential sequel or reboot of “Commando” over the years, no official follow-up to the original film has been produced as of yet.

Q: Who is the director of “Commando”?
A: “Commando” was directed by Mark L. Lester, who also helmed other action films such as “Class of 1984” and “Showdown in Little Tokyo.”

In conclusion, “Commando” is a retro classic that still packs a punch thanks to its exhilarating action sequences, memorable one-liners, menacing villains, and pulse-pounding musical score. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic performance as John Matrix, along with the film’s enduring legacy in the action genre, cements its status as a must-watch for fans of adrenaline-fueled entertainment. Whether you’re a longtime fan or discovering it for the first time, “Commando” is sure to leave you entertained and craving more of Schwarzenegger’s unique brand of cinematic mayhem.

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