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The Making of Commando: How Arnie Defined the 80s Action Hero

In the 1980s, action movies dominated the box office, and one man stood at the forefront of this genre – Arnold Schwarzenegger. Known for his larger-than-life physique and charismatic presence, Schwarzenegger quickly became the face of the 80s action hero, starring in a string of highly successful films that solidified his status as a Hollywood icon. One of the most iconic of these films is “Commando,” a fast-paced, high-octane action flick that showcased Schwarzenegger at the peak of his career.

Released in 1985, “Commando” was directed by Mark L. Lester and written by Steven E. de Souza. The film follows the story of John Matrix, a retired Special Forces operative who is forced back into action when his daughter is kidnapped by a group of mercenaries. With no time to spare, Matrix must use his skills and wit to track down the men responsible and save his daughter before it’s too late.

From the opening scenes of “Commando,” it’s clear that this is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The dialogue is cheesy, the action is over-the-top, and the one-liners are delivered with perfect comedic timing. Schwarzenegger’s performance as John Matrix is both physically impressive and surprisingly humorous, showcasing his ability to play the tough guy with a wink and a smile.

One of the most memorable aspects of “Commando” is its action sequences, which are some of the most elaborate and inventive of Schwarzenegger’s career. From high-speed car chases to explosive shootouts, the film is a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish. One particular scene that stands out is when Matrix takes on an entire army of bad guys single-handedly, using an array of weapons and martial arts skills to decimate his enemies with ease.

Another highlight of “Commando” is its soundtrack, composed by James Horner. The score is energetic and pulse-pounding, perfectly complementing the on-screen action and adding to the overall excitement of the film. The film’s theme song, “We Fight for Love” by The Power Station, is also a standout, with its catchy lyrics and infectious beat.

Despite its over-the-top nature, “Commando” was a huge success at the box office, grossing over $57 million worldwide. The film was praised for its thrilling action sequences, Schwarzenegger’s charismatic performance, and its overall entertainment value. It quickly became a cult classic and solidified Schwarzenegger’s status as the ultimate 80s action hero.

The Making of “Commando”

The making of “Commando” was a challenging and chaotic process, as the filmmakers had to work with a limited budget and a tight shooting schedule. Schwarzenegger’s star power was at its peak during this time, and his involvement in the project helped to secure funding and attract top talent to the film. Despite the challenges, the cast and crew worked tirelessly to bring this high-octane action flick to life.

One of the most difficult aspects of filming “Commando” was the intense action sequences. Schwarzenegger performed many of his own stunts, including elaborate fight scenes and dangerous stunts involving firearms and explosives. His dedication to his craft and his physical prowess helped to make these sequences look realistic and thrilling on screen.

Another challenge faced by the filmmakers was finding the right locations for the shoot. “Commando” was filmed on location in California, with scenes set in picturesque mountain ranges and dense forests. The rugged terrain provided the perfect backdrop for the film’s intense action sequences and added to the overall excitement of the film.

In addition to the physical challenges of filming “Commando,” the filmmakers also had to contend with the logistical difficulties of coordinating a large-scale production. The film included a vast number of extras, elaborate sets, and complex special effects, all of which required careful planning and coordination to pull off successfully.

Despite these challenges, “Commando” was a labor of love for all involved, and the final product is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the cast and crew. The film’s success at the box office and its enduring popularity with audiences is a testament to the talent and creativity of everyone involved in its making.


Q: Is “Commando” based on a true story?
A: No, “Commando” is a work of fiction and is not based on any real events. The story was created by screenwriter Steven E. de Souza and is purely a product of his imagination.

Q: What inspired the character of John Matrix?
A: The character of John Matrix was inspired by the tough and rugged action heroes of the 1980s, such as Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo and Bruce Willis’ John McClane. Schwarzenegger’s own persona as a bodybuilder-turned-actor also played a significant role in shaping the character.

Q: What was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s training regimen for “Commando”?
A: Schwarzenegger was already in peak physical condition when he filmed “Commando,” thanks to his strict bodybuilding regimen. To prepare for the film, he focused on maintaining his muscle mass and endurance through a combination of weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and martial arts training.

Q: Did Arnold Schwarzenegger do his own stunts in “Commando”?
A: Yes, Schwarzenegger performed many of his own stunts in “Commando,” including fight scenes, car chases, and explosives. His background as a bodybuilder and athlete gave him the physical strength and agility needed to perform these stunts safely.

Q: Why is “Commando” considered a cult classic?
A: “Commando” is considered a cult classic because of its over-the-top action sequences, cheesy dialogue, and Schwarzenegger’s charismatic performance. The film has a loyal following of fans who appreciate its campy charm and its place in the pantheon of 80s action cinema.

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