Box art for Commando


action & adventure

In this early action classic that features his unique blend of thrills and offbeat humor, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Col. John Matrix, ultimate soldier and one-man army.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

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common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Brainless, explosion-happy action ('80s style).

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this action marathon has countless rounds of ammunition fired, some characters bloodily riddled with bullets, necks broken, one arm cut off, numerous stabbings/impalements, falls from lethal heights, ginormous fiery explosions, car crashes/rocket launches (sometimes in combination), etc. Real do-not-try-this-at-home moments include the main character leaping from an ascending airline to the ground and using buzz-saw blades as deadly Frisbees. Swearing is at R-level, with the hero dropping the F-bomb just like the other characters. Oh, and he lies when he promises one character he'll only kill him last. There's one quick, topless peek of woman in bed, part of a couple interrupted in motel sex.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Schwarzenegger's famous defense of his action movies of this era as being mere "cartoon violence."
  • Does that really make all the deaths and mayhem in Commando worthwhile entertainment? Would a more realistic approach have worked?
  • Who is your favorite action hero? Why?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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Audience Reviews

4 stars

An action classic. An outrageous, hard-core and totally over the top action-adventure that is just to much fun miss. A thrilling, funny, exciting and explosive joy-ride with enough great one-liners, explosions and gun fights to go around for ninety minutes. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an unstoppable one man army in one of his most entertaining movies.

- allan913, Sunday, August 15, 2010

5 stars

When it comes to pure 80s action movies, few compete with Commando. It's just an hour and a half of Arnold Schwarzenegger blowing up things and churning out endless one-liners. The villains and henchmen are just as vital here too, they just put in so much effort to be weird and over the top. Even though their demise is eminent at the hands of Arnold, they still do a great deal of antagonizing. Bennett has to be one of the most angry men alive, looking like a steroid version of Freddy Mercury. The premise is suitable and actually pretty believable. If there's going to be any movie where Arnold kills and destroys, it's because his daughter is in need of rescue. No one steals from John Matrix and gets away with it.

- ythelastman89, Sunday, August 15, 2010

4 stars

Commando starts as General Franklin Kirby (James Olson) makes contact with former elite commando & one man army John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to warn him that the men from his old unit are being assassinated one by one & that he might be next. The next thing Matrix knows is that he comes under heavy gunfire, his daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) has been kidnapped & some sadistic deposed dictator named Arius (Dan Hedaya) is ordering him to assassinate the President of the South/Central American country of Val Verde so he can become president himself & if he doesn't play ball Jenny will die. Matrix isn't happy, no-one messes with his daughter & he sets out to rescue her & make Arius & whoever wants a fight pay... Directed by Mark L. Lester one has to say that Commando is maybe the purest most single minded testosterone filled action film ever, Commando is very nearly the perfect film. After The Terminator (1984) & the Conan flicks Hollywood realised that Schwarzenegger was a money maker & cast him in this his first real leading role, the producers of Commando seem perfectly happy to just dumb everything down to the lowest common denominator & it succeeds perfectly at what it does. The script by Steven E. de Souza exists as nothing more than to get Schwarzenegger into as many action set-pieces as possible, spout the now obligatory one-liners (which are actually quite funny here & Arnie gets to say 'I'll be back') amidst all the destruction & death, to have Schwarzenegger use as much weaponry as possible & to kill as many bad guy's as he can in a large variety of differing ways. The body count in Commando is very impressive, we are talking about Schwarzenegger taking out an entire army by himself & I loved every second of it! Realism wasn't on top the filmmakers priorities, from some really implausible set-pieces like jumping off a moving plane 1000 foot in the air without a parachute & surviving to him ripping a seat out of a car with his bare hands but who cares when a films this much fun? Commando deserves pride of place in any action flick fans VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray collection, you can't call yourself an action film fan unless you love Commando, unless you can quote all the one-liners or unless you haven't seen it at least a dozen times. It's that simple. Director Lester does a good job here, he keeps things moving along at a quick-fire pace with virtually no slack or exposition between the numerous action set-pieces. From car chases to death defying drops from planes to gunfights, shoot-outs, explosions, knife-fights, escapes, assassinations & a final battle scene that isn't too far off World War III. There's a good amount of variety here as well, from out of control jeeps careering down mountainsides to Schwarzenegger escaping a shopping mall full of security guards to a car chase to a the infamous scene inside the tool shed as Arnie uses machetes, forks, axes & saw blades to dispose of a few more soldiers. As a film Commando is extremely violent, there's plenty of blood, mutilation, death & violence. There's no moral message here either, Matrix does what he does because he thinks it's right. Commando is the ultimate no brainer action flick, it has lots of guns, explosions, stunts & people dying. What more do you want? The shopping mall scenes were filmed at Sherman Oaks Galleria in Los Angeles which was later used as the shopping mall in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) while the mansion used in the final shoot-out had been previously used as the location for the final shoot-out in Beverly Hills Cop (1984). With a supposed budget of about $10,000,000 Commando didn't have the huge budget that I thought it had, it's well made with good production values though & I think it's safe to say most of the money actually ended up on screen. The acting is nothing to write home about, Schwarzenegger puts in a typically wooden performance although there's a decent supporting cast here. Vernon Wells puts in a really camp performance, that vest like shirt, his accent & bushy moustache makes him one of the gayest villains ever. David Patrick Kelly, Rae Dawn Chong & Bill Duke provide decent support. Commando is as good as the mindless 80's Hollywood action blockbuster got & it's as simple & straight forward as that. If you haven't seen Commando then you cannot call yourself an action fan & you should quite frankly be ashamed of yourself.

- matertenebraum, Friday, July 9, 2010