I've been meaning to write this post for literally 2 years, but whenever it would come up on my list, something else would come up and it would fall by the wayside.
Well, today is the day that I am finally going to tackle it.
I am in the latter camp.
I love Commando. I mean, I really really love it.
In my mind, if I was trying to explain what an action movie is, it is the first one that comes to mind for me.
The basic premise of the movie is some bad guys kidnap Arnold's daughter and he has to kill a lot of people to get her back. If you've seen the movie, you would agree that is what the movie is. And that's what the trailer lays out for you too.
In a bit more detail, John Matrix is a former special forces badass whose daughter, Jenny, is kidnapped by a South American dictator he helped oust and former member of his team, Bennett, and they want him to go back to that country to assassinate the leader he helped install to save his daughter's life.
Knowing that Jenny is as good as dead if he goes through with the assassination, Matrix decides that he is going to rescue her, and he only has as long as the plane is in the air to do so. With the help of a reluctant flight attendant, he sets out on his odyssey through Southern California to do just that.
It is stupid as hell on a lot of levels, but I don't care. Sometimes you just need an action movie that is quotes surrounded by lots of things blowing up and dudes punching each other. At times, it is a little homoerotic, but whatever.
But in essence, it is a video game made into a movie. All the major scenes are like setpiece battles from a modern game. There is a driving stage, a couple of beat em up stages, the first person shooter level all with bosses to be conquered. It is as if the writers of 1985 could see what games would become and just built a movie around those narrative constraints.
And here is the weird thing: it wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that the guy who plays Bennett was the same actor that was the main antagonist of The Road Warrior.
In the end, it isn't fine cinema, but it is a lot of fun, and really, that is all that I expect from it. It is one of the movies from my childhood that still looks good for its age and stands up well. To me, like Predator, it doesn't feel dated, like The Running Man does.