There’s something to be said for movies that are so bad, they’re good. They’re often cheesy, campy, implausible, outlandish and full of obvious fake effects, stunt work and bad acting, and that’s what makes them so good! They’re pure, mindless entertainment. Commando is one of the best good bad movies. First released 27 years ago, it has the simplest of plots: Arnold Schwarzenegger plays John Matrix, a retired Black Ops Commando living in the secluded mountains with his young daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano). South American criminals kidnap his daughter to blackmail him into starting a revolution that they believe will get an exiled dictator back into power. Then Arnold kills bad guys in every way imaginable for about 90 minutes. That’s it.
For 90 minutes, you’re treated to a vengeful, Rambo-esque mayhem rife with over-the-top violence and intended hilarity. Matrix becomes a murderous machine. He kills one enemy by pushing him onto an upended chair leg; he uses the blade of a table saw as a lethal discus; he breaks one enemy’s neck on an airplane full of people and tells the stewardess “don’t wake up my friend, he’s dead tired” and he throws a steam pipe through another guy’s chest and then quips that he’s, “Letting off some steam.” Matrix uses anything he can find within a ten-mile-radius as an implement of death. The entire film is full of cheeky silliness, over-the-top machismo and hilarious one-liners.
More ammunition is spent in the final gunfight than was used in the entire Rambo series. Matrix forges a one-man assault on a whole army of mercenaries by gunning down every man that gets in his way while incredibly avoiding every shot fired at him. The film is awesome in its sheer ridiculousness and the ending is completely preposterous. The film is meant to be watched with a complete suspension of disbelief. It’s like a cartoon of carnage for adults with oddly captivating scenes of violence and brutality intermingled with silly humour. You can’t help but chuckle and cheer as Matrix picks up the nearest object and uses it as a weapon of mass destruction. Commando is one of the gems in the Schwarzenegger 80s film canon because its effect is simple – it’s so bad, it’s good.