Cindy: You steal my car, you rip the seat out, you kidnap me, you ask me to help you find your daughter, which I very kindly do, and then you get me involved in a shoot out where people are dying and there's blood spurting all over the place, and then I watch you rip a phone booth out of a wall, swing from the ceiling like Tarzan, and then there's a cop that's going to shoot you and I save you and they start chasing me! Are you going to tell me what's going on or what?!Possibly the most awesome film Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made, and certainly the most unintentionally homoerotic. Commando tells the story of John Matrix (Arnie), a retired special forces colonel whose daughter is kidnapped. To get her back he must, like, kill a prime minister or something? But thankfully he decides to ignore these demands and just kills them all instead.Best known for Schwarzenegger displaying his distinctive tongue-in-cheek humor for this kind of over-the-top action film.A sequel to the film was written. When Schwarzenegger claimed he wasn't interested, the script was retooled until it eventually became Die Hard.In 2008, a Russian remake of the movie was released called "День Д" (D-Day), starring Russian superstar Mikhail Porochenkov in the lead role as former paratrooper Ivan* . Roughly 80% of the movie is a shot-for-shot recreation of the original version, though some scenes were altered to better match both the updated time period and Russian culture * .Not to be confused with the long-running British Comic Book Commando, which is a little more sedate in its overall narrative. Does not involve Going Commando, either. Or the Capcom arcade/console game, for that matter (or its bionic counterpart).note
Commando provides examples of the following tropes:
- Angrish: In the fight with Bennett. Matrix convinces him to let Jenny out of his clutches, goading him into a knife fight. Bennett takes the bait, but not before responding with a line that gets less and less coherent as it progresses.Bennett: I don't need the girl! AND I DON'T NEED NO GUN! IMGONNAHKILLYOUNAAAAAAAOOOOOO!!!!
- Awesome McCoolname: John Matrix.
- John Matrix, to absolutely ridiculous levels.
- Bennett deserves mention too, for not only being the only person in the film to put up a decent fight against Matrix, but for getting him on the ropes in their final battle (though Matrix was wounded before that fight started).
- Bennett's actor, Vernon Wells, also qualifies. He replaced the original Bennett who was fired on set for "not being menacing enough". When Arnold first saw him, he was not impressed. So Wells absolutely went for him in their first scene. Schwarzenegger demanded that Wells use a rubber knife in all subsequent takes.
- Badass BoastCook: This Green Beret's going to kick your big ass.
Matrix: I eat Green Berets for breakfast! And right now I'm very hungry!
Cindy: I can't believe this macho bullshit!
- Banana Republic: Val Verde
- Blood Knight: Bennett.
- Bond One-Liner: Schwarzenegger has always been good at these, but Commando contains some of his greatest efforts.
- After killing a man on a plane and disguising him as if he's asleep, he turns to a stewardess and says: "Please don't disturb my friend. He's dead tired."
- After dropping Sully off a cliff, and then being asked where he's gone: "I let him go."
- After throwing a length of pipe clean through Bennett and into a boiler, releasing a jet of steam: "Let off some steam, Bennett."
- Bottomless Magazines
- The belt of ammo hanging from Matrix's M60 gets longer and longer with each cut.
- Averted, though, with the rocket launcher, which fires exactly four times over the course of the film before Matrix discards it.
- Also averted with Cooke's revolver during the motel room fight. You can easily count the gunshots, so you know that Cooke's gun is empty before he does.
- Brand X: At the airport, the Matrix's flight to Val Verde is with an airline simply called "Western." Another plane on the runway after Matrix jumps from the plane during takeoff is labeled "Eastern." Both of them existed in real life, though.
- Catch Phrase: It's an Arnie film. "I'll be back."
- Charles Atlas Superpower
- Early on, Matrix is trying to chase some bad guys but the power to his truck is cut, so he pushes it and drives it down a hill. Then there's the plane escape.
- Ripping a car seat out of the car with his bare hands.
- A more subtle one: Matrix is impeded by a padlock and chains, so he just rips them off.
- Lifting a phone booth with Sully still inside.
- Chewing the Scenery: Vernon Wells, the actor who plays Bennett, practically uses the climactic knife fight as chewing gum! "You're a dead man John! A dead man!", or "How does it feel to be a dying man, John?" Even his understated lines like "I told them I'd do it for free" chew the scenery.
- Cold War: Most of Matrix's missions as a commando (including overthrowing Arius) very likely took place around this conflict.
- Colonel Badass: John Matrix
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Dozens, if not hundreds of soldiers, and not one of them can take a decent aimed shot against the guy standing in the middle of a wide open garden shooting at them with a machine gun that should be braced on its bipod in order to fire accurately — no problem for Matrix. The wussy boss bad guy takes several minutes of dodging and fire-trading before he makes the kill. The Dragon nearly kills Matrix himself. Oh, and by the end of the film, Matrix's apparently killed everybody on the island.
- Creepy Monotone: Arius. He's very calm even when threatening Matrix and his daughter Jenny.
- Damsel in Distress: Jenny, but hardly a hopeless example of the trope. Using her own resourcefulness she's able to free herself from her confinement — if not, Bennett would have cut her throat before Matrix even got near her.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: When Cooke arrives at Sully's motel room and finds Cindy posing as a hooker, it's obvious that he does not fully believe her.
- Deadpan Snarker: Matrix
- Disney Villain Death: Sully and Arius
- The Dragon: Bennett
- Dragon Their Feet: The Big Bad is Arius, not Bennett. He got his own dose of buckshot before Matrix deal with Bennett, though.
- Dragon Ascendant / Dragon-in-Chief: As quoted above, Bennett claims (correctly) that he's a bigger threat to John than Arius' and his army.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Bennett, again.
- Elite Mooks: Cooke boasts about being a former Green Beret. Matrix is unimpressed.
- Enemies Equals Greatness: When Matrix asks Kirby who has been killing his men, Kirby points out that it could be anybody due to the fact that Matrix has made enemies all over the world. A few possibilities that Kirby mentions are the Syrians, the South Americans, the Russians, and various terrorist groups.
- Evil Counterpart: Bennett to Matrix.
- Excuse Plot: Not unexpected being that it's part of the Schwarzenegger oeuvre, but a particularly notable example — the movie doesn't even pretend it's going to have anything to do with the whole "kill the Prime Minister / President / whatever of Val Verde to get your daughter back" stuff. This has the rather amusing result that pretty much every scene with Arius before the climax basically involves him sitting around waiting for Matrix to show up and kill him even if he doesn't realize it.
- General Kirby is basically Colonel Trautman.
- Matrix himself is basically a tongue-in-cheek version of Rambo.
- Faking the Dead: Bennett is apparently blown up in his boat by Cooke in the pre-title sequence, but it's only to mislead Kirby.
- Fallen Hero: It's unsubtly implied that most of Arius's American henchmen are made up of former, possibly all disgraced U.S. soldiers (Bennett was a member of Matrix's unit who was dishonorably discharged for his brutality, Cooke was a Green Beret and Sully himself states while escorting Matrix to the airport that he and the rest of his buddies had served in the military).
- Five-Bad Band:
- Follow That Car:Matrix: Follow him.
Cindy: Oh, I knew you were going to say that...
- Groin Attack: Quite a few.
- During the mall fight Matrix hits a security guard in the groin, followed by possibly grabbing Sully by the balls when he picks him up.
- Later Matrix grabs Cooke by the groin, complete with a close up of Cooke's face as he lets out an exaggerated moan of pain.
- During the motel fight, and another possibly off screen groin attack when Matrix takes out a mook at the bad guy's secret hide out.
- Finally, a mook catches an axe between the legs in the extended toolshed scene.
- Bennet tries to make one against John with a sidearm during his Villainous Breakdown.
- Harmless Electrocution: During the climatic fight, Matrix throws Bennett into a high voltage generator, which sparks and goes haywire as our victim WHO IS WEARING A CHAINMAIL VEST screams like a little girl. About eight seconds later, however, Bennett immediately bounces back in the fight and is arguably fighting better than he did before the electrocution.
- The Heavy: Bennett.
- Heroic Neutral: Matrix just wants to be left alone with his daughter, and turns down the Army's offer at the end of the film to do just that. He kept his word too: there never was a sequel.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Matrix delivers one to Cooke.
- High-Altitude Interrogation: Matrix dangles Sully above a cliff to make him talk. And then...Matrix: Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
Sully: That's right Matrix! You did!
Matrix: I lied. (drops Sully)
- Hilarity Ensues
Diaz: (waving Jenny's "I Love You Daddy" Father's Day card in Matrix's face) If you want your kid back then you gotta cooperate, right?
- From this point on in the film, it's all a barrel of laughs:
Matrix: Wrong. (shoots Diaz)
- I Have Your Daughter: Subverted in that when the bad guys kidnap Matrix's daughter to blackmail him into working for them, he doesn't even pretend to play along; he ignores their demands and just kills them all.
- I Lied: Spoken by Matrix, a rare heroic version:Matrix: Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
Sully: Yes. That's right Matrix, you did!
Matrix: I lied. (drops Sully to his death)
- I'll Kill You!:Bennett: I can beat you. I don't need the girl. I don't need the girl! I don't need the gun, John! I can beat you! I DON'T NEED NO GUN! I'M GONNA KILL YOU NOW!!!!!
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Bennett and Cooke.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: With an army that is that incapable of hitting the broad side of a barn, no wonder Matrix could take on 74 men and still win.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: The other reason Matrix could take on the army presented and win.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Happens during the brawl between Matrix and Cooke.
- Its Personal With The Dragon: The rivalry between Matrix and Bennett is far more personal and important than anything going on with Arius, the actual Big Bad.
- Juggling Loaded Guns / Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: After Matrix gets locked up in a police van, Cindy tries to free him with an M202 "Flash" four-barrel rocket launcher. Unfortunately she points the wrong end at the target and blows up the shops behind her. Remember to read which end is the front when handling heavy weapons such as rocket launchers*
- Knife Fight: Between Matrix and Bennett at the end of the movie. Minutes later both of them lost their knives, engaging in a fistfight instead.
- Knife Nut: Bennett. Dude practically orgasms at the prospect of stabbing Matrix in the gut with his big weapon.
- Lame Comeback: After being shot down by Cindy after he (very sleazily) tries to chat her up, Sully's response... is to petulantly snarl "You fuckin' whore!" and stomp off in a huff.
- Large Ham: Bennett.
- Lock and Load Montage: Complete with enough weaponry to kill a small army. Interestingly, Matrix puts all the equipment on, including his vest and then puts camo paint on his arms and face. Later, he loses the vest and now he has camo paint on his manly chest. Which means, after the montage, he must have taken all the equipment off again to paint it on, as he was obviously planning to lose his shirt later.
- Mandatory Unretirement
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: According to an interview with Arnold, the actor that plays Bennett is a very nice person off camera.
- Mook Horror Show: Especially the toolshed sequence.
- More Dakka: Most of the movie revolves around dakka exchange between fighting parties: trimming bushes with machine gun fire, entire squad dakka-venting the barn with The Ahnold inside, et cetera, et cetera.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Everything, from walking through a mall to getting into an airplane. And getting off of one, as well.
- Nice Job Guiding Us, Hero
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Justified (or excused, at any rate) by mentioning early in the film that Matrix hails from East Germany.
- One-Man Army: Hoo, boy, is Matrix ever. Could have been called One-Man Army: The Movie.
- Only a Flesh Wound:
- Subverted. When Matrix is shot in the shoulder by Bennett, his right arm is mostly out of the fight, he even comments on it and can't use it for much aside for holding impromptu shields and weapons. It seems fine by the end though.
- Played completely straight throughout with Matrix's leg and abdomen wounds, suffered after a being a little to close to a live grenade.
- Papa Wolf: You harmed his little girl? You're DOOMED.
- Percussive Maintenance: How Matrix starts the amphibious plane.John Matrix: Come on (WHACK!) you piece of shit! (WHACK!) Time to fly or die! (WHACK! the engine starts) Works every time...
- Plot Coupon: After leaping from the plane to Val Verde, a good portion of the film's second act involves Matrix having to find items that clue him in to the next location. The most egregious instance of this is probably after Cooke is killed without him revealing to Matrix any relevant information, requiring Matrix and Cindy to search his car until they find a helpful clue.
- Police Are Useless:
- The cops who arrest Matrix at the army surplus store don't even bother to put him in handcuffs, and they somehow fail to notice Cindy on the store grounds. They also dismiss Matrix's requests to get in touch with General Kirby as crazy talk, and when Cindy pulls up alongside the police paddy wagon in a Cadillac convertible with a ton of stolen military-grade weapons in the back seat, a cop just assumes that she's a prostitute.
- Ditto at the mall earlier. All of them were attacking the unarmed Matrix even as Sully was slaughtering them left and right. Subverted later as a cop quickly kills off Sully's money man. Maybe Sully had invisibility superpowers?
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "You know I said I would Kill You Last? I Lied."
- Properly Paranoid: Matrix has a cache of weapons in his tool shed. Considering that he's made so many enemies over the years, this was probably a wise decision.
- Psycho for Hire: Bennett.
- Race Against the Clock: After escaping the plane, Matrix has 11 hours to wrap things up before it lands and his escape is discovered.
- Rash Equilibrium: Arius hints that Jenny's going to get killed (or worse) no matter what Matrix decides to do (though he doesn't count on Matrix killing every one of his men).
- Rated M for Manly: Boy howdy. This movie will impregnate any unprotected female viewers. And a few male ones, too.
- Reality Ensues: Matrix uses a freakin' bulldozer to break into an army surplus store after hours and load up on artillery. As soon as he gets everything he needs (read: all the cool looking stuff), he turns to leave... and gets arrested. What did you think was gonna happen? Luckily, well... see Police Are Useless above.
- Red Shirt: General Kirby leaves behind two soldiers to protect Matrix and his daughter, describing them as "real good, but not as good as you". Both men are killed as soon as he flies off.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cindy is red and Matrix is blue. For the villains, Bennett is red and Arius is blue.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The Movie.
- Rule of Cool: SO, so much.
- Shout-Out: At least three of Arnie's lines are things he said in The Terminator. His one-word answer, "Wrong," before blasting away his first mook, his Catch Phrase "I'll be back" (of course), and the line, "Fuck you, asshole!" This was his first big movie after The Terminator and his first big movie with more than five lines.
- Show Some Leg
- Matrix has Cindy pretend to be a hooker in Sully's hotel room. Doesn't quite work as Cooke is still wary, but he still misses Matrix hiding behind the door until the "Hey, You!" Haymaker.
- Later Cindy pulls this ploy off on her own initiative, pretending to be a hooker to distract a pair of cops taking John away in a police truck.
- Soft Glass: Played with. Arnold plays this straight, but his friend who ran the car dealership is badly cut when he's driven through a window. It's possible the shards killed him, that or being hit by the car.
- Soft Water: About three feet of it cushions Matrix's fall after he jumps from an airplane's landing gear.
- Stun Guns: "Tranquilizers. I wanted to use the real thing!"
- Super Senses: Matrix can smell 'em coming.
- Testosterone Poisoning: Lampshaded by Cindy with the lines "I can't believe this macho bullshit!" and "these guys eat too much red meat!"
- Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Arnold convinces Bennett to let go of Jenny by playing to his inner Knife Nut. Since Bennett can't resist the possibility of sticking his knife in Arnold, it works.
- Title Drop: "Commando" is Matrix's radio callsign.
- Trope Codifier: This is the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
- Unhand Them, Villain!: Arnold does this to Sully.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: It actually proves useful. Matrix is in a gun fight with Arius, and the two take turns shooting at each other and taking cover. After a few rounds of this, Matrix rolls out from his cover as Arius tries to shoot him, only for Matrix to shoot Arius at the end of the roll.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: A handsome Val Verdan in a fur-lined jacket with a Goatee of Evil is introduced in a manner that indicates he's The Dragon, taking part in the opening assassinations and shooting one of Kirby's Red Shirts. He stays behind to deliver the I Have Your Daughter ultimatum... until Matrix shoots him in the head with his assault rifle.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Averted. Matrix has no problem killing someone, be it a random henchman or a main villain.
- You Will Be Spared: "You're a funny guy, Sully. I like you. That's why I'm going to kill you last." He lied.
- Zerg Rush: How many security guards does that mall have?