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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?!
Matrix: No.
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Possibly the most awesome film Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made, and certainly the most unintentionally homoerotic (Predator is a close second). 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 president of some South American country or something? Nah, he simply decides to ignore these demands and just sets out to kill them all and rescue her instead.

Best known for Schwarzenegger displaying his distinctive tongue-in-cheek action film humor for the first time (as opposed to Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator, who were both The Stoic).

In 2008, a Russian remake of the movie was released called "День Д" (D-Day), starring Russian superstar Mikhail Porechenkov 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 .

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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 gamenote , for that matter (or its bionic counterpartnote ).

note 


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Commando provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: When Cooke has Matrix at gunpoint and says "Fuck you, asshole", Matrix repeats the same line to him (as covered in No, You), much in the same way the T-800 had done before.
  • An Arm and a Leg: A random soldier had his arm hacked off by Matrix during the toolshed scene.
  • 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 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! IMGONNAHKILLYEOUWNAAAAAAAOOOOOO!!!!
  • Arch-Enemy: Bennett to Matrix.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Averted when Matrix is shown to store his firearms in a proper gunsafe, not hidden around the house as usual in action movies. The fact that he has a child no doubt has a lot to do with this. (Dramaturgically speaking, it also gives Matrix a plausible plot reason to leave her alone while he rushes to get a weapon.)
    • Played straight with Cindy who despite claiming to have read the instructions on the M202 Flash rocket launcher fires it backwards before using it to free Matrix from police custody.
    • Not quite gun safety, but Matrix later straps M67 grenades to his vest when gearing up to assault Arius' compound. The dangerous thing is that he strings the grenades to his vest by looping paracord through the grenade pins. As anybody with any sense will tell you, this is the 'worst' way to carry grenades on a vest; grenades have some weight, and they're swinging around on a vest; all it takes is one harsh impact or movement and the grenades can dislodge and fall to the ground as live explosives, leaving their pins behind.
    • When Bennett is down to his micro-Uzi, he racks the bolt with his finger on the trigger. Though knowing how Ax-Crazy Bennett is, this isn't too far out of character.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Though he doesn't get involved in combat until late in the movie, Arius ends up presenting a more formidable obstacle to Matrix than his entire army did.
  • Awesome Aussie: Granted, he doesn't have an awesome personality, but Bennett is presumably Australian, judging by his accent and the nationality of his actor, and he poses more of a challenge to Matrix than any of the rest of the Mooks.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: John Matrix. The script reveals his middle name, which makes it even more awesome - John Alexander Matrix.
  • Ax-Crazy: Bennett, and how! He downright looks pleased that Matrix is violently storming the compound at the end, and he's even coaxed into dropping his gun for a knife fight by appealing to his deranged sadism.
  • Badass Boast
  • Bald of Evil: Cooke has a shiny bald head.
  • Banana Republic: Val Verde.
  • BFG: The quad barrel rocket launcher, an M202 FLASH (which technically is a shoulder-fired incendiary rocket launcher, not something that launches explosive rockets, but that doesn't make it any less cool). It's one of the most memorable things of this movie.
  • Big Bad: Arius, but the real threat is Bennett.
  • Big Good: General Franklin Kirby.
  • Blood Knight: Bennett. One of the reasons Matrix threw him out of his unit was because he liked killing too much.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: General Kirby assigns two of his soldiers to protect Matrix, who is a One-Man Army.
  • The Bogan: Bennett the Australian is constantly swearing, losing his temper, and being murderously violent. No wonder his own men are frightened of him.
  • 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: "Don't disturb my friend. He's dead tired."
    • After dropping Sully off a cliff, and then being asked where he has 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.
    • The Valmet M78 machine gun Matrix carries in the final assault shoots twenty times more ammo from its 30-round box magazine than it can realistically carry, and is never shown being reloaded.
    • 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.
  • Bound and Gagged: Jenny by the bad guys, is presented this way to Matrix in order to get him to comply.
  • Brick Joke: "You're a funny guy, Sully, I like you. That's why I'm going to kill you last". Viewers unaware of this film may have forgotten about that line, when Matrix finally catches Sully and they discover he lied.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Sully mocks and taunts Matrix as he's about to board the plane. His joking is what prompted the famous "You're a funny guy, Sully. I like you." line.
    • Henriques tells Matrix "open your mouth again, and I'll nail it shut" when he calls him his carry-on luggage. He finds himself on the wrong end of a Neck Snap not seconds later.
  • Catchphrase: It's an Arnie film. "I'll be back."
  • Cannon Fodder: Arius' entire army is little more than target practice for Matrix. Lampshaded early on by Bennet, who states they're nothing and is amused by their attempts to talk and act tough.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Sully tries to invoke this during the High-Altitude Interrogation, saying Matrix needs him to find his daughter. When Matrix presses him, Sully then admits he doesn't know exactly where she is, but Cooke does and that he'll take him where he's supposed to meet him next. Unfortunately for him, Matrix already found the Plot Coupon on Sully that tells him where that would be. Sully is left whimpering even before Matrix reminds him about the whole You Will Be Spared speech and saying I Lied.
  • Car Fu: Cooke kills Forrestal in the beginning of the film by running him over with the car he's selling.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: General Kirby and his army arrives at Arius' base after Matrix has already cleared it out.
    Kirby: Leave anything for us?
    Matrix: Just bodies.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower
    • The first time Matrix ever appears in the movie, he's carrying by himself a whole tree trunk he just cut down. Using only one arm.
    • 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.
    • Ripping a phone booth out of the ground and hoisting it over his with Sully still inside.
    • Righting Sully's flipped car.
    • Nailing soldiers with perfect headshots while hip firing.
    • Holding Sully over the edge of a cliff with one outstretched arm, which he (potentially sarcastically) claims is his "weak arm".
    • Bennett too has his moments, such as ripping the hatch off a boiler furnace or body-slamming through a boarded up window.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Vernon Wells, the actor who plays Bennett, practically uses the climactic knife fight as chewing gum! His lines "You're a dead man, John!", or "What's it feel to be a dying man?" also count. Even his understated lines like "I said I'd do it for nothing." chew the scenery.
  • Cold War: Most of Matrix's missions as a commando (including overthrowing Arius) very likely took place around this conflict.
  • Ceiling Cling: The method used by Matrix when cornered in a shed by enemy soldiers. A group of soldiers fills the shed with lead, then throws the doors open, fully expecting to find Matrix dead, only for Matrix to drop from its ceiling and eliminate the guards using the tools he can get his hands on.
  • 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. Foreshadowed early on by The Dragon himself, who states between the two of them he and Matrix could Kill 'Em All "in a blink of an eye".
  • Construction Vehicle Rampage: Matrix uses a tracked loader to break into an army surplus store for equipping himself with military weaponry.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Sully just happened to park his car very close to the car belonging to the totally random flight attendant he tries to hit on.
    • There just happens to be a tracked loader right next to the gun shop Matrix wants to break into, with the keys in the ignition, apparently.
    • Cooke just so happens to have a copy of a receipt for plane fuel in the glove compartment of his car, which can help Matrix and Cindy discover Arius's island compound.
    • The part at the very beginning where the man is shot by the villains pretending to be garbage-men says "I thought you'd missed me" as a set-up for them to pull out guns and retort "Don't worry, we won't." Firstly, most people would say "I thought I missed you" if they were worried about not putting the trash out. Secondly, what is the purpose for disguising themselves as garbage-men in the first place, much less ones who seem to be leaving when their mark comes out the door. Did they just happen to know that he hadn't put his trash out yet AND would come running out the door to make sure he got his garbage out on time?
    • Cindy just happens to be a trainee pilot, allowing her to fly Matrix to the villains' lair in a stolen plane. There is some level of foreshadowing to this considering the fact she first appeared at the airport and is wearing a suit implying she was more than just a random tourist, but a first-time viewer would likely not consider these details relevant.
  • Creepy Monotone: Arius. He's very calm even when threatening Matrix and his daughter Jenny.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Matrix against Arius' army at the end of the film.
  • 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.
  • Deadly Disc: Matrix kills two of Arius' soldiers by throwing circular saw blades at them.
  • Deadpan Snarker: You know the "You're a funny guy, Sully. I like you" line? That comes right after Sully taunted Matrix about his daughter being potentially gang-raped.
  • Destination Defenestration: Arius' fate, after getting round after round from Matrix's shotgun pumped through his body, at which point he is sent flying through a side window of his mansion.
  • Disney Villain Death: Sully.
  • The Dragon: Bennett.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: As quoted above, Bennett claims (correctly) that he's a bigger threat to John than Arius' and his army.
  • Dragon Their Feet: The Big Bad is Arius, not Bennett. He gets his own dose of buckshot before Matrix deals with Bennett, though.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Bennett, again. He cares little about Arius or him coming back to power. All he really cares about is killing Matrix.
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: During the motel fight, Cooke has Matrix dead to rights with a revolver aimed directly at his head and after a Pre-Mortem One-Liner pulls the trigger only for a loud "click" to occur and he realizes he's out of rounds. Matrix promptly finishes him by impaling him on a handy bit of broken furniture.
  • Elite Mooks: Cooke boasts about being a former Green Beret. Matrix is unimpressed, but in fairness to Cook he gives Matrix probably his toughest fight in the movie aside from Bennett and Arius.
  • 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 continent, not the country), the Russians, and various terrorist groups.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Matrix's 4x4 crashes and rolls, and then bursts in to flames and explodes after he gets out.
  • Evil Counterpart: Bennett to Matrix.
  • Exact Words
    • When Cindy asks about Sully:
      Cindy: What did you do with him?
      Matrix: I let him go.
  • 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 leader 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.
  • Expy
    • 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.
  • Fatal Flaw: Matrix exploits Bennett's bloodlust to coax him into a final fight and ultimately defeat him.
  • Father's Quest: Matrix is a retired Commando quietly raising his daughter, Jenny. When mooks kidnap Jenny, a spokesman for the thugs explains that his services are required to stage a coup d'etat in The Generalissimo's homeland. Matrix makes short work of most of these thugs, but still must venture to Central America to rescue Jenny.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sully is very chatty with Matrix as he's being walked through the airport and slips him some money for a few beers. At first, the audience may be forgiven in thinking that Sully is a really decent Punch-Clock Villain who isn't so bad. But then he tells Matrix the beers are so that Arius's men can have "more time with [his] daughter".
  • Follow That Car:
    Matrix: Follow him.
    Cindy: Oh, I knew you were going to say that...
  • Freddie Mercopy: Bennett, of course.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: 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 Henrique were in the service while commenting on Matrix and Bennett's relationship).
  • Gardening-Variety Weapon: The first Mook killed in the toolshed sequence is stabbed with a pitchfork by Matrix.
  • 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.
    Bennett: John, I'm not going to shoot you between the eyes. I'm going to shoot you between the balls!
  • Hand Cannon: Among the various weapons Matrix brought to the island is a Desert Eagle pistol. In an inversion of Bottomless Magazines, he fires it six times from a eight or nine-round magazine before it runs dry and switches to a shotgun.
  • Harmless Electrocution: During the climactic fight, Matrix throws Bennett into a high voltage generator, which sparks and goes haywire as our victim who is wearing a mail 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.
  • Hero Insurance: During the course of the film, Matrix steals and/or damages several vehicles, breaks into a gun shop, steals an arsenal of firearms, escapes from police custody, beats up a bunch of mall security guards and kidnaps an innocent bystander, and kills two unarmed villains, one in front of a witness. It's hard to imagine rescuing a family member as a sufficient legal defense to cover all of that.
  • 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: From this point on in the film, it's all a barrel of laughs:
    Diaz: (waving Jenny's "I Love You Daddy" Father's Day card in Matrix's face) And if you want your kid back...then you gotta cooperate. Right?
    Matrix: Wrong. (shoots Diaz)
  • I Have Your Wife: The bad guys kidnap Matrix's daughter to blackmail him into working for them. It instead inspires him to murder them all. So, it backfired.
  • 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!!!!!
  • I Lied: Matrix when he said he would kill Sully last.
  • 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 94 men and still win.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The other reason Matrix could take on the army presented and win.
  • Instant Sedation: Bennett using a dart gun to knock out Matrix. It must have had a very high dosage to knock out someone as huge as Matrix that fast.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Happens during the brawl between Matrix and Cooke.
  • It's 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.
    Matrix: How much are they paying you, Bennett?
    Bennet: They offered me a hundred grand. You want to know something? When I found out I'd get my hands on you, I said I'd do it for nothing.
  • 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 masturbates 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: Matrix just wanted to leave conflict behind and live a quiet life rising his daughter... Until some jackass former dictator and his goons decided it was a fantastic idea to kidnap said daughter. Big mistake.
  • Match Cut: The Seaplane Matrix and Cindy is on makes its landing near Arius' Island hideour... just as the other plane Matrix was supposed to be on board lands in Val Verde airport.
  • Machete Mayhem: In the toolshed sequence, the last remaining soldier has his arm chopped off by a machete.
  • Missing Mom: In the Director's Cut, it's revealed that Jenny's mother died when she gave birth to Jenny, and at the time of her death, Matrix was stationed with the US Army in Laos.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It rates a 7, primarily because of John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) slitting a soldier's bare throat in close-up, scalping another with a thrown buzz-saw blade, and slicing off yet another soldier's arm with a machete (with blood oozing out, especially in the director's cut), and a blood-spurting squib or two.
  • Mook Horror Show: Especially the toolshed sequence.
  • Mooks: Lampshaded hard by Bennett himself, who calls them a bunch of nothing play soldiers trying to talk tough and that if it came down to a fight he and Matrix could Kill 'Em All "in a blink of an eye". Sure enough, Matrix wipes them all out himself at the climax with the only damage sustained being the nearby explosion of a lucky grenade.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Matrix spends most of the film in a henley shirt to show off his pecs, and prior to gearing up for his assault on Bennett's island, is seen wearing only a Speedo. He also goes into the final battle wearing a sleeveless vest, which he ditches after a couple of minutes before spending the rest of the film shirtless. Downplayed, since the hook that got Arnold interested in the film was that Matrix doesn't spend the entire film in a state of undress, meaning that the audience's attention would be on his acting and not on his physique.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Everything, from walking through a mall to getting into an airplane. And getting off of one, as well.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Matrix is played by the most famous body builder of all time, and he's a Showy Invincible Hero. Cooke is played by the physically imposing Bill Duke, and he's one of the only two villains to present Matrix with a serious challenge.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Bennett is a little flabby and lacking in muscle mass, but he's almost Matrix's equal when it comes to hand-to-hand combat.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Cindy botches Matrix's attempt to tail Sully undetected, resulting in cops almost killing Matrix and Sully almost succeeding to call in the kill order on Jenny, she has a change of heart and starts to help him. After she jumps back in the car with him, she starts freaking out over everything that just happened, as seen in the page quote.
  • Neck Snap: How Matrix dispose of Henriques on the plane.
    "Don't disturb my friend. He's DEAD tired".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Almost, by Matrix. Him calling out to Jenny at the end tips off Bennett where she is and allows him to seize her first.
  • Nice Job Guiding Us, Hero
  • No, You: "Fuck you, asshole." (Click!) "Fuck you, asshole."
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Justified (or excused, at any rate) by mentioning early in the film that Matrix hails from East Germany.
  • Offscreen Villainy: Arius, the Big Bad, is a powerful dictator who used to rule the fictional country of Val Verde with an iron fist, who had tortured and killed hundreds of people... years before the movie even started. We as the audience never get to see most of his evil deeds, save for those related to his grudge against Matrix.
  • One-Man Army: Hoo, boy, is Matrix ever. Could have been called One-Man Army: The Movie.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • Averted. 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.
  • Only One Name: With the exceptions of John Matrix and Franklin Kirby, every character only has their first name or surname revealed.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Early in the film, Matrix is shown keeping his Beretta sidearm in his pants.
  • 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!) Fly or die! (WHACK! the engine starts) Works every time...
  • Pipe Pain: Twice in the final fight with Bennett.
    • Bennett picks up a pipe which he uses as a bludgeon.
    • Matrix picks another, bigger pipe which he uses to impale Bennett.
  • Pistol-Whipping:
    • When Matrix has his first fight with the goons who kidnapped Jenny, one of them hits Matrix with the stock of his rifle to stun him.
    • During the Final Battle, Matrix uses the stock of his shotgun to bludgeon one of the Mooks before facing off with Arius.
  • Plot Armor:
    • In one the best examples on could ever find of this trope, Martix fights an entire army while standing out in the open, yet none of the enemy soldiers are able to shoot him.
    • There is also the part where Matrix jumps out of a moving plane hundreds of feet in the air and is unharmed simply because he lands in a few feet of water.
  • 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 the mall's security focuses their entire attention on dog piling an unarmed Matrix even as Sully was shooting people left and right. However, one cop manages to kill Sully's money man. Maybe Sully had invisibility superpowers?
  • The Power of Trust: As Arius says, the reason he wants Matrix to assassinate Val Verde's president is because the man trusts him and would never suspect ill intentions of the "hero of the revolution" until it was too late. Compare that to Bennett, who didn't leave nearly as positive an impression during his time there.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Matrix first does this when he was about to drop Sully off a cliff.
      Matrix: "Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
      Sully: That's right, Matrix. You did!
      Matrix:I Lied."
    • Cooke also delivers two while killing Matrix's old team:
      Lawson: I was afraid you'd miss me.
      Cooke: Don't worry. We won't.
      (...)
      Cooke: You wanna know what I like best?
      Forrestal: What's that?
      Cooke: The price.
  • 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. Explicitly called out as enjoying the killing, and he never even denies it.
  • Race Against the Clock: After escaping the plane, Matrix has 11 hours to wrap things up before it lands and his escape is discovered. Arius learns that Matrix wasn't on the plane while Matrix is infiltrating his base.
  • Rare Guns: Sully's pistol is an ASP 9, a highly customized and rare version of the Smith & Wesson model 39. According to the Internet Movie Firearms Database, Commando is the only film ever to feature this handgun.
  • 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.
  • 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". One of them are killed as soon as he flies off, while the other one gets badly wounded, loses his weapon, and only has time to trade some lines with Matrix before he's unceremoniously finished off off-screen.
  • Refuge in Audacity: You might think it's ridiculous to be able to happen to find some of the weapons Matrix finds in the army surplus store. The notable thing is that he breaks into the back room, where they store weapons that you'd need a license to even possess. Admittedly, Matrix couldn't exactly wait the 24-48 hours for the police check on his license...
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Cindy is red and Matrix is blue. For the villains, Bennett is red and Arius is blue.
  • Retired Badass: Matrix is a retired special forces soldier.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Averted. Cooke carries one as a sidearm when he goes to meet with Sully and is attacked by Matrix. During the ensuing fight in the motel, Cooke fires off six shots, either missing Matrix or during the struggle for the gun. He manages to get Matrix in his sights, but pulls the trigger on an empty chamber. If he'd been carrying an automatic, Matrix would be dead.
  • Rival Final Boss: Matrix kills Big Bad Arius but then has to fight Bennett who was once part of Matrix's team and claims to be a better fighter than Matrix.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The Movie.
  • Rule of Cool: SO, so much.
  • Scary Black Man: Cook, former Green Beret who racked up a good portion of the kills of Matrix's old team and the only person in the film aside from Arius and Bennett who actually lasts longer than five seconds in a fight with Matrix. Subverted with Henriques, who despite his Bullying the Dragon statement is offed in two moves by Matrix with barely a struggle.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Cooke spends most of the film in a natty grey suit.
  • 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 Catchphrase "I'll be back" (of course), and the line, "Fuck you, asshole!" all of which are spoken in the same order as the former movie. This was his first big movie after The Terminator and his first leading role with a substantial amount of dialogue.
  • 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.
  • Situational Hand Switch: Matrix has to use his knife with his left hand instead of his right in the climax because Bennett shot him in the arm.
  • Sociopathic Hero: John Matrix to some extent. He mercilessly kills any henchman he comes across, fights off the police instead of trying to ask them for help (even though he, of course, doesn't use lethal force against them) and even uses some Villain tropes like the famous I Lied.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Bennett is indicated to have been one of these even before he left, as Arius puts it, "under a cloud" from the service due to how much he enjoyed killing. His actions in the film itself certainly don't show any sign he improved.
  • Soft Glass: Played with. Matrix 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.
  • Stealth Parody: The film is extremely tongue-in-cheek, and has a healthy sense of humour about how ridiculous '80s action films were while simultaneously embracing everything that made them awesome.
  • Stun Guns: "Tranquilizers. I wanted to use the real thing!"
  • Super Senses: Matrix can smell 'em coming.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Matrix uses a freakin' tracked loader 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.
    • Matrix forcibly tries to get Cindy to help him after explaining his situation by having her put on a honeypot routine in an attempt to Sully, however Cindy doesn't believe Matrix's outlandish (yet true) story like any normal person would (Seriously, how often does something as crazy as being forced to kill a South American president or risk losing your daughter happen in Real Life?) and the first chance she gets, she asks a security guard to help her get away from Matrix, blowing his cover — it's not until Sully recognizes John and starts shooting at him that Cindy believes him and tries to help him.
  • Take That!: To Boy George:
    Matrix (Looking at one of Jenny's music magazines): "Why don't they just call him 'Girl George'? It would cut down on all the confusion, I think."
    Matrix: I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now, I'm very hungry!
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Lampshaded by Cindy with the lines "I can't believe this macho bullshit!" and "these guys eat too much red meat!"
  • Throw-Away Guns: During the final battle, Matrix simply discards weapons he no longer has any use for.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Matrix 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 Matrix, it works.
  • Title Drop: "Commando" is Matrix's radio call sign.
  • Trope Codifier: This is the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: Matrix 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.
  • Villain Respect: Bennett candidly admits to his partners in crime his respect for Matrix's skill as a warrior on multiple occasions, fully expecting him to escape and exact his revenge on them all.
    "Your soldiers are nothing; Matrix and I can kill every one of them in the blink of an eye; remember that."
    "It is you that is afraid, Mr. Bennett. You are afraid of Matrix."
    "Of course; I'm smart."
  • Walking Armory: In the final battle, Matrix carries an assault rifle, a shotgun, an Uzi, a Desert Eagle, a rocket launcher, some grenades, mines and a huge combat knife or three. During the said battle, he pilfers a corpse for a machine gun.
  • 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.
  • Worf Had the Flu: The only reason the bad guys catch Matrix is because he just climbed out of his own wrecked truck (only made possible because swerved his nigh uncontrollable descent from hitting the bad guys' vehicles out of fear of hurting Jenny) clearly hurt and dazed without his rifle.
  • Worthy Opponent: Bennett undeniably has a twisted sense of respect for Matrix as a fellow warrior, and was visibly happy that Matrix came guns blazing to rescue Jenny ("Welcome back, John!"), giving him one last chance to put his skills and mettle to the ultimate test. Matrix uses this respect to goad him into dropping his gun (and letting go of Jenny) to engage him in a final knife-fight to the death.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Arius seems to think he's a Magnificent Bastard Big Bad in a serious Cold War action drama. He's really a Smug Snake Non-Action Big Bad in a Stealth Parody of '80s action movies.
  • 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?

Remember, troper, when I promised to ruin your life last? I Lied.
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