Commando Information

Commando is a 1985 American action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rae Dawn Chong, with Dan Hedaya, Alyssa Milano, Vernon Wells, and James Olson in supporting roles. It was directed by Mark L. Lester and shot on location in and around Los Angeles, California.

The film was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Special Effects but lost to James Cameron's Aliens. The film's score was provided by James Horner. A critical success and commercial hit, Commando was the 7th highest grossing R rated movie of 1985 worldwide, and the 25th highest grossing overall.


Retired Delta Force Operative Colonel John Matrix is informed by his former superior Major General Franklin Kirby that all the other members of his unit have been killed by unknown mercenaries. The mercenaries, among them Bennett, an ex-member of Matrix's team fired for overt brutality in service, attack Matrix's secluded mountain home and kidnap Matrix's young daughter Jenny. While trying to intercept them, Matrix is also overpowered by the mercenaries.

It is revealed that Matrix is needed to carry out a political assassination for a South American dictator named Arius, who wishes to lead a military coup in his home country of Val Verde. Arius, who was deposed by Matrix in the course of one of his missions, has chosen the colonel because the current president trusts him implicitly. With Jenny's life on the line, Matrix reluctantly accepts the demand.

After boarding a plane to Val Verde, Matrix manages to kill his guard, Henriques, and jumps from the plane just as it is taking off. With approximately 11 hours' time (the period of the flight), he sets out after another of Arius' men, Sully. He then enlists the aid of an off-duty flight attendant named Cindy, and instructs her to follow Sully to a shopping mall. Cindy first assumes that Matrix is a maniac, but after seeing him desperately trying to get his hands on Sully, she has a change of heart and henceforth assists him in his endeavor. After a lengthy car chase, Matrix catches up with Sully whom he drops off a cliff to his death.

With Cindy's aid, Matrix learns where Jenny is being held. He then breaks into a surplus store to equip himself with military weapons, but the police arrive and Matrix is arrested. Cindy helps him escape, and after commandeering a seaplane from a nearby marina controlled by Arius, Matrix and Cindy land the plane off the coast of Arius' island hideout. Matrix instructs Cindy to contact General Kirby and then proceeds to Arius' villa, kills Arius' entire private militia, and subsequently confronts and kills Arius in a gunfight.

Matrix locates Jenny in the basement of the villa, where she has fled and was cornered by Bennett. After a fierce struggle, Matrix finally kills Bennett. Kirby arrives with a military detachment and asks Matrix to rejoin the Special Forces Unit, but Matrix declines and departs the island aboard the seaplane with Jenny and Cindy.


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix
  • Rae Dawn Chong as Cindy
  • Alyssa Milano as Jenny
  • James Olson as General Kirby
  • Dan Hedaya as Arius
  • Vernon Wells as Bennett
  • Bill Duke as Cooke
  • David Patrick Kelly as Sully
  • Charles Meshack as Henriques



Screenwriter Jeph Loeb states that the film was originally conceived as a vehicle for Gene Simmons (who passed on it), and later scripted with Nick Nolte in mind to play the lead as an out-of-condition former commando struggling with the demands of his mission. Walter Hill was originally involved in the development process.

The original concept was for an Israeli special forces"Mossad agent, who is sick of the continual death and destruction in the Middle East. So he quits Israel and emigrates to the United States, where he is forced out of his self-imposed retirement after the kidnapping of his daughter. This was modified and further adapted when Schwarzenegger was cast; some of the original dialogue can be viewed in the deleted scenes when Matrix says he regrets his past actions.


Principal photography commenced on April 22, 1985 and lasted for 45 days. The film was shot on location in California. The unnamed island off the coast of Santa Barbara, to which Matrix flies to rescue his daughter, was filmed on the Pacific coast at San Simeon. The barracks that are "attacked" are actually beach properties belonging to the Hearst Castle Estate. The house that Matrix storms at the film's climax was actually the former main residence of the Harold Lloyd Estate in the Benedict Canyon district of Beverly Hills. The car chase scene between Sully and Matrix starts on Ventura Blvd and moves into the hills on Benedict Canyon.



Diamond Toymakers released a line of action figures in 1986 in an attempt to cash in on the success of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Matrix now leads an elite special forces unit (which replaced his old deceased unit from the original film) called C-Team, made up of Spex, Blaster, and Chopper, against the forces of F.E.A.R., led by Psycho (who is based on the character of Bennett) and consisting of Lead-Head, Stalker, and Sawbones. There was an assortment of 4" figures, containing all of the above, a series of 8" figures, consisting of Matrix, Spex, Blaster, Psycho, Lead-Head, and Stalker. Chopper and Sawbones are absent. Finally, there was an 18" John Matrix that came with a pistol, an M16, and a grenade.

Home media

The first DVD of Commando was released in region 1 in the U.S. on May 25, 1999. Common with early DVD releases, the disc featured a non-anamorphic video transfer, a basic 2.0 surround track, and only the US theatrical trailer as an extra. DVDs released in other regions soon followed, some with anamorphic transfers, but the 2001 UK region 2 DVD was censored by the BBFC (approximately 12 seconds of cuts) due to violence. These cuts were brought over from the 1985 original theatrical release. However, a German master was used for the UK DVD, meaning the film was cut even more than it should have been, leading to 56 seconds of cuts instead of the BBFC's 12 seconds. If the film had been resubmitted to the BBFC, it would be passed uncut under the BBFC's new, more liberal rules. This has proven to be the case as the BBFC's website indicates that both versions of the film (the U.S. theatrical cut and the unrated edition) for the DVD were passed on June 11, 2007. With the unrated edition released, the film is in its entirety, a first for the UK.

On June 5, 2007, 20th Century Fox officially announced that a completely unedited and unrated director's cut of the film would be released on region 1 DVD on September 18, 2007. Through seamless branching, this disc not only features an unrated cut (which was claimed to run at 95 minutes, but is only 91 minutes, with 92 seconds of extra footage), but as a bonus, also contains the original 90 minute, R-rated US theatrical version. Aside from this, the DVD is a special edition, featuring an audio commentary from director Mark L. Lester (only on the theatrical cut), additional deleted scenes, a Pure Action featurette, a Let Off Some Steam featurette, and four photo galleries with over 150 photos. The transfer is anamorphically enhanced and features a 5.1 audio mix.

In April 2008, the 90-minute theatrical version of the film was released to consumers on the high definition Blu-ray Disc format.


Box office

Commando was a commercial success. It was also the 7th top-grossing film of 1985 worldwide. It was outgrossed by The Color Purple, Out of Africa, Back to the Future, Sylvester Stallone's Rocky IV and Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Critical response

The film maintains a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes (based on 32 reviews), indicating generally positive reviews. Reviews from Kevin N. Laforest, Scott Weinberg, Dave Kehr and Luke Thomson acknowledge the film's tongue-in-cheek humor as well as its status as a cult classic.


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A soundtrack album was released by Varèse Sarabande on December 2, 2003 as part of the label's CD Club and was limited to 3000 copies. The score, composed by James Horner, is notable for its prominent use of steel drums.

A song titled "We Fight for Love", featured in the film and recorded by the Power Station, wasn't included in the official soundtrack. The song featured founder Robert Palmer's replacement, Michael Des Barres, and was the band's only song with Des Barres singing lead. It would appear on the 2006 remaster of The Power Station.

Track listing

  1. "Prologue/Main Title" " 3:58
  2. "Ambush and Kidnapping" " 2:35
  3. "Captured" " 2:14
  4. "Surprise" " 8:19
  5. "Sully Runs" " 4:34
  6. "Moving Jenny" " 3:44
  7. "Matrix Breaks In" " 3:30
  8. "Infiltration, Showdown and Finale" " 14:32

La-La Land Records released a limited edition of James Horner's score in August 2011. The release features approximately 62 minutes of music across 24 tracks.


A sequel was written by De Souza and Frank Darabont, based on the 1979 book Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, but Schwarzenegger was not interested. The script was reworked with a new central character, eventually played by Bruce Willis, and was retitled Die Hard. The fictitious country of Val Verde is later nodded to in Die Hard 2.


In 2008, a Russian remake ("???? "?) was made. It was produced and directed by Mikhail Porechenkov (who stars as John Matrix's equivalent) and also features Barbara Porechenkova, Mikhail Trukhin, Alexandra Ursulyak, and Bob Schrijber.

In 2010, it was announced that Fox would begin filming a remake of the film with David Ayer in negotiations to direct. Sam Worthington is attached to play the new lead role, which will reportedly have a more realistic approach.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Commando_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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