A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this action marathon has countless rounds of ammunition fired, some characters bloodily riddled with bullets, necks broken, one arm cut off, numerous stabbings/impalements, falls from lethal heights, ginormous fiery explosions, car crashes/rocket launches (sometimes in combination), etc. Real do-not-try-this-at-home moments include the main character leaping from an ascending airline to the ground and using buzz-saw blades as deadly Frisbees. Swearing is at R-level, with the hero dropping the F-bomb just like the other characters. Oh, and he lies when he promises one character he'll only kill him last. There's one quick, topless peek of woman in bed, part of a couple interrupted in motel sex.
What's the story?
Muscleguy John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a retired super-soldier of some sort, leading a placid existence with his preteen daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) in the woods (no word about what happened to the mother). Old cohorts-turned-enemies invade, abducting Jenny to force Matrix to carry out an assassination/coup in the mythical Latin American nation of "Valverde." Instead, Matrix escapes their clutches and takes the fight to the bad guys, one-man-army fashion, with the sometimes-clumsy assistance of a scared stewardess (Rae Dawn Chong) he encounters en route to the villains' lair.
Is it any good?
There were dopier 1980s action movies than this -- check out Sylvester Stallone in Cobra. Still, it's hard to argue very strongly with COMMANDO's listing by the cult-movie website Chud.com as one of the Ten Worst. While seldom boring (actually, when one fiery blast follows another by rote in the end, it does get pretty tiresome), the down-to-basics action narrative is ludicrous, and only Arnold's devoted (and juvenile) fans might find his "character'" compelling, as Matrix tears apart cars and malls with his bare hands. The champion bodybuilder-actor is indeed the one special effect that holds up best; when Arnold lifts a bad guy, the wire attached to the victim is visible, and "guards" around exploding buildings are clearly immobile cutouts/dummies.
Maybe it was all meant for laughs. At least John Matrix promises no more adventuring in the end; no sequels so far, though there has been talk of a Commando remake.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Schwarzenegger's famous defense of his action movies of this era as being mere "cartoon violence."
Does that really make all the deaths and mayhem in Commando worthwhile entertainment? Would a more realistic approach have worked?
Who is your favorite action hero? Why?
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.