Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Commando Movie Poster Image
Brainless, explosion-happy action ('80s style).
  • R
  • 1985
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 23 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Mainly the implied notions that Matrix is a devoted father, and the gung-ho vibe that one above-the-law guy with lots of firepower can take care of business, whereas police and legitimate military are useless.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even though one commentator counted that he kills up to 95 or 96 people, Matrix is supposed to be a straight-ahead good guy and protective dad. The villain roster leans a little heavily toward dark-haired/darker-skinned foreign types (as opposed to Arnold, a very Anglo foreign type). Leading lady Stephanie is African American (rarer even back then than today), though at times she's a bit of a comic bumbler.


Blood spatters as people are shot, often multiple times. One arm cut off. An electrocution (oddly non-fatal), numerous stabbings/impalements, beat-downs, falls from lethal heights, big explosions, car crashes. One tranquilizer-darting. Another character fatally slammed into by a car. One character's neck broken.


Brief glimpse of a naked couple in bed when a motel-room door is broken town; bare breasts shown. The heroine pretends to be seducing a bad guy.


The f-word repeatedly (once uttered by the hero), the s-word,  "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Matrix invited to have a beer.

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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written bySircjalot November 18, 2018

Fun over the top action movie!

With any Arnold Schwarzenegger film, your gonna expect some level of violence. Commando is a violent but at the same time light hearted fun movie. In this movie... Continue reading
Adult Written byRarityfan2019 April 16, 2020

In a year ten of C64 and VHS action packs

If you collect some good old 1980s action movies VHS cassettes this has to be one of these. No Oscar bait here just some Arnold pumping the iron and lots of min... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 13, 2015

Action Packed and entertaining!

One of my most favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movies! The story was entertaining but could have been a little more creative.The main story was about John (an e... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old November 10, 2020

Action-packed greatness!!! Gotta love the 80's!

Awesome movie with some funny parts and amazing violence. Not much swering for an R rated movie.

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 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?

Movie details

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