Commando

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 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 20 reviews

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism
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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTheUltamite July 6, 2012

Stupidity at its finest

It's the perfect movie to see if you want over the top action, It's got Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's got explosions, and about anything else neede... Continue reading
Adult Written byNathan009 November 8, 2014

Arnies done it again

Commando is a full action packed one man team film with Arnold swarzenegger. Commando Is one of armies best films along with predator.
Kid, 11 years old May 16, 2010
Teen, 16 years old Written byBigA2 April 13, 2011

The Ultimate Guilty Pleasure of Cinema

Your daughter has been kidnapped by a team of evil mercenaries, what do you do? Well, if you Arnold Schwarzenegger, the only logical thing to do would be to run... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

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