Commando from 1985 was directed by Mark L. Lester and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Alyssa Milano, Vernon Wells, Bill Duke, and Dan Hedaya. Writer Jeff Loeb said his original script was about an Israeli soldier who had renounced violence. Steven de Souza rewrote the script, tailoring it to Schwarzenegger.
Commando follows Colonel John Matrix (Schwarzenegger) who is retired and living peaceably with his 10-year-old daughter (Alyssa Milano) when she is kidnapped by the henchmen of an exiled Latin American dictator. Whos plan is to reinstate himself in power by eliminating the president of his country, using Matrix to kill him (or he will kill the kidnapped daughter). Matrix escapes from the plane that is supposed to be carrying him to his mission and then proceeds to go from one violent confrontation to the next as he hunts down the dictator and moves to rescue his daughter. The film’s score was provided by James Horner.
Commando has since its release achieved cult status, due in no small part to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the film and the sheer charisma, screen-presence and killing capabilities of it’s leading man. Schwarzenegger is a likable guy and we want to root for him. The film is an over-the-top, cartoony, and brilliantly stupid action movie, which can be enjoyed because of its flaws, not despite them.
The opening credits are a montage of Matrix spending time with his daughter, the 1980’s music montage is happy and carefree. Matrix and Jenny are feeding a deer. John Matrix is just a single dad Doing His Best. The cheesy opening credits quickly and clearly explains the bond between father and daughter. Immediately after, the pace picks up and holds steady to a swift end that includes an always entertaining final confrontation between the main character and antagonist.