COMMANDO

Released: 1985


Commando – Jonny’s Favorite Film…

Tagline:

Somewhere… somehow… someone’s going to pay!

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:

Gay men get fucked by–not with–Arnold

Homoeroticism:

More than you could possibly imagine. I mean all the crap about Arnold being Der Gropin’fuhrer was just a rightwing-ruse to distract Californians from the fact that Schwarzenegger has starred in the single gayest movie ever made. The Republican Party had to make Schwarzenegger look like the worst heterosexual predator since Marv Albert just so that their own people would vote for him. For reals. The first time we see Arnold in Commando, Mr. Olympia is carrying a big chainsaw with a four-foot blade and an even larger log on one shoulder. He’s all sweaty and determined looking, rugged, and accompanied by a steamy steel drum and sax solo! Bear City, USA, man. While flipping through his daughter’s Tiger Beat a few scenes later, he exclaims, “Why don’t they just call him Girl George? It would cut down on the confusion.” Meaning of course that while others might have been confused about Boy George’s sexuality back in 1986, Arnold knew the straight truth. Or lack thereof.

When Arnold’s old commander comes to tell Die Governator that somebody is killing all of his old men, Schwarzenegger sneaks up behind him and puts a hard gun in his back. The commander says, “Silent and smooth — just like always.” Is that what straight men say when another dude sticks ‘em with something hard from behind? Didn’t think so. Arnold also of course picks up another man by his balls. And, for God knows what reason, Arnold is in a pair of skimpy speedos for at least four minutes. Just paddling around in a boat. Oh, wait — I know the reason.

But, you can’t talk about the amazing gayness of Commando without mentioning Bennett. In fact, if I ever go back to school, my thesis will detail how the late twentieth/early twenty-first century embracing of homosexuality stems from Vernon Wells’ portrayal of this particular character. After I’m done, West Hollywood will be renamed “Vernon Wells.” Where to even start… Bennett spends nearly the entire movie wearing the following outfit:

  • Leather pants
  • A black, sleeveless T-shirt
  • A chain mail vest
  • A large belt that turns said chain mail into a little skirt
  • Fingerless leather gloves
  • A dog chain choker
  • A flat top
  • A push broom moustache
  • A leather belt that he wore around the chain mail vest, making it seem as if he were wearing a skirt. Yes, I stated this point earlier, but holy fuck does it need repeating!

Basically your standard leather-daddy getup, minus the cop hat. His Australian accent doesn’t help things, either. For no apparent reason, Bennett exclaims, “John, I’m not going to shoot you between the eyes. I’m going to shoot you between the balls.” Money shoot him between the balls… But what really sent my gaydar off the chart was the following exchange between Arnold and Mr. Wells:

Matrix: “You can beat me… You want to put a knife in me. Look me in the eyes. See what’s going on in there while you turn it. That’s what you want to do to me, right? Come on, let the girl go. You and me. Don’t deprive yourself of some pleasure. Come on Bennett; let’s party.”

Bennett: “I don’t need the girl — I don’t need the girl!!

Short of Arnold actually licking Vernon’s ass, you simply could not come up with a gayer scene. Seriously, men fucking is straighter. And of course, you can’t spell Commando without “man,” “do” or “personal lubricant.”

Corpse Count:

Commando almost features more murders than it does homosexual innuendos. Almost. 146 people are shot, blown up, stabbed, scalped, dropped off cliffs and mutilated, and fully 138 of those onscreen deaths happen during a four-minute time frame. Four fucking minutes! Without doubt the bloodiest four minutes in the history of film, easily trumping the even finale of the great Death Wish 3. In one particularly noteworthy sequence, Schwarzenegger’s John Matrix character manages to commit five murders using a pitchfork, an axe, a machete and two circular saw blades–all within the span of twenty seconds! He even kills two guys with one bullet.

Maybe even more impressive than the amount of men that he kills is the amount of men that he just beats the living crap out of. Specifically one scene where he not only hits a guy with a phone booth, but then he throws eight grown men flying through the air at the same time! The Wachowskis obviously stole this far superior scene for Neo’s lame-ass fight with 5 dozen Agent Smiths in the Matrix sequel. And we know where they got the name of their film. And we know why the one brother is a cross-dressing transvestite.

How Bad Is It Really?

Bad? Bad? Look, I’ll be the first to admit that it is hard to retain one’s critical faculties while watching THE RADDEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!! But seriously, Commando rules. If the purpose of a film is solely to entertain, then no movie has anything on Commando. Did I mention that at one point Arnold and Alyssa Milano are feeding a deer? And that he’s wearing a pink shirt tucked into white shorts? Holy shit, that rules. What is also fantastic about Commando is that for all the ridiculously over-the-top uber-mensch moves Schwarzenegger makes, Rae Dawn Chong is constantly reminding us just how over-the-top and ridiculous all of the macho bullshit is. Here’s what I mean:

Cooke (The Great Bill Duke): “Scared, motherfucker? Well, you should be. Cause this Green Beret’s going to kick you ass.”

Matrix (Arnold): “I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now (punch) I’m (kick) very (slap) hungry.” Cooke gets tossed through a wall.

Cindy (Dawn Chong): “I don’t believe this macho bullshit!”

See, that’s what makes Commando succeed on so many levels. You don’t believe the macho bullshit, either. But you love it. The director tells you exactly what to think, in case the action is too fast and you can’t pay attention to everything that is going on. Like, when Arnold throws Cooke through the wall onto a couple who somehow kept having sex despite the four gunshots in the next room, Rae Dawn observes, “These guys eat too much red meat.” Again, exactly right. Also of note is when the naked couple emerges from underneath the covers, the woman is behind the man. Yeah, buddy!

One-Liner:

Move over Henny Youngman. Take a hike Don Rickles. Here comes Commando! Honestly, everything else aside (yes, even the hot man-on-man action), what I love most about Commando are all the brilliant, transcendent One-Liners.

From, “Don’t disturb my friend. He’s dead-tired” to “I’m air sick,” Commando trumps all other movies ever made–EVER–when it comes to One-Liners. I mean, even when the bad guy asks the eleven-year-old girl, “You’ll be together with him soon. Won’t that be nice?” The eleven-fucking-year-old girl says, “Not as nice as watching him smash your face in.” Even the soon-to-be-fodder for Arnold’s mighty gun D grade bad guys get to rip some off, “Slitting a little girl’s throat is like cutting warm butter.” However, Commando being Commando, Bennett retorts, “Put that knife away and shut your mouth.” Remember, in 80s Actions, knives are dicks.

Post-Mortem One-Liner:

Let’s be honest here. With the possible exception of Predator no other movie in history has half as many good sentences to hilariously celebrate the death of a fellow human being.

The greatest Post-Mortem One-Liner of all time is the following: Schwarzenegger has just chased down and run Sully’s (David Patrick Kelly) Porsche off the road with an Austin Healy Sprite. After ramming the Sprite head-on at 80 miles-per-hour into a telephone pole, Arnold checks to see if Rae Dawn is alive and then pulls Sully out of the Porsche, demanding to know where his (Matrix’s) daughter is. Sully tells him to fuck off. Arnold says, “Listen, loyalty is very touching but it’s not the most important thing in your life right now. Gravity is.” Great line, but, well, keep reading.

Arnold then carries Sully over to a cliff and dangles him over the edge by one leg (look for the wire holding Sully up). After some more words are exchanged, Schwarzenegger says to Sully, “Hey Sully, remember when I said I’d kill you last?” Sully then says, “Yeah, you promised you’d kill me last.” To which our governor responds, “I lied.” He then drops Sully off the side of Mulholland Drive. Now, I know what you are thinking. That is technically a “Pre-Mortem” One-Liner. Right, except for the fact that just before Schwarzenegger pushes Sully’s Porsche back onto its wheels, Rae Dawn asks, “What happened to Sully?”

“I had to let him go.”

Holy shit, is that funny/brilliant! It has had me laughing for the past twenty years.

Stupid Political Content:

None really. I mean all the usual romanticized military/vigilante crap is front and center, but it is obviously such homosexual fantasy that any overtures to the right are lost on everyone, save castratos. Sure, he lives isolated and alone with a literal arsenal in his tool shed, but look at that chest! We could begin to discuss how a man could murder over a dozen-dozen people and yet be smiling at the end of it all (sheer fascism), but then, those biceps start calling my name. All bulgy and shit. There is one odd part where Arnold explains to Alyssa Milano, “When I was a boy and Rock and Roll came to East Germany [the] communists said it was subversive… Maybe they were right?” But honestly, I had way too large of a hard-on to make heads or tails of it. OK, fine — tails.

Novelty Death:

At the climax of the “fight” between Bennett and Matrix, Arnold somehow manages to rip a 4-inch diameter pipe off the wall and hurl it through Bennett’s chest. Of course, before Arnold even sees the pipe, Bennett has a sub-machine gun leveled at him. And of course after the pipe goes through Bennett’s chest, Arnold says, “Let off some steam, Bennett.” God, I love this movie!!!

Was There An Atomic Blast At The End?

No, but Arnold’s old commander does say that he is expecting World War 3. He seems to be looking forward to Armageddon, too.

What You Learned:

If I was al Queda, I would not fuck with California while Schwarzenegger is in charge. Also, if you watch the scene when Arnold is blowing up all the military barracks, you can actually see the support beams that are holding up the dummies. Oh, and I am definitely, severely, chronically gay.

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About Jonny Lieberman

Jonny was the site’s co-founder and helped carry the place in the early years. There was a falling out with Erich and he left the site for good, but a lot of his reviews live on. He has moved on to a successful career writing about cars. Look him up.