'Commando - Director's Cut'
(Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Duke, Rae Dawn Chong, et al / DVD / R / (1985) 2007 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: Now you can take in all the kick-butt action and tense, thrilling moments of Commando the way director Mark L. Lester fully intended! Martial arts expert Colonel John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a commando without peer. And because he's led so many special-ops assignments, he's been "retired" in order to protect him from retaliation. But now a vicious South American dictator Matrix ousted has tracked him down and kidnapped his daughter! To get her back, Matrix must return to South America for one last mission: kill President Velasquez - at any cost!
DVD Verdict: COMMANDO (1985) marked the beginning of "Ahnold's" shift from stoic, badly acted adventure flicks with no dialogue to stoic, badly acted adventure flicks with dialogue. COMMANDO gives us the Governator at his steroidal apotheosis. The unrelieved muscularity of his physique is unbelievable in this film. A human mountain, he plays John Matrix, a Rambo-like figure who is dragged out of retirement by the Colonel Trautman-like General Kirby after members of his ultra-secret unit are killed in a series of hits.
Although "Matrix" translates as "Womb" in Latin, the English word has an inorganic feel to it, and in fact COMMANDO presages and even exceeds THE TERMINATOR films in its gratutitous violence. Matrix is a killing machine. Fortunately for the story, he is also a sympathetic doting father to Jenny (Alyssa Milano at age ten), and he has a wicked sense of humor---the one-liners in COMMANDO are legendary.
Matrix's idyllic retirement comes to an abrupt end when a crummy South American dictator, once overthrown by Matrix, plots his return to power and kidnaps Jenny to ensure Matrix's cooperation in overthrowing his democratic successor. Matrix sets out with the twin goals of rescuing Jenny and wreaking hell on said South American dictator. Along the way, Matrix shanghaies Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong) into helping him.
The violence is cartoonish and hilarious. Matrix jumps out of flying jets, he rips bucket seats out of cars barehanded, he smashes those same cars into telephone poles without injury, he breaks other people's bones with abandon, he drives bulldozers into stores, kills bad guys by the dozen, creatively "redecorates" the Galleria Mall, and all through it, he mutters lines like, "I eat Green Berets for breakfast...and right now I'm very hungry!" and "Remember when I said I'd kill you last? I lied." shortly before dropping a bad guy off a cliff ("I let him go," Matrix explains to Cindy).
In the third reel the Bandido Osterreicher revenges Butch and Sundance by singlehandedly killing the entire army of a small South American country, in the process rescuing his daughter, eliminating the crummy South American dictator, and finishing off Bennett, a rogue member of his old unit who is impaled by a length of iron pipe (which then emits a ton of steam).
This COMMANOD: Director's Cut DVD features the original 90-minute theatrical film and restores 96 seconds of mostly graphic violent shots that were trimmed to garner the film an R rating in this never-before-seen unrated version as envisioned by director Mark L. Lester restored back into the film via seamless branching. Additional DVD special features include director audio commentary, 3 deleted scenes which have not been added back into the film, two behind-the-scenes featurettes, photo galleries and more!
Forget logic. Forget reality. Essentially a live action cartoon, COMMANDO is a classic of the Beer Film genre of the mid-80's. Invite some buddies, crack open a few cold ones, ask She Who Must Be Obeyed to keep an eye on the hot dogs and chili, and kick back! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Full-Length Audio Commentary by Director Mark L. Lester
Pure Action Featurette
Let Off Some Steam Featurette
Exclusive Still Galleries - Over 160 Images
3 Added Scenes