Directed by Mark L. Lester
Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16 at 92YTribeca
Let's all take a moment to thank the script doctors that helped to make Commando so much fun. These punch-up artists really get the Schwarzenegger mystique. Which is to say: they understand that the guy can't act and shouldn't be expected to. Schwarzenegger's an action star; he can easily get by with just a well-timed snarl. Not everyone involved in the film got what to do with their Aryan behemoth of a leading man (who was responsible for tweezing of his eyebrows? Talk about overkill!). But the film is at its best during lowbrow screwball exchanges between Schwarzenegger and co-star Rae Dawn Chong. Tracy and Hepburn they ain't, but that's ok: when Chong protests, "You don't even have a car," and Arnie flips over a yellow roadster and crows, "I do now," it's just as entertaining, in its own way.
Chong plays Cindy, a flight attendant taken hostage by John Matrix (Schwarzenegger), a retired colonel in the US Special Forces whose daughter has been kidnapped by a would-be South American dictator. Matrix will inevitably get his man, as is evident from the brutal way he dispatches his opponents. For instance, after dropping a goon down a cliff head-first, Matrix boasts, "I had to let him go." (This after telling the soon-to-be-dropped villain that "I lied," when he promised to "kill you last.")
Schwarzenegger would have similarly gotten the job done with or without a script. But who could resist a film where Cindy rattles off a litany of complaints and then is simply shut down with a heavily-accented, "No," when she asks for more information? "Commando" is a meat-head's delight.