If you're anything like me, then perhaps you fondly remember a time when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the coolest guy in the world. His movies were the biggest blockbusters around and you thought Commando was actually a really great movie. Sadly time changes all things. Nowadays Arnold is a politician; his last few movies weren't exactly the best of his career; and well, Commando wasn't exactly the film you remember from when you were thirteen years old.
But man oh man, does it make for one heck of a DVD.
There's just something about kicking back with something as gloriously campy as this, laughing at the cheesy one-liners, wincing at the gratuitous gore, cheering Arnold as he unloads thousands of bullets at a bevy of villains who all fall down in unison without the bullets damaging the wall behind them. And what makes it even more satisfying is watching the extras on this and realizing that the filmmakers got that all along. This isn't a product of its age so much as it is a very self-aware film that knew exactly what age it was in. And it capitalized on that.
Commando: Directors Cut is one of those rare DVD offerings that is incredibly sparse in its extras (only two featurettes, a commentary track and three deleted scenes) but delivers with every second of extras it gives. The featurettes begin as a history lesson from the film's director, cast and writer (surprisingly absent are Joel Silver and modern Arnold himself – but they do use an old on-set interview with the Governator) about how the film came to be, that soon devolves into Rae Dawn Chong discussing the size of Arnold's member. It's a sobering look at the people who GOT what they were doing as well as the people who didn't and still think they made art. Not only is it at times very funny and revealing, but it really does give you the feeling that you're allowed to enjoy it for the camp. That you don't have to take it seriously. Because they don't.
Also are three additional scenes, one incredibly bad – but beautifully so – that seems to be a direct parody of the Col. Troutman Rambo explanation from First Blood. The second additional scene is just Arnold pose-walking after the climax, a scene that found its way into the director's version. And lastly, a wonderful series of attempts at getting just the right one-liner following the final "let off some steam" kill.
Look, there's no film more evocative of the golden Arnold era than Commando. It has several of the catch phrases we know and love, plays to all the typical Arnie stereotypes and shots, and really is the mold for every non-Cameron Schwarzenegger film to follow. If you love all things Arnie, there is no reason this shouldn't be in your collection. It might not be brimming with extras, but the extras they provide are actually worth the price.
C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me
Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD five times a week.