Commando (1985)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In Commando, retired Special Forces officer, Colonel John Matrix tries to live quiet life. Out in the remote countryside, he happily lives with his daughter, Jenny. However, when a group of mercenaries, along with former colleagues of his, kidnap his daughter to force him to assassinate a central American leader or they will kill the girl, the Colonel makes other plans.

‘Commando’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Commando (1985)In 1985’s Commando, Colonel John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in an ex-Military Squad Leader who’s made enemies all over the world; Russia, South America… and apparently the WGA as well.

The movie starts with a series of murders; carried out in the most ridiculous, over the top way imaginable: machine guns in a quiet neighborhood; driving a new car through the dealership window; and blowing up a fishing boat in the harbor—all the while, not attracting any attention from anyone else around.

Flash forward to a middle of nowhere mountain escape where Matrix raises his daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano). Matrix spends his days chopping wood, teaching Jenny karate, feeding deer and walking his log… yes, walking his log. No, that’s not a metaphor. He’s literally walking a log.

Suddenly, during a quiet, peaceful lunch at their middle of nowhere jungle hideaway, a helicopter shows up carrying General Franklin Kirby (James Olson). Kirby tells Matrix that someone is murdering all of his former squad, and that they will be coming for him next. Matrix tells him that he’s out of all that. He’s now just trying to build a normal life here in the remote jungle with his daughter… and no wife… and his log.

Kirby exits, but leaves behind a few military redshirts for the bad guys to gun down within the next few frames. Sure enough, bullets soon start blazing, and the bad guys mow down everyone they can. Matrix tells Jenny to go to her room while he runs to his heavily stocked munitions shed. It’s filled with every kind of weapon imaginable, and secured behind a solid steal door and keypad entry—with a 2 digit passcode.

When Matrix gets back to the house, he finds the goons have captured Jenny and are hightailing it out in their rugged, off-road Mercedes Sedan. Matrix runs to his truck to go after them but finds that some extremely random wires have been disconnected. So he does what any not-so-realistic dad would do. He pushes the truck over the side of the hill, and begins to go after them. Since they are driving back and forth on a series of switchbacks and he is going straight down, odds are he is going to catch them quickly. Not only does he catch them, he goes right past them. Somehow, even though he is now below them, he passes them again… and again.

Finally, after magically passing them three times, he crashes into the lead car, and gets out kicking and swinging. Unfortunately, they have guns. Matrix didn’t think to bring any of those automatic weapons with him on his joyride. They wrestle him to the ground when in steps Bennett (Vernon Wells). He’s one of the goons whom the bad guys supposedly killed in the beginning. He shoots Matrix with a tranquilizer dart that goes to work instantly. Yes, INSTANTLY.

Flash forward to an unknown a warehouse. Matrix wakes up, and President Arius (Dan Hedaya) stand over him. They inform Matrix that they to kill all of Matrix’s men so General Kirby would lead them to him. Arius demands Matrix go to the fictional South American country of Val Verde, and kill the current president. If he doesn’t, they will kill Jenny.

Next, a slime ball named Sully (David Patrick Kelly) and a goon named Henriquez (Charles Meshack) take Matrix to the airport. Sully is there to ensure Matrix gets on his 11 hour flight to Val Verde while Henriquez will go with him to make sure Matrix does as El Presidente says. As the men board, Sully calls Bennett to let him know everything is on schedule. AN IMPORTANT NOTE TO REMEMBER HERE—IT’S AN 11 HOUR FLIGHT! If you’re not wearing a watch, don’t worry, Matrix is. He will keep time for us.

Once on the plane, and before it takes off, Matrix silently breaks Henriquez’s neck (in first class), and no one notices. He then puts a blanket and straw hat on Henriquez to hide the carnage. After this, comes what may be one of the most ridiculous escape sequences in the history of motion pictures. While the plane taxies down the runway, Matrix makes his way to the bathroom, which apparently has an elevator down to the cargo hold.

He breaks through into the wheel well (because apparently there are no warning buzzers that go off in the cockpit when you break into the cargo area during takeoff) as the plane gains speed. Rather than stop, drop, and roll on the runway, Matrix waits until the plane is airborne! He then decides to jump a thousand feet, staying perfectly still (since it is obviously a mannequin), and lands in a 3 foot pool of water. He instantly gets up (no broken back), and is only wet from the waist down.

Back at the terminal, Sully eavesdrops on a super-sexy flight attendant named Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong), who is on a call with someone standing her up on a date. Upon hearing the news, Sully, takes his 5’2”, 100 pound bundle of Boy Toy, and hits on her in the typical ‘80s obnoxious way. Cindy blows him off, but a relentless Sully follows her to her car, and takes one more shot at her with some more patented ‘80s pickup lines. Rejected, Sully drives off, but not before calling her a fuckin’ whore.

Suddenly, the top of Cindy’s convertible is open without her ever doing anything. Matrix’s massive biceps reach up, and grab her. He orders her to follow Sully, but first he has to rip the passenger seat out of her car for no reason. They follow the putz to a mall where Matrix finally tells Cindy what is going on. He orders her to go flirt with the guy, and coerce him to come over to where he’s waiting.

Meanwhile, Sully sits in a mall restaurant with some random South American goon who is an expert at transmissions. Sully hands the goon a briefcase full of money, and the goon hands him three passports.

Meanwhile Cindy, who doesn’t believe Matrix, tells a security guard that someone has kidnapped her, and asks him to help her. The guard takes one look at Matrix, and gets another security guard named Biggs (Greg Wayne Elam) to help him. Biggs pauses from flirting with a couple of girls long enough to call in in for backup because up until now, all Matrix has done is stand next to the elevator. We don’t need that kind of bad element in this here mall.

Suddenly, Matrix finds security guards all around him—LOTS of security guards. Sully sees Matrix, freaks out, and runs to a phone booth. After fighting off the first wave of guards, Matrix runs after him. Even though Sully has a gun, and Matrix is standing right in front of him, Sully fails to shoot him. He runs into the phone booth where Matrix picks it up (like he did with his pet log) and throws it upside down.

As more and more security guards come running, Sully makes his escape. The South American goon runs guns a blazing out of the restaurant—even though no one knows who he is. Meanwhile, all the guards want to beat the crap out of Matrix for some reason—the only guy who DOESN’T have a gun.

Sully jumps in his car and escapes, but Matrix (who somehow has Cindy’s keys) jumps in her car and gives chase. Half way around the corner, Cindy comes running out of the mall and catches Matrix; because we all know there’s only one entrance to The Galleria. She jumps in, and they chase Sully from the city and up into the foothills—tires screeching all the way even though they only going about 12 miles an hour on straightaways. Matrix rams Sully, knocking him off the road. His Porsche flips on its side. Then Matrix and Cindy slam head on into a telephone pole with no seatbelts which results in nothing more than another cheesy one-liner.

Matrix crosses over to Sully, grabs him by the leg, and dangles him over a cliff. He then grabs a pair of motel keys from the thug, and somehow deduces that this is where he was going to meet yet another goon. He lets go of Sully who screams the whole way down, and lands with a Wile E. Coyote splat.

Meanwhile Cindy, who is only a few feet away, somehow still has to ask, “What’d you do with Sully?” To which Matrix replies, “I let him go.” They jump into Sully’s wrecked piss-yellow Porsche (which has magically repaired all the side door damage), and off they go to second act of the movie.

The next two scenes are so ridiculous, let’s just abbreviate. Matrix gets in a fight. He’s hungry. He eats a Green Beret for breakfast to win the fight. Then he winds up in the back of a SWAT truck before explosions and a big escape.

Next Matrix and Cindy arrive at the shipping docks in downtown San Pedro, which is a sub-division of Long Beach. While Cindy waits in the car, Matrix climbs through a series of fences, up drainpipes onto the second floor, through rafters and catwalks, and into a vacant room. Once there, he opens a window in the room, and somehow Cindy magically waiting on the other side.

Inside the warehouse are dozens of South Americans loading up tons of military equipment, machine guns, rocket launchers, etc … all from the war zone known as Long Beach, California.

Matrix sees a romantic picture of someone’s airplane and somehow deduces they are using the plane to fly out to an island off of Santa Barbara . Maybe that’s where they have Jenny? He got all that from a random picture of a seaplane.

Cindy (who’s coincidentally getting her pilots license) and Matrix make their way to the seaplane. Along the way, they dodge armed vigilantes patrolling the complex in South American army jeeps while firing at them with machine guns. Once again, THIS IS LONG BEACH… LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA. A STONE’S THROW FROM DISNEYLAND!!! WHAT THE HELL ARE ARMED VIGILANTES DOING PATROLLING THE DOCS OF LONG BEACH WITH MACHINE GUNS?

Matrix and Jenny make their escape in the plane, but their flight path takes them over a missile testing range. An Intercept Officer (Bill Paxton) orders them to land, but Cindy flies close to the ground to evade their radar.

Finally the two make it to the island off Santa Barbara, and land the seaplane in the waters outside it. Matrix gets out, and decides that the only way he can make it to the island is to change into a Speedo and row there in a life raft. Meanwhile, the plane Matrix was supposed to be on lands in Val Verde (which is actually Long Beach airport with a few fruit stands thrown out front). Some unnamed South American extras spot the flight crew removing a dead body from the plane, and realize that Matrix was not on the 11-hour flight.

REALITY CHECK: This 11-hour flight took us from mid day one day, to the mall that night, back to middle of the afternoon the next day.

Now, the absurdity REALLY kicks in! Matrix hits the shores of the island with a full arsenal of weapons, and a whole lot of Santa Barbara / South Americans to kill. However, this island has forts, machine gun towers, tanks, and enough arsenal to invade a small country; like Val Verde.

The vigilantes begin to fire on Matrix with machine guns, tanks, and grenades; you name it, they have it on this island. Once again, the island is off Santa Barbara… part of California… here in the United States. Matrix begins mowing them down one after one, and when that doesn’t work, he sets up a series of huge explosions.

In the meantime, Jenny (remember her) uses a doorknob to ply her way through the balsa wood covering a window in the room the villains were holding her captive. She runs across the compound and down into a steam-room filled basement where she will hide until all the chaos blows over. Unfortunately, Bennett is on to her, and wants to nab her down there.

Eventually, Matrix finds himself face to face to President Arius, where the two have one hell of a firefight. After Matrix blasts Arius Scarface style with several shotgun rounds to the chest, he somehow magically hears Jenny call out to him from that basement across the compound in another building through all the gunfire.

His parental instinct kick in, and he makes a dash down the stairs to the basement in the house he’s currently in. Somehow it magically connects to the other compound, and Matrix begins looking for Jenny.

However, Bennett finds and grabs Jenny before Matrix can. As Matrix finds them, he comes face to face with Bennett, who has a knife to Jenny’s throat. Bennett shoots Matrix in the shoulder; wounding him. The two stare each other down; Bennett holding a gun and Matrix a knife. It’s our big finale, and Matrix talks Bennett into a mano a mano challenge.

Bennett accepts, throws his gun at Matrix, and whips out his knife. After battling back and forth for a bit, the muscle-bound Matrix and the soft-bellied Bennett lock arms. In one of the most hideous scenes in cinematic history, Matrix throws Bennett into a random electric generator that happens to stick out of a fence for no reason; electrocuting Bennett with what would have killed a dozen Ted Bundies. Rather than frying the absurdly screaming Bennett, he somehow gets that Last Dragon glow, and launches himself at Matrix with fists blazing.

Finally, Matrix unleashes a series ungodly punches; knocking Bennett to the floor. Bennett grabs his gun before threatening to shoot Matrix between the balls. That gives Matrix enough time to rip a steam pipe off the wall and launch it at Bennett; impaling him into the steam vent before he dies.

As Matrix and Jenny exit the compound, they arrive back on the beach where General Kirby lands with reinforcements and Cindy’s seaplane. Matrix and Kirby stare at each other for about 5 seconds before Kirby tells Matrix that he wants Matrix to come back and start up his old unit again. Matrix turns Kirby down, and says this was his last time. He and Jenny walk out to Cindy’s seaplane, and the three fly off into the sunset.

Additional Film Information

Rate the Film!

Our Rating

Our Rating

Twentieth Century Fox released Commando on October 4, 1985. Mark L. Lester directed the film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, and Dan Hedaya.

User Rating: 1.9 ( 1 votes)
Show More
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x