Let me just get one thing out of the way first...if you take this film seriously then you are COMPLETELY missing the point.
Between Terminator and Predator big Arn made another one-word tough-guy action film that delivered what it promised and then some. Commando is almost tailor-made for Arnie's style of over-the-top action. In fact, I wouldn't say that this film goes over-the-top as much as I would say it launches into the stratosphere, powered by utterly implausible action, corny-as-hell one-liners, a ludicrous plot, and the campiest, least-threatening villain in movie history.
Arnie plays John Matrix (yeah, you really did read that correctly) an East-German defector and retired Special Forces Operative (at the age of 37!) who only wishes to live a life of peace with his daughter Chenny in a cozy cabin on Mount Baldy, California (the kind of place you'd expect Larry David to live). Trouble arises when Cooke (the incredible stoic Bill Duke) an emotionless hitman, starts knocking off Matrix's former comrades. It's all just a ruse to lure him out of hiding and snatch his daughter, a plan 'masterminded' by Bennett, Freddie Mercury's twin brother and the man Matrix kicked out of his unit because 'he enjoyed killing a little too much'.
Matrix's mission is to fly out to Val Verde and kill the democratically elected President that he himself helped to install after overthrowing Arius (Dan Heydaya) a brutal dictator. With Chenny being used as blackmail, Matrix has no option but to go along with the plot. But he'll be back sooner than you think as he's the kind of guy who just exits a plane during mid-take-off. After dragging Cindy, an easily excitable flight-attendant (Rae Dawn Chong), along for the ride Matrix pummels his way through Bennett's henchmen and Arius' piss-ant soldiers one by one, hoping to find Chenny before the plane lands in Val Verde.
There's little in this film that makes sense (such as how could a brutal dictator be exiled to an island just a few minutes of the California coast and the Pentagon NOT know about it? and Why is every one of Arius' piss-ant soldiers the same man in a hat with a fake mustache and gun?) but I'll be damned if it's not entertaining. Almost everything Bennett says is a one-liner for the ages. And don't get me started on the sub-text! He basically kidnaps Chenny (and does the job for free) because he's jealous of her. And if you just listen to his hysterical final confrontation with Matrix, and turn your head away from the screen...tell me that DOESN'T sound like a man-on-man love scene. It honestly would not surprise me if footage of Bennett was played on a constant loop on giant screens in gay night-clubs.
James Horner's score is also utterly brilliant, almost never stopping from start to finish, thundering the action along with sharp, punchy strings, eccentric saxophones, and upbeat, funky steel drums. This is truly one of Horner's best efforts, forget Braveheart or Titanic and hunt down the Commando score CD.
Mark L. Lester's career sort of withered away after the 80s, but this movie is certainly his crowning achievement and helped solidify Arnie's reputation as an endlessly likeable, bigger-than-life movie star. There have been talks of a remake directed by David Ayer and starring Sam Worthington (the names attached at the time of writing). They want to make it more gritty and serious apparently. Are you kidding me? Making Commando more gritty and serious is like adding ketchup to custard in order to make it 'more of a dinner'. It just won't work. And besides, 20th Century Fox virtually remade Commando in 2007 with the dull John Cena flick The Marine (they really stretched their imagination when they came up with THAT title), further proving that a remake is a stupid idea.
The Blu Ray looks above average in 1080p 1.85:1. It was one of the first Blu Rays Fox released and I wish they put a bit more effort into it (it doesn't even feature the Director's Cut, which which came out on DVD at the same time. The DTS HD-MA soundtrack highlights some of the more dated elements of the sound design (plain old Dolby Stereo A) but is otherwise passable. There are no extras.
The UK Blu Ray does NOT feature the old BBFC cuts made to all previous home video releases.