WARNING: If you have not seen Commando, then DO NOT read on for this will ruin the entire film!!!
Ah the good old days of action movies, the days when plot came secondary to some good old punch ups, explosions, gun fights and fights with any other sorts of weapons made available. The days when the bad guys really were bad guys, and didn’t need the audience to feel some sort of pity for them or their actions. The days when bad guys were as horrible and brutal as Commando’s “I don’t need the girl!” Bennett (Vernon Wells): a force of nature in his own right who would probably take on and destroy any and all comers. The days when the hero was one Arnold Schwarzenegger: the man mountain who simply wouldn’t, and couldn’t, die, and the hero who you knew, without a shadow of a doubt, would get his man and fucking annihilate him.
The 80’s action heroes like Arnie and Stallone are still churning out films today, but in their heyday they were simply untouchable, and granted viewers a certain safety in that you knew they would win, it was just a matter of how they won and how many they would take down with them. Back then, the characters they played were not really important, it was the actor who you had come to see. In Commando, Arnie plays former Black Ops Commando John Matrix, but to us it is simply Arnie in a new set of clothes with a different problem to fix. His problem here is the ferociously moustached Bennett, a bitter and twisted former colleague and equally as dangerous. When Bennett takes Arnie’s (sorry, John Matrix’s) daughter in order to force him to do a job he doesn’t want to, and you just know that all hell will indeed break loose.
With the clock ticking, and only so many hours left to pull off his master plan of getting his daughter back safely, Matrix sets off on a one man mission to cause as much death and destruction as he can. He kills his way through Bennett’s henchmen in glorious style, each brute meeting his maker worse than the one before. The final showdown on an island is one of the most glorious displays of ultra over the top violence ever filmed, as Arnie kits himself out in full on Commando gear, with more weapons than you would find in your average weapons warehouse attached to all sorts of belts, clips and commando jackets. With multiple knives in his boots, grenades in his jacket, a freakin rocket launcher and ultra cool face paint, Arnie takes on Bennetts entire army, single handedly, until we get the ultimate showdown with Bennett himself.
The clip has the full fight in all its glory, and it is one hell of fight between an unstoppable man mountain and a crazed, moustached maniac wearing metal chain-like vest who is also unstoppable. Pummelling each other, stabbing, trying to set the other on fire, electrocution and smashing metal doors and bars on each others bodies, any normal man would have died hours ago. Not here though, and the two go at it like there’s no tomorrow, bashing each other while having a conversation between punches, they even tell their opponent what they plan to do next: “I’m not gonna shoot you between the eyes John, I’m gonna shoot you between the balls!” Take note of the lack of music, because all we need here is the sounds of fists flying into flesh, and the odd grunt. In fact, watch in wonder as the pair communicate through simple grunts as each attempts to put the others face into a furnace.
It is savage stuff, and the words “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore” ring true. The classic fight scene is topped off with Bennett becoming superhuman after being electrocuted, battering Arnie into oblivion and preparing to finish him off. Then, then comes the classic hero comeback as Bennett talks us through his thoughts: “I feel good John” he declares, then warning “you’re a dead man John!”. How does Arnie, sorry, Matrix respond? Simple, he firmly bellows “bullshit!!!” and batters Bennett to a bloody pulp, finishing him off in fine style as he throws a massive piece of piping through the air, straight into Bennett chest. Bennett is stood in front of a gas canister, and steam shoots out from the gaping hole left in his chest through the pipe. Arnie delivers one of his greatest one liners: “Let off some steam Bennett” Pure genius!
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