Cheese-tastic Classics: “Commando”

Another edition of “Cheese-tastic Classics”! This is a very special installment, as it marks the series debut of the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. For his inaugural appearance? There is no better movie than “Commando”, a true masterpiece du fromage.

In this post, I have something extra special for Commando fans! Incontrovertible documentation that finally answers the question “Just how many dudes does Schwarzenegger kill in the infamous assault on the island scene?”

Ohhhh yes I do…

John Matrix lives with his daughter in a secluded house on a mountainside. They live in a state of bliss that has rarely been experienced by humans. It is rumored to have been achieved only by the high level gurus and dedicated practitioners of transcendental meditation. Babies on ecstasy aren’t this happy. But Matrix and his daughter Jenny are. It’s a nirvana on earth that nearly qualifies as an alternate plane of existence…

Matrix, however, is ex-special forces.

And his past is about to catch up to him.

His old team members are being tracked down and killed… it’s feared that he’s next.  And it’s true, he is.

Shortly after being informed that he might be in danger, his home is invaded by a tactical squad that kills the guards that were left stationed there, and then kidnaps his daughter. Matrix makes his first kills of the movie, and rolls his sabotaged truck straight down the mountainside in a kamikaze attempt to prevent the kidnapper’s getaway, but he’s too late. They have Jenny.

JENNY!!

Apprehended by the kidnappers who took Jenny, Matrix is held captive himself, and given an ultimatum. A South American dictator (Arius) that Matrix helped to depose now wants Matrix to help him regain control of his country – Val Verde. Matrix, you see, could gain an audience with the ruler that the US installed, seeing as he was instrumental in helping him gain power. Then, Matrix would be in position to carry out an assassination.

If he doesn’t agree, Jenny will be killed. Matrix’s former squadmate in the Special Forces, Bennett, holds a knife to his daughter’s throat in order to demonstrate their seriousness.

JENNY!!

Matrix reluctantly agrees, but only to be set free of his captivity. He’s escorted to the airport and put on a plane to Val Verde along with an armed escort. As soon as the guard is distracted, though, Matrix strikes. In a swift and silent act, he kills his captor, and then looks for a way to escape the plane. Taking off at 150+ MPH? 100 feet or so off the deck? It doesn’t slow Matrix down one bit… he jumps from the landing gear, splashes down in a bog at the end of the runway, and gets up as if it were nothing. NOTHING.

He gets off the airplane and shadows Sully through the airport. The skeevy little minion is attempting to pick up a stewardess who’s just getting off work. The audience is introduced to Cindy, played by Rae Dawn Chong, in what has to be one of the least well written and most horribly acted characters ever brought to the screen.

Unfortunately for Cindy, Matrix will stop at nothing to save his daughter (JENNY!!) and she’s in position to help him. So Matrix forces his way into her car, and makes her follow Sully… After a confrontation in a shopping mall that results in about five dead cops, a dead associate of Sully’s, Matrix Tarzan swinging above the food court, Matrix and Sully wind up in a high-speed car chase that ends with Sully flipping his Porsche, and Matrix and Cindy slamming into a telephone pole without incurring any injuries whatsoever.

Matrix then proceeds to dangle Sully over the edge of a cliff, trying to scare the whereabouts of his daughter out of him. When he gets the piece of information he needs… it’s asta la vista, baby.

“Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?”

“That’s right, Matrix you did!!” 

“I lied.”

After disposing of Sully, Matrix is one step closer to learning the location of his daughter (JENNY!!). He lays an ambush for Cooke, the next Arius associate in the chain. After a fight in a motel, Matrix, with Cindy still in tow, is led to a warehouse where he obtains the location of Arius’ island. Now he has his target, all he needs is some gear. He drives a bulldozer through the front window of a store with a cache of military weapons (subtlety is not Matrix’s strong suit), he and Cindy begin to load up weapons for his assault on Arius’ island.

Unfortunately for Matrix, apparently the Police will arrest you if you just drive bulldozers through the front of stores… who knew? He’s hauled away by the cops, and his mission to save his daughter (JENNY!!) is in jeopardy.

Thankfully for him, Cindy is so loyal by this point that she’s willing to fire a bazooka at the Police.

The Police van flips and explodes in a manner that allows Matrix to escape unharmed. Once freed, he and Cindy hightail it to the local Marina and commandeer an amphibious light plane (Cindy knows how to fly, of course) and head to the island to begin one of the most legendary sequences in movie history.

Once on the Island, Matrix gears up. Putting on a cargo vest, putting on his war paint, strapping himself up with weapons. He is about to embark on one of the most prolific killing rampages in movie history. The bullets will fly, the corpses will pile up. Matrix will use machine guns, hand guns, rocket launchers, knives… landscaping tools. His kill count tally grows exponentially with every second that passes. It’s long been thought of as too much carnage to keep track of…

Until now.

A few words on the methodology. If a victim jumps backwards with arms flailing, or slumps over clutching their stomach, or falls from a height… they are considered to have been killed.

Because John Matrix does not miss.

There are no “wounded”, no “survivors”, just a lot of deaded dudes.

I took care not to double count kills. They came rapidly, it wasn’t easy. Many of the victims were actually the same actors with new fake mustaches just lining up to get killed anew. But it was worth it… the exciting results of my research proved that the true tally was actually higher than previous estimates had speculated! (I was the one doing the speculating) The count was previously thought to be somewhere in the mid 70s.

But I am here to tell you today… The final answer? 86.

The evidence is below.

After easily dispensing of Arius’ personal army, Matrix dispatches the dictator himself. A shotgun blast to the chest kills him unceremoniously…

But Bennett still awaits.

Jenny (JENNY!!) who has gotten loose, leads Bennett on a chase into the basement boiler room. Matrix follows, the only thing between he and his daughter’s safe return (JENNY!!) now being his former squad mate. It’s a mano a mano conflict that was pre-destined from the outset.

Matrix goads Bennett into a knife fight. The blades slash and flash. The two choke each other, punch each other. It’s a throw down of epic proportions. Bennett actually survives being electrocuted at one point.

And in the end, it’s resolved by Matrix ripping a pipe off of the wall, and hurling it so powerfully, it impales Bennett right through his faux-chainmail shirt.

“Let off some steam, Bennett”

Matrix has saved Jenny. Balance is restored to their world. Bliss is once again felt rippling across the universe. It’s the stuff that musicals are made out of…

Daniel Fogarty

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58 thoughts on “Cheese-tastic Classics: “Commando”

      • Many, many times!

        When he gets a little bit older I plan on making him a Halloween costume with chain-mail and steaming pipe coming out of his chest. We’ll see what the wife thinks about that. haha

      • I can’t even say that this year during football games….Bennett….Love how you did a play by play of the deaths. Hey Sully, remember when I promised to kill you last? I lied. Love how when he flips the porsche back on it’s wheels, the side isn’t destroyed anymore. Looks like it was just taken off the showroom floor. A horribly wonderful movie that I can’t take my eyes off.

      • :D

        You know damn well I’ve always wondered what the answer to the kill count question was.

        Now we know.

        I’m sure that line’ll make an appearance or two somehow anyways… or we’ll find new ones. There’s always new ones. LOL

  1. JENNY!! Man that’s hilarious FOGS!! haha This has to be one of the funniest things I have read on this site. Good job for reviewing this masterpiece of cinema in such detail even to the body count! Speaking as an action junkie, I approve what you have done here. I like when Matrix gets knocked down by the car and his wallet falls out, yet he has it later? CHEESE-TASTIC!!

    • :D Well, I’m extra glad that YOU approve, because if memory serves, I promised you that I would do “Hard to Kill” next. LOL.

      I actually tried, but when I went to pick it up at the store, they didnt have it… It’s still on the docket man, that’ll be a fun one to do too.

      Meanwhile, this flick is just ridiculous in a great way. The wallet thing… how about when the cops pig pile on him and he just busts out of it by standing up and flexing. LOL. So much cheese. So. Much. Cheese.:D

  2. Haha this is the best post i have seen in a while, love Commando :D
    The Killing stills where good :)
    “Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?”
    “That’s right, Matrix you did!!”
    “I lied.”
    Best line ever :D
    I will be sharing this out.

    • :D Thanks Tim! You can help us save Jenny!

      JENNY!!

      Glad everyone is appreciating the massacre screenshots. LOL. I was cracking up the whole time doing them, it was way too funnny, to me.

  3. Cheese-orama! It’s a great one. I like your play-by-play on death count – very cool :-)
    “I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now, I’m very hungry!” – Matrix, Commando

    • “You’re a funny guy S, I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last”

      Ok “I Lied” I’m not going to kill you.

      I’ve been obsessing over that scene for years. Everytime it came on I tried to keep count in my head. Never could. Had to take it all the way for this though… LOL!

  4. Unbelievable! Amazing! Fantastic! Ok it’s pretty good. What dedication! The body count work is a scream! But what next? Parsing the kills by machine gun, rifle, knife and landscaping tools? This tops the list for Classic Cheese! Funny, but I can’t remember if I actually liked this film or not, but who cares, this review is better anyway!

      • Naw, can’t see it again now. I’d end up counting bodies like sheep or something. This movie was just made for C.C.C.(classic, crap, cheese)!

  5. The script for Commando made more sense than the script for Prometheus. This film makes me want to buy a Ford Bronco, that thing can take a beating.

    • In fairness, it DOES burst into flames at the bottom of the hill. LOL. But I do think there were some hollywood pyrotechnics involved. It had a great run on the way down. :D

      It’s a simple story… a dad needs to get his daughter back. And to do that, he has to kill a lot of dudes.

      Classic…

  6. ROFL!! I love it! I have seen Commando so many times…its sad. LOVE this movie. Epic cheese. I must admit if I had to start with an Arnold movie I would have done Predator first, but maybe your saving the best for last…which would have to compete with T2. Anywho! I love the death count! Thanks for the cheese!!!

  7. Literally the best one-liners of Schwarzenegger’s career. And good to know. I love the trampolining henchman as the grenades start flying!

    • Well, this is a gret recommendation for you then if you like cheesy movies.

      X:Men Origins Wolverine had a plot? LOL

      Just kidding, yeah, “Taken” too. Bunch of “rescue the princess” flicks are like this I suppose.

      But this has more deaths by farm implements than any of them I’d bet! :D

      • I wasn’t thinking so much of the “rescue the princess”, but more of the fact that someone is taking out members of his old team and it ends in a final showdown between him and another member of his team.

      • Ah. Yes. There is that. For sure!

        Now I see the similarities… in fact, Wolverine’s girl didn’t get kidnapped, she got killed, what was I thinking? :D

  8. Fogs, you & I have BOTH passed up the chance to get Vernon Wells’ (Bennett) autograph TWICE @ ComicCon now. Don’t pass it up again this year! You know he’s gonna be there.

    While you’re there, throw Herb “Boomer” Jefferson a bone as well.

  9. Haven’t seen this yet — it’s on the list — but I applaud the effort that went into tallying up the body count. It’s amazing how many films don’t have that statistic on hand.

    • I know, right? With this one, it should be on the DVD/Blu Ray box cover in one of those excited “New and Improved” style balloons…

      100+ Killed! LOL. Lets just put it right up front.

      They counter balance it at least by overdoing the Father Daughter affection :D

  10. I watched this movie many times and still think the Frisbee saw blade was the funniest kill of the movie. I almost consider this movie a comedy.

  11. My god, this was epic.

    One of the more hilarious plot contrivances is the whole thing about what’s her face knowing how to fly the exact plane they happened to stumble upon.

    You mentioned this as well, but it’s so awesome to see when they run the convertible into the pole and he hops out in literally 1 second and just continues on. Awesome.

    I have to salute you for going above and beyond with those kill count screenshots. I think I saw Fidel Castro in one of them, and Mel Brooks in another.

  12. Can’t ever see this movie too many times, used to start watching it almost every time I came home drunk after a night out (Arnie hand-feeding deer… COME ON!!). Recently watched it again with a mate and some beers, hasn’t lost an ounce of the cheese/charm. Too many lines to even begin quoting… suffice to say, it’s just one of those movies rare that resonates with guys.

    • WELL put. LOL

      It definitely does kind of latch on to us at some kind of primal level, doesn’t it?

      It’s a wickedly quotable movie, too. You’re right. He even works in the “I’ll be back (Bennett)” I had a lot of fun with the JENNY!! he gives in the movie :D

  13. Pingback: Weekly Weblinks: Rummaging and Wrecking | Morgan on Media

  14. This post is just EPIC! How long did it take you to do all those caps?!

    It’s been years since I last saw it. Suddenly feeling a pang of nostalgia.

    • “How long did it take you to do all those caps?!”

      LOL… I dont divulge details such as that here, Jaina… :D

      Naw. Not as long as you would think. I had actually counted on wasting a lot of time on it the day I did it and was really surprised by how quickly I got it done. The longest part was actually going through and putting the numbers on each cap. After that, WP uploaded the gallery quickly… I’m starting to gain efficiencies as I go through these things. My learning curve has passed… You know?

      Labor of love anyways, I have fun doing it. :D

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