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.
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.
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!!”
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…
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…