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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Commando (1985/Blu-ray)

Commando (1985/Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: D     Film: C-



In a move to quickly capitalize on the success of The Terminator the year before, Fox signed Arnold Schwarzenegger for the cold actioner Commando, directed by Mark L. Lester and charting a new ideological direction for Action genre films including more brutal violence, a Right of center mentality that was more explicit and disturbing definition of the other, as well as strange revision of how families are portrayed.  We previously reviewed the film on DVD, which you can read more about at this link:





Schwarzenegger’s character is actually named John Matrix, his daughter (Alyssa Milano) is jeopardized and he is going to fight back, even if he has to wreck shopping malls and drag along a hapless stewardess (Rae Dawn Chong, who was criticized for being an “exotic” as substitute for other ethnic groups as way of ignoring them) and the film has its crazy action moments, but it was never that good and has not aged well at all.


The Joseph Loeb/Matthew Weisman/Steven de Souza screenplay was always thin, silly, even condescending, but the film has some energy and was a hit in its time.  However, the film has an agenda early on (the director admitted to making the first shots of Schwarzenegger multiple angle shots of his muscles being inspired by Leni Riefenstahl’s pro-Nazi classic Triumph Of The Will, something one should never do passively or otherwise) redefining the male lead as ultra-masculine, though it goes over the top enough to backfire.  Critics have said it was to quell Vietnam Syndrome.  Now that we have a similar situation, is it any better if it is “pumped up” and you get the same result?


The film is as much a relic as a time capsule of its time, made more complicated by the post-9/11 world.  Believing in the film’s croc of silliness could be fun for the viewers, but like a drug trip movie, has a sudden drop-off when reality hits.  Luckily for Schwarzenegger, he moved on to better material or he would have been yesterday’s news.


The 1080p MPEG-2 @ 24 MBPS 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is better than the previous DVD versions, but the print has issues throughout that affect playback and the original camera materials need some more work.  The DTS HD Master Audio (MA) Lossless 5.1 mix includes the D-BOX bass enhancement function if you have the equipment, but the audio still shows its age, though it is an improvement over the previous DVD releases as well.  Where are the original audio stems, or is the recording just that fidelity limited?  James Horner’s score is not one of his best either, but then look what he had to score.  Needless to say the Dolby Digital 2.0 Pro Logic Stereo English, French Dolby 2.0 Stereo and Spanish Dolby 2.0 Mono opt5ions are lame.  The trailer in HD is the only extra, despite a special edition director’s cut DVD, but there had to be room for something else on the 25GB disc.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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