The following review was printed in the Winter 1992 edition of Super 8 Film Review.
COMMANDO 3x600ft colour sound Distributed by Derann
Ultra-violent comic-strip caper with high body count: John Matrix (Schwarzenegger) retired one-time chief of a United States special service team is forced back into action when members of his old team are murdered, one by one and his daughter is kidnapped by a former colleague in order to force Matrix to carry out a top-level assasination. So how does Matrix react to this dirty deed? As one observer remarks: "When Matrix goes into action expect a world war!" And what we get is not far short of a war - a one man war!
Super 8 wise, 1992 seems to be rapidly becoming the year of Arnold Schwarzenegger. First we had 'The Terminator', then 'Predator' and now 'Commando'. Just how much more can the Wilton cinema (and the central nervous system) take? Actually, before seeing them on the home screen I wouldn't have given Schwarzenegger the time of day and unlike running a video where you can speed through the unpleasant bits, there is a limit to how much faster you can make an 8mm machine run before it self-destruces, emulating an explosive scene from the film. So what was my reaction to 'Commando' one hot, sticky Summer evening while the rest of you were on holiday? (altogether now, s-h-a-m-e...) RIVITING. Thin on plot (almost non-existent) but thick on action. This most certainly will not end up in my collection but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it - I did! Though I had to avert my eyes now and then. Ouch! The places some people get kicked and stabbed!
The leaden attempts at humour don't really work, or at least not for me, but this is essentially a thick-eared action film and on that level it works well. If Arnold is incapable, and for whatever reason of delivering his lines with conviction, the same can't be said of his action scenes.
The print is superlative - pin-sharp with extremely effective stereo sound, particularly on reel three during which I wished I had access to a shell-proof bunker (that'll teach me to switch in the sub-woofer). My congratulations to Buck Labs for a fine job indeed and to Derann for the really excellent sound. Recommended without reservation to Schwarzenegger and all-out action fans. Sensitive souls who like plot, substance and time to breathe should perhaps look elsewhere. Where's the Horlicks!?!
Print A* Sound A*/A Keith Wilton