COMMANDO [1985 / 2015] [Director's Cut] [30th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] Somewhere, Somehow, Someone’s Going To Pay! ‘COMMANDO’ Director's Cut Explodes on Blu-ray!
Now on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Experience every awesome moment of ‘COMMANDO’ the way it was intended! This Special Edition Director’s Cut, which includes amazing action, extensive special features and the Arnold Schwarzenegger you could ask for.
Retired Delta Force operative Colonel John Matrix [Arnold Schwarzenegger] lives a secluded life with his daughter Jenny Matrix [Alyssa Milano]. When his daughter is kidnapped by a brutal former team member seeking revenge. Colonel John Matrix must travel to South America and get her back. Somewhere . . . somehow . . . someone’s going to pay!
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1986 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA: Nomination: Saturn Award for Best Special Effects. 1987 Young Artist Awards: Nomination: Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Starring in a Feature Film in a Comedy or Drama for Alyssa Milano.
FILM FACT No.2: Writer Jeff Loeb said his original script was about an Israeli soldier who had renounced violence. Steven de Souza rewrote the script, tailoring it to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Principal photography commenced on April 22, 1985 and lasted for 45 days. The film was shot on location in California. San Nicolas Island off the coast of Santa Barbara, to which Matrix flies to rescue his daughter, was filmed on the Pacific coast at San Simeon. The barracks that are "attacked" are actually beach properties belonging to the Hearst Castle Estate. The house that Matrix storms at the film's climax was actually the former main residence of the Harold Lloyd Estate in the Benedict Canyon district of Beverly Hills. The car chase scene between Sully and Matrix starts on Ventura Blvd and moves into the hills on Benedict Canyon.
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells, James Olson, David Patrick Kelly, Alyssa Milano, Bill Duke, Drew Snyder, Sharon Wyatt, Michael DeLano, Bob Minor, Michael Adams, Gary Carlos Cervantes, Lenny Juliano, Charles Meshack, Chelsea Field, Julie Hayek, Hank Calia, Walter Scott, Greg Wayne Elam, George Fisher, Phil Adams, Ava Cadell, Mikul Robins, Branscombe Richmond, Matt Landers, Peter DuPont, Tom Simmons, Bill Paxton, Richard D. Reich, John Reyes, Billy Cardenas, Eddie Reyes, Vivian Daily, Thomas Rosales Jr., Ronald C. McCarty, Jim Painter, Tony Brubaker (uncredited), Nick Dimitri (uncredited), Rick Sawaya (uncredited) and Dick Warlock (uncredited)
Director: Mark L. Lester
Producers: Joel Silver, Joseph Loeb III, Matthew Weisman, Robert Kosberg and Stephanie Brody
Screenplay: Joseph Loeb III (story), Matthew Weisman (story) and Steven E. de Souza (story/screenplay)
Composer: James Horner
Cinematography: Matthew Frank Leonetti, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p (Color by DeLuxe)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital
French: 5.1 DTS Surround
Spanish: 5.1 DTS Surround
German: 5.1 DTS Surround
Italian: 5.1 DTS Surround
Czech: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Thai: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Bulgarian, Czech, Korean, Chinese and Thai
Running Time: 90 minutes and 92 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: It’s taken a ludicrous seven years, with surprisingly little fanfare, but the Director’s Cut of ‘COMMANDO’ has finally arrived via this UK Blu-ray disc remastered release. It is rare that we get a case of truly legendary action films float through the re-release schedule for Blu-ray nowadays but my interest peaked when I saw that this gem’s Director’s Cut was coming out. It is not hyper when I say that possibly the following is probably the granddaddy of the action film craze, which kick-started in the 1980’s. It’s got Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it’s also got amazing goons being dispatched awesomely, it’s got mountains of pithy one-liners and it’s got a killing spree as long as the coastline of Val Verde and of course I am of course talking about the film ‘COMMANDO.’
John Matrix [Arnold Schwarzenegger] is a retired U.S. Special Forces Colonel and spends his retirement looking after and raising his daughter Jenny Matrix [Alyssa Milano]. One day after hearing of his former squad members being bumped off, Jenny Matrix is kidnapped by the South American dictator Arius [Dan Hedaya] and John Matrix’s former colleague Bennett [Vernon Wells] threatens her life unless John Matrix carries out a political assassination. Playing along with it until he can slip away, John Matrix finds out where the dastardly pair has taken Jenny and asks him if he’s bad enough to save his own daughter Jenny. The film is loaded with hilarious and memorable dialogue, thickly delivered with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s trademark stony accent. It’s right up there with ‘Predator’ in terms of over the top quotes, and maybe even edges it out. And when Matrix finally launches his one man attack on the bad guys’ compound, it’s an absolute massacre and a total of 81 kills, obliterating everything that moves in an orgy of fiery explosions. They never stood a chance.
Of course, your mileage may vary in your enjoyment of this special film, as it depends solely on whether you love Arnold Schwarzenegger’s own brand of killer instinct and deadpan humour. It is how much you want to revel in this glorious pinnacle of that is how much you will enjoy this action packed film. Those who do will not be left disappointed. Straight out of the excess of the 1980’s, ‘COMMANDO’ will continue to empower disbelief in you to this day with its winning combination of 180mph insane action and unforgettable one-liners. I mean, this film has Arnold Schwarzenegger freewheeling 4×4 down a mountainside, combat-rolling from a plane’s landing gear during take-off into a swamp and duplexing a phone booth whilst a yuppie goon is inside… all within the first 45 minutes! That shed scene in the final stretch with the spectacular kills contained within is worth the price of the Blu-ray alone. You have to suspend your disbelief and accept that Arnold Schwarzenegger has cheated and turned on God Mode and Infinite Ammo but it is all beautifully tongue in cheek and beautiful stuff.
For those dying to see all those amazing additional Arnold Schwarzenegger kills and one-liners that were left on the cutting room floor, prepare to be pseudo-disappointed. Sure, it’s brilliant to finally see the banned scenes that have been denied for such a long time with the ‘sawblade to the neck’ kill. In the end, ‘COMMANDO’ as an action film throws you back to that carefree decade of the 1980’s of real life action super heroes with an invincible Arnold bulldozing his way through his madcap world and not batting an eyelid to the insanity, as he unloads a book full of sarcastic, in a delicious 92 minutes. The Director’s Cut of the film features a couple minutes of extra exposition, and makes many small but intimate touches to the film’s already violent action scenes, showing more gore and lingering longer on the carnage and if you’ve never seen that gloriously violent buzz saw kill before. If you’re willing to indulge in an Arnold Schwarzenegger spectacle, the original still holds up just as good.
The original UK cinema and video versions release were censored by around 15 seconds, and removed the shots where Colonel John Matrix [Arnold Schwarzenegger] slices off the soldier's arm with the machete as well as Bennett's death to remove a shot of the pipe in his chest and the tracking shot of it sticking from his body. The 2001 UK DVD release retained these cuts and also added a further 44 seconds of distributor cuts; this was because the DVD master used for the UK release was a censored Scandinavian version. All cuts were fully waived in 2007 by the BBFC. The heavily edited 2001 UK DVD version, with a total of 56 seconds removed, was also used as the master for the initial Australian DVD release. In this version the additional edits includes the following:
In the opening scene, after Cooke [Bill Duke] has initially shot the man in the robe, he walks over to the body and shoots him again. This second hit has been removed.
When Colonel John Matrix breaks Henriques's [Charles Meshack] neck on the plane, he simply elbows him, and in the next shot, Henrqiues is already dead. The shot of Colonel John Matrix snapping Henriques’s neck is gone.
The shot of the piece of wood sticking through Cooke's stomach is absent.
All close ups of the pole in Bennett's [Vernon Wells] stomach are gone.
During the scene where Colonel John Matrix [Arnold Schwarzenegger] and Cindy [Rae Dawn Chong] follow Sully [David Patrick Kelly] from the airport to the shopping mall, there is an extra scene where she asks him his name and what he does for a living.
COMMANDO MUSIC TRACK LIST
WE FIGHT FOR LOVE (Music by Andy Taylor) (Lyrics by Michael Des Barres) (Produced by Bernard Edwards and Andy Taylor) [Performed by Power Station]
Blu-ray Image Quality – Considering this film ‘COMMANDO’ is now 30 years old, and given there are some substandard transfers of movies of similar ilk and age previously, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it looks. When you consider that on the same disc we have both the Original Theatrical and Director’s Cut version, and with extras too, there is no let downs, because it’s a winner. With both normal 1.85:1 and 1.78:1 and widescreen cared for with the full 1080p encoded resolution image also, and it manages to breathe new life into a film you would not expect benefiting from such a transfer. Particular of interest, the extras shine and stand out more. This is a great transfer makes the bullet flashes as we cut rapidly between Arnold Schwarzenegger unloading on a hapless Arius cool-looking. Those cardboard cut-out men in that island raid sequence look faker than ever though! Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – 20th Century Fox has released this Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio as standard. From what I can determine, this is the same 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track from the original Blu-ray, but that’s not a bad thing at all. The audio track packs the right amount of punch, with explosions rocking the subwoofer and gun shots having the perfect amount of bass. Nothing here feels weak, which for a movie that features so much gunfire is essential. As for the rear channels, we get an endless parade of gunshots, shouts, helicopter fly-bys, and yes, James Horner’s Jamaican steel drum centric score, that many people give the music score not much appreciation, but you can’t deny it’s unique and somehow manages to work in its own strange way.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Features both the Original Theatrical Feature and the Director’s Cut.
Audio Commentary by Director Mark L. Lester [Theatrical Version Only]: Here we get a personal introduction from the director Mark L. Lester and informs us that he is honoured to be doing this audio commentary, and also informs us that this is his favourite film, especially out of the 28 other films he has directed and with this Theatrical Version Mark tells us that they used the original 20th Century Fox intro music that they found in the vaults of 20th Century Fox. Mark talks about all the different locations that they shot at the start of the film. Mark also tells us that Arnold Schwarzenegger had his hair styled in the certain way especially for the film and when the film was released they had a craze when all the fans of the film wanted their hair styled the same way. When Arnold chases after the bad guys with his daughter from his home, Mark praises the stunt work with the Jeep goes down into the valley below without the use of the engine. When you see Arnold doing stunt work under the plane, they had to do several runs with the plane taking off and landing to get the shots right, despite the problems they encountered and when Arnold finally landed in the water after escaping from the plane was well executed, but when you see Arnold fall from the plane, in fact that was a dummy, but if filmed today, it could not be filmed, because planes taking off and landing is far too busy and crowded. When you see the filming at the GALLERIA, they had to close it down and had to shoot over 5 nights period and they had to pay all the shops for their use and all the people you see in the GALLERIA are all extras, but we also find out that this particular GALLERIA is no longer there. When you see Arnold grab the coloured balloon item above the Mall and see Arnold swing over to the bad guy in the lift, it is in fact a smaller guy from a local circus who happened to be there for the filming and if you freeze the frame when the guy lands on top of the lift, you can see it is not Arnold. When we see the two nasty guys turning up at the Val Verde Airport, it was in fact filmed at the Long Beach Airport to look like the somewhere on a Latin American Island location. When you see Arnold arrive on the beach and puts on his combat uniform, here Arnold injured himself when he puts the big knife in the holder, as he cut his hand very seriously and had to go and get stitches and they lost a day’s shooting. When you see Bennett [Vernon Wells] chasing Arnold’s daughter down in the boiler room, this was actually below the 20th Century Fox’s Studio Film lot and they were more than pleased it was used, as it saved them a lot of money trying to find other suitable locations. When you see Bennett and Arnold really fight for real and land on the metal grating floor, they really hurt themselves, but being real troopers and professional actors, they wanted to carry on shooting that scene in the boiler room. As we get to the climax of the film, Mark L. Lester comments by saying, “I really had a great time making the film and was one of the best experiences of his life and especially working with the actors in the film, particularly Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was just a dream to work with and was also a great person and everyone around loved Arnold and did a great job as an actor and definitely catapulted his career in films with is performance in this film, and also came together with the lines and worked well with the culture of the time and people picked up on different things that were said in the movie by Arnold and became part of the language of the movie and started a whole string of action adventure movies of the time, and they really popularized action films and you want to get the idea that Dawn and Arnold whether they would get together finally and get married and that was the concept and implication at the end of the film, that when the love story starts. Maybe Dawn becomes the mother and Arnold gives up his career in fighting, so the three of them at the end of the film go off as a family. The End Title song is by Andy Taylor of the British Duran Duran Group and Power Station Group and Andy Taylor came into the studio to write the Title song and Mark thought he did a great job and was a popular musician at the time and Mark says that I hope all the fans out there, enjoyed the movie and enjoyed the commentary, enjoyed the movie again as much as I did, and this is my favourite movie, you can watch this film again and again I love it and it really holds up, so thank you very much for joining me again in seeing the film ‘COMMANDO.’
Director’s Cut Audio Commentary by Director Mark L. Lester: This particular audio commentary with director Mark L. Lester is exactly the same as the Theatrical Version of the film. The wording in the menu makes it sound like they are two different commentaries, but they are essentially the same audio track with this director’s cut audio commentary, but have slight variations with scenes that were not in the Theatrical Version of the film.
Special Feature: Deleted Scenes  [1080p] [1.85:1] [2:53] You view three deleted scenes and the first two are “Mall Aftermath” and “Freeze!” and the third one is “Bennett’s Death” and here you get a quick handful of one-liners improvised for Bennett’s iconic death scene, where Arnold says, “Let off some steam, Bennett!” and this one’s great for a laugh at what could have been. You can either watch them separately or alternative Play All.
Special Feature: COMMANDO: Pure Action  [1080p] [1.85:1] [15:08] Here we get an introduction from people involved with the film ‘COMMANDO’ and they are Vernon Wells, Bill Duke, Joseph Loeb III, Steven E. de Souza and Rae Dawn Chong. Here they all praise that it is one of their favourite film, but we also get to view excerpts from the film ‘COMMANDO.’ But as a bonus we get to see behind-the-scenes filming, where we get to see Arnold Schwarzenegger talking on the set of the film. As we get into this promo of the film, we get to see the likes of Mark L. Lester [Director] talking about the film, and then we get more intimate interviews from the likes of Joseph Loeb III [Screenwriter], Steven E. de Souza [Screenwriter], Rae Dawn Chong [Cindy], Bill Duke [Cooke] and Vernon Wells [Bennett]. This was a Sparkhill Productions LLC.
Special Feature: COMMANDO: Let Off Some Steam  [1080p] [1.85:1] [7:18] This is basically an extension of “COMMANDO: Pure Action” where contributors of the film talk more about being involved with the film ‘COMMANDO’ and why it has become successful and also a cult film and here we get to hear views from Vernon Wells [Bennett], Rae Dawn Chong [Cindy], Arnold Schwarzenegger [Colonel John Matrix], Steven E. de Souza [Screenwriter] and Bill Duke [Cooke] who stays silent. At the end of this special feature we read TOTAL BODY COUNT: Army of Val Verde: 0 and Army of Matrix: 81. This was a Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Production.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080i] [1.85:1] [1:50] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘COMMANDO’ and is a total and brilliant presentation.
Finally, if you have never ever seen this wonderful Arnold Schwarzenegger killing spree film before, especially with this Director’s Cut, then you owe it to yourself to own this ‘COMMANDO’ UK Blu-ray Release. It is so vastly different to what passes as action escapism today; you will feel like you’ve stepped into another world. With great brilliant presentations of both versions of the film, the reintroduction of missing bonus features, and a beautiful case package, this is the definitive release of one of the most entertaining and influential action packed film of all time. It is not only highly sort after, but an absolutely critical addition to every lover of action film collection. I would have loved to have seen a newly produced documentary that took an extended look at the film’s production and maybe featured some new interviews with Arnold and company, the special features here, while short, are still entertaining enough. The film ‘COMMANDO’ is still amazing for today’s modern audience and the transfer from a 1985 film is near perfect. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso