Wednesday 8 November 2006
I just watched Schwarzenegger's movie Commando straight through for the first time. (I'd only caught the very end before.) I found it very amusing. I should have watched it before now. I had no idea that it had such a robust cast: In addition to the obvious Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, and Alyssa Milano, the film featured Dan Hedaya (who looked afraid of the gun he was firing at the film's climax), Bill Duke (the world's blackest man), David Patrick Kelley ("Warriors, come out and play!"), Branscome Richmond (who is in almost every non-speaking role in the past 30 years where a Portuguese/Spanish/Mexican/Indian is getting his ass kicked and the director needs a good reaction shot but we all know him from Renegade), and Bill Paxton (as Bill Paxton; is there any other role for him?). I mean, damn.
Speaking of casting, when it comes time for Schwarzenegger's Col. John Matrix to kill everyone in sight, it's pretty clear that they weren't filming on location in Latin America. (Wait, is John Matrix even a real name? His daughter's name was Jenny Matrix? Could I just make a movie and call someone something really stupid like Ford Taurus and get away with it? At least "Action" Jackson and "Desolation" WIlliams were nicknames.) I think every extra was a white guy wearing a really bad Groucho mustache and fake sideburns made of felt. Perhaps the grooming habits enforced by Dan Hedaya's deposed dictator were the reason that he was overthrown in the first place. It can't be easy to fight a coup d'etat when you have to make sure that you aren't sweating off your spirit gum.
It would have been a MUCH better film if any attempt had been made to make Matrix's antagonist Bennett look a) strong, b) fearsome, or c) less like a butch fag. (Clearly, this is the character that South Park's Mr. Slave is based on.) Bennett's mustache is the worst looking thing in the movie after his leather pants and sleeveless chainmail shirt. As Matrix taunts him into a hand-to-hand knife duel, his face goes through some orgasmic contortions that I think are just a little bit uncomfortable to watch on a man dressed in fetish gear before a bodybuilder who has been oiled-up for a "straight" action scene. Then I'm suddenly supposed to believe that this flabby gay man has equal strength to manly-man Matrix, who I've watched break steel chains in his bare hands, lift a phone booth over his head, remove a bolted down car seat, and kill Bill Duke? Um, no.
It's also completely worth noting that this film was penned by Jeph Loeb, a comic book writer that I once respected. That is, until he teamed up with Jim Lee to produce one of the worst stories in the history of Batman only to wash it down with some of the worst stories in the history of Superman/Batman. >sigh<. Credits for the film bill Loeb as "Joseph Loeb III," the same writer who wrote Teen Wolf and Teen Wolf 2, which really means that I shouldn't have ever respected him as a comic book writer in the first place. Teen Wolf was the only movie that I was ever embarrassed for having watched. My skin still crawls thinking about it. Curse you, Michael J. Fox, for following up Back to the Future with that, that... thing!