You’re a Funny Movie, COMMANDO Director’s Cut Blu-ray. That’s Why I’m Going To Review You At Last!

The Director’s Cut of Commando arrived on Blu-ray on May 5 in a metal-cased edition exclusively available at Best Buy stores.

Commando has been on Blu-ray since 2008, in a careless, thoughtless, Director’s Cut-less barebones edition, tragically typical of Fox’s astoundingly lazy approach to the format at the time. It was an insulting release, especially considering a feature-packed Director’s Cut DVD was widely available.

It’s taken a ludicrous seven years, but that’s a DVD I can finally retire. With surprisingly little fanfare, the Director’s Cut of Commando has arrived on Blu-ray in a lovely metal-cased edition exclusively available at Best Buy, with both versions of the film as well as the DVD extras.

Put simply, Commando is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s very best films: cartoonishly violent, eminently quotable, and packing a humorous approach to its carnage. After breakout roles as a cyborg in The Terminator and barely-clothed Cimmerian Warrior in Conan The Barbarian, Commando resembled something like a normal role for Arnold simply by casting him as a human being in a contemporary setting, but that’s where the normalcy ends. The preposterously named John Matrix is no everyman. A musclebound former Special Ops expert who traveled the globe on top secret missions, he’s a literal one man army. But that’s all in the past, these days he prefers to raise his daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) in their secluded mountain villa. The introductory montage which shows their idyllic lifestyle — chopping wood, feeding deer, and sharing ice cream cones — is as silly as it is endearingly charming.

Intent on coercing John to complete a undertake a murderous coup (instilling a dictatorship and ousting a regime he himself helped set into place), a group of terrorists kidnap Jenny and deposit John on a plane to the South American nation of Val Verde. He escapes and turns the tables on his aggressors with a vengeance, eventually loading up with a full arsenal that could outfit an entire squadron and taking the fight to their front door.

At the airport, circumstance teams him with Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong), a pilot trainee who becomes the audience surrogate and the clearest indication that the film is completely and gleefully self-aware. She yelps, emotes, or rolls her eyes with each absurd new action or quip from our hero, but sticks by him anyway once she realizes his daughter is in peril — even when he’s apprehended for robbing a military surplus shop by driving a bulldozer through the storefront!

The film is loaded with hilarious and memorable dialogue, thickly delivered with Arnold’s trademark stony accent. It’s right up there with Predator in terms of quotability, 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 (81 kills), obliterating everything that moves in an orgy of squibs and fiery explosions. They never stood a chance.

There’s a ton of talent on both sides of the camera. Opposing our protagonists are recognizable character actors David Patrick Kelly, Bill Duke, Dan Hedaya, and Vernon Wells as the memorable succession of baddies. The writers included action extraordinaire Steven E. de Souza (Die Hard) as well as Joseph Loeb III. If that last name makes you cock your head a bit, yes, he is in fact Jeph Loeb of comics fame. Mark L. Lester (Class of 1984, Firestarter) directed, and wrangling it all was Joel Silver, arguably the best action producer of all time.

The Director’s Cut of the film features a couple minutes’ 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. A closer analysis of the differences in the cuts can be found at (a wonderfully informative but also highly NSFW site).

The Package

The Director’s Cut of Commando has finally arrived on Blu-ray in a handsome metal-cased edition, similar to a Steelbook. For now at least, it is a Best Buy exclusive. The case has a high-gloss finish and features internal artwork.

The disc features both cuts of the film and a respectable slate of extras.

This edition absolutely blows away the previous Blu-ray release. The lion’s share of the Director’s Cut DVD features have been ported over, leaving behind only the photo galleries . Here’s what’s included.

Special Features and Extras

Director’s Commentary
 Feature commentary tracks with director Mark L. Lester are available on on both versions of the film. The wording in the menu almost makes it sound like they are two different commentaries, but they are essentially the same track with director’s cut variations.

Deleted Scenes (2:53)
 Three deleted scenes are included. The first two are pretty lame and were rightfully excised. The third is a quick handful of one-liners improvised for Bennett’s iconic death scene (“Let off some steam, Bennett!”), and this one’s great for a laugh at what could have been.

Pure Action (15:08)
 Let Off Some Steam (7:18)
 This pair of making of documentaries discuss the film’s creation, action, and tone, featuring interviews with Vernon Wells, Bill Duke, Jeph Loeb, Steven de Souza, and Rae Dawn Chong.

Theatrical Trailer (1:50)

With great presentations of both versions of the film, the reintroduction of missing bonus features, and a beautiful steel case package, this is the definitive release of one of the most entertaining and influential action flicks of all time. Not only highly recommended but an absolutely critical addition to every action lover’s collection.

A/V Out.

Available exclusively at Best Buy.

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