Posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
We’ve heard before that Fox wants to remake Commando, which was directed by Mark L. Lester in 1985 and famously starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a retired elite soldier attempting to rescue his daughter (Alyssa Milano) from an exiled dictator (Dan Hedaya). It was rumored to be a project for Dwayne Johnson at one point, but we don’t know who might star now. We do know who will write and direct, however: Training Day screenwriter David Ayer.
Deadline describes Ayer’s take on the film: “He will put his own real-world spin on [the story]…Ayer’s protagonist will be less brawny, but more skilled in covert tactics and weaponry.”
Facepalm. OK, an action movie based on this basic premise: fine. Even one with a realistic bent, no big deal. But why trade on the Commando name?
Here’s the thing about Commando: it is utterly ridiculous. Arguably a terrible film from many angles, it manages to be totally earnest and wildly silly at the same time. That is, it’s campy as all hell. The mixture of way over the top action and attempts at deadpan humor is fun, pure and simple.
With Schwarzenegger working towards the height of his one-liner delivery, there’s nothing else quite like it. (I’m using the word ‘height’ very loosely — “he’s dead tired” is a terrible line reading. Which is why it’s so great.) There are a lot of films that want to be just like it, but there’s only one Commando.
How do you replicate that? At what point does this more realistic version just become Taken? And most important: who will be the new Rae Dawn Chong?
Who knows — maybe Ayer really has killer ideas. He’s got the military background, and his directorial efforts (Street Kings and Harsh Times) weren’t great, but showed enough promise that maybe he’s got something up his sleeve. Then again, this is the guy that was going to push forward a remake of The Wild Bunch, and that’s pretty hard to stomach. I’m at square one on this idea.