Arnold Schwarzenegger's Army Experience Came In Handy During Commando

As required for any men over the age of 18 in his native Austria, action film icon Arnold Schwarzenegger served in the country's military in 1965. He, along with several other actors, were cast in the 1987 science fiction action film "Predator" due to having military experience. Two years prior, the eventual California governor starred in "Commando," in which he plays John Matrix, a retired U.S. colonel whose daughter gets kidnapped by a group of mercenaries. Matrix puts his military training to use one last time to save his daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano).

"Commando" is a cheesy, quippy, one-liner factory that still gets a few laughs out of me today; Schwarzenegger's comedic timing really shines in this one. Coming off the successes of "Conan the Barbarian" and "The Terminator," the film was his first big movie role in which he plays a human being with relatable human connections, highlighted by his character's bond with his daughter. Of course, the movie is still filled with machine guns, explosions, and high-risk stunts — and thanks to his military service, Schwarzenegger shines in scenes involving those elements, too.

Schwarzenegger performed almost all of his own stunts

During an oral history of "Commando," Arnold Schwarzenegger told Empire why he felt somewhat at home while making the movie. "I was in the Austrian army and was a tank driver," he said. "So, the action of 'Commando' wasn't all new to me." Though we didn't get the pleasure of watching Schwarzenegger steamroll over the bad guys while driving a tank in the film, his past experience allowed for him to perform a lot of his own stunts. "I owe it to my fans to do the action myself, because it's me they pay to see," he explained. 

Schwarzenegger even pushed himself a little too far, as the film's director, Mark L. Lester, recounted to Empire:

"Arnold insisted on doing almost all the stunts himself, because he said nobody could duplicate his body. Even when we were doing a close-up of Matrix jamming a knife into a sheath, he said, 'My hand cannot be duplicated. It is one of a kind.' When he did the shot, he cut his other hand with the knife and had to go to hospital."

One thing about Schwarzenegger is that he's going to find a way to get injured on set. He glowingly shared with Yahoo Entertainment the many times he suffered an injury while making a movie. Perhaps putting him in a tank wouldn't have been a good idea.

Did you know Arnold drives a tank in real life?

That's right: Arnold Schwarzenegger has owned a tank since at least 1991. The kicker is that it's the same tank he used during his military training in Austria, according to CNBC; he paid $20,000 to have it shipped to the U.S. The actor whipped out the 50-ton 1951 M-47 Patton on a 2018 episode of "Jay Leno's Garage," and he and the former late night talk host crushed a limousine with it.

But Schwarzenegger does more with his tank than crush things. He told Leno he also uses it to encourage disadvantaged kids stay in school. "I bring kids out here from the after-school programs," he told Leno. "When they stay in school, their reward is to come out here and drive tanks with me." That is so cool. I definitely wouldn't have had a problem staying in school if it meant I got to ride in a tank with the Terminator.