You can remake movies from the 80's all you want, but you can't remake the 80's. And Commando is ALL 80's. The Arnold Schwarzenegger action classic was recently up for a redo under the pen of writer-director David Ayer. But it looks as if that's ended for now, and John Matrix has been placed back on the shelf.
During a conference call interview promoting Fury, we asked Ayer what was going on with the new version of Commando. His response was a terse, "I'm no longer involved." No further details were shared, but given that his involvement was a few years ago, it could likely mean the idea is dead. Which is... EXCELLENT.
All due respect to Mr. Ayer, but Commando cannot, and should not, be remade. It has nothing to do with "quality" so much as the idea of so many impossible factors coming together. Commando is not the "best" Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but it is the most Arnold Schwarzenegger movie - which is to say that he's at his quippiest and physical peak, a cartoonishly massive colossus who ends up deployed in the fictional Val Verde, where he must find his missing daughter and kill every other single living thing. Which he does. Sometimes twice over. It's a massacre of Schwarzenegger-ian proportions.
There are two ways to remake Commando. One is attempting to recapture the attitude of the original film, making a larger-than-life action film where an unstoppable superman commits feats so improbable that Wolverine blushes. This approach in 2014 would threaten parody in a way the original film's director Mark Lester never did. His approach was sincere. Can you sincerely make a film today where your hero takes out an entire nation of bad guys without even breaking a sweat and stabs the big bad with a functioning lead pipe, snarling, "Let off some steam, Bennett"?
The other approach probably would have involved "realism." What if the equally dumb-and-overcomplicated Commando was real? And what if John Matrix wasn't a hero of unrealistic proportions (even though Arnold Schwarzenegger was, and remains, VERY REAL) but a slim, serious black ops agent who tried to refrain from killing bad guys because he wouldn't want to drop his cover?
At least the good part is that both of these approaches could be used for an original movie somewhere down the road. For now, leave Commando alone, guys.
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