Arnold Schwarzenegger’s output during the 1980s was legendary. The A-list action superstar cranked out a series of memorable thrillers in that particular decade, from The Terminator (1984) to Predator (1987). But none were quite as violent as 1985’s Commando, which cast Schwarzenegger as a retired Special Forces colonel fighting to rescue his kidnapped daughter (played by Alyssa Milano).
There were a number of incredibly graphic kills in Commando, including one scene where Arnold throws a pipe through a guy’s chest and INTO a steam pipe. Naturally, Schwarzenegger buttons the scene up by telling the guy to “Let off some steam!” It’s brilliant. But in a Reddit session today following the drop of the new Terminator: Dark Fate trailer, Schwarzenegger revealed a kill scene that he wanted to do in Commando, but it got shot down.
I wanted to cut off a guy’s arm and kill him with it. This wasn’t in the script. He would throw a knife at me, and after he missed, while his arm was still extended, I chop it off at the shoulder with a machete and beat him to death with it. Needless to say, I was asked by the head of the studio, Larry Gordon, to come to his office. And he said ‘What the fuck is the matter with you? Do you want to make money with this movie, or [be] an X-rated movie?’ I said, ‘You’re right.’ And he said, ‘Get the fuck out of my office.’
Hard to argue with the studio head not wanting to see Arnold Schwarzenegger sever a man’s arm, and then beat him to death with it. There are limits in an R-rated studio movie, even one that has the incredible death scene like the one below:
He’s dead tired! God, Arnold’s one-liner game was on point in Commando! It kind of had to be, because the plot of Commando was kind of a hot mess, with Arnold getting out of deadly jams using his brawn instead of his brain, and leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake.
This was peak Schwarzenegger. He would transition from Commando to Raw Deal, Predator, The Running Man and Red Heat before tapping into his comedic side for movies like Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990) and Last Action Hero (1993).
Part of me is really happy that, back in the Commando days, Arnold was looking for new ways to increase the gratuitous violence in his movies, that might have made them more C-list, but also more cult-movie in tone. But then again, if that studio head had allowed it, Schwarzenegger might never have become the major movie star that he continues to be to this day.
Arnold will be back on screen later this year with Tim Miller’s Terminator: Dark Fate. Look for it in theaters on November 1.