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  Commando, The He'll Be Back
Year: 2022
Director: Asif Akbar
Stars: Michael Jai White, Mickey Rourke, Jeff Fahey, Brendan Fehr, John Enos III, Donald Cerrone, Gianni Capaldi, Barry Hanley, Robert T. Fox, Sam Tan, Cord Newman, Nikki Hoard, Matthew Van Wettering, Noa Maes, Desiree Geraldine, Mia Terry, Andrea Sherrill
Genre: Action, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: James Baker (Michael Jai White) is an agent with the DEA, who send him and his colleagues on a mission to a warehouse where drugs are being manufactured, so they can kill as many of the dealers as they are able, with bullets and knives where possible, though fists will do. But as almost all the dealers lie dead on the floor, Baker is shown where he has made a terrible mistake: one of his targets took a whole clip emptied into his body, but some of those shots went through a door and have slaughtered a mother and her two daughters who happened to be hiding inside for some reason. This in particular has traumatised Baker, he wanted a killing spree at work but this has gone too far, so he is given a suspension and returns to the bosom of his family...

That might make Officer Baker sound like a complete sociopath - a heavily armed sociopath at that - but actually he's intended to be the level headed man in this low budget action flick, which as you may have guessed, aside from the trigger happy lead character had nothing to do with the Arnold Schwarzenegger favourite from the nineteen-eighties. It wasn't really a cash-in either, it seemed more like the filmmakers had been unaware there was another movie called Commando and just wanted a macho title, which summed up the half-arsed nature of the piece, a movie that appeared to take place mostly in and around a showhome where Baker has sent his teenage daughters so he and his wife can have some alone time to sort out his head.

If you at any point forget Baker has suffered a violent trauma, the editing helpfully reminds you by showing shots of the women he massacred about five hundred times - forget the drinking game for this one, you'll never survive. One of the fifty or so producers of this credits himself as "The Land Shark", which should either make you quiver with anticipation or fear the worst; alas, the latter option is the more sensible, as practically nothing happened for over an hour until we were offered a home invasion narrative a long way after Straw Dogs. Though one of the teenage daughters was raped by a drug-addled Scotsman, offscreen, but nevertheless a development nobody asked for and an example of how tone deaf this enterprise was when it came to building suspense, never mind believable characters. But who cared about them, right?

After all, movies like this were designed to be sold to drive-ins and cable TV channels, maybe the dwindling DVD market if they were lucky, or dumped on streaming services bulking out their platform with any old thing they could. Talking of bulk, Mickey Rourke showed up as the mastermind behind the bad guys, because he stashed his ill-gotten gains and the wedding ring of his dead wife in the floor and walls of the showhome, as you do. Anybody else would have bided their time until the coast was clear, but not this lot, they barge in and begin gunning down teenagers, one of whom pisses on the Scotsman in the process of dying. Sigh. And where is White while all this is going on? Driving away down the highway with his missus, presumably wondering what happened to his career after Black Dynamite had been so promising. There's a reason people watch Scott Adkins movies, he delivers, and not one person did that here, the fights were embarrassingly awkward and the logic in the script utterly non-existent. Rourke was probably a lost cause by this stage, but White just looked forlorn. Music by Mauricio Yazigi.

[Watch The Commando on Altitude.film and other digital platforms from 10th Jan 2022.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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