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Monday, October 15, 2007

Commando DVD Review

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Commando DVD Review

Picture: While there have been some concerns about the picture quality of the new Directors Cut disc when compared to previous editions put out by Fox, I feel that the new disc is quite excellent. The picture is 1:85:1 and properly anamorphically enhanced for Widescreen TV’s. The picture quality is great and the colors are quite rich and vibrant as should befit a film that is mostly set in bright and lush environments (the film was in large parts filmed in Mexico). The rich colors thankfully are perfectly balanced and do not seem to be overly saturated. This applies for both versions of the film which are presented via seamless branching and they do not suffer any problems during version switches.

Audio: The audio comes in both mixes of Dobly 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround. Both of these mixes are excellent and make great use of James Horner’s excellent score, which is a huge part of the film (despite that like a lot of Horner’s scores, it’s apparently from 5 older ones). The mixes do not use any new sound effects, which can often be annoying when done. The movie is an older low budget action film, do don’t expect it to sound like Transformers. However, the sound is clear and free of any defects and makes decent use of surround sounds, for an enjoyable 80s action experience.

Extras: Thank you Fox! If there was ever a movie that I wanted a special edition of that I NEVER thought was going to happen it was Commando. Thank you for proving me wrong. First, off there is a very nice audio commentary with Director Mark Lester, despite what previous reports says, the commentary covers both versions. If watching the theatrical cut the audio is simply edited to match that version. Nice job by Fox as many would simply only have had it for one version. In this track, Lester address the famous hand chopping-bitch slap rumor among areas of interest (Arnold failing off the plane is actually an animation). The scene was never shot, but a longer version of Arnold tossing the cut off arm at the peon is in the Directors Cut and its seems like this could have been the source of the rumors (coupled with the story of Arnold talking about the bitchslap in an article in People magazine). My only minor complaint is Lester can go a little silent at times, so I wish one of the actors or screenwriters had joined him (as they all appeared by and large in the documentaries). Still, it’s a really good commentary, its just the idea of Lester with Vernon Wells and Rae Dawn Chong is well just awesome. Still Lester does a great job and I’m happy he is still so enthusiastic about the film (especially considering Joel Silver holds a low opinion of it know, like his epic-produced DMX-Jet Li team up or the last Matrix were something to be proud of) as it gives everything a very positive vibe and that much more enjoyable.

The are three deleted scenes which are mostly alternate and extended versions of scenes such as alt talks of the “let of some steam” line. The next is a soldier at the end telling Arnold to stop as he is approaching Kirby, whom Arnold just totally ignores. Last, is a scene which was a really a good one to cut has Kirby talking to a Detective about not pursuing Matrix, which really screams Rambo: First Blood, but very badly acted.

There are two really nice documentaries that Fox created for the disc. Pure Action is a making of doc. Arnold appears via old interviews made at the time of the film. Both screenwriters appear, along with Vernon Wells, Rae Dawn Chong, Bill Duke, and Mark Lester. The next one Let off Some Steam is more of a somewhat humorous salute talking about the film. It’s very enjoyable and explains the Freddie Mercury look that Vernon Wells got among Rae Dawn Chong’s thoughts on the sexuality of the two male leads.

There is also a comprehensive photo gallery for uses to examine. Strangely, the awesome theatrical trailer (which can easily be found on the internet and the old disc) is not present. Still it’s a really minor complaint since its can be found quite easily as mentioned above.

Overall: Seriously, you really need me to tell you this. BUY this film as soon as you can. It’s the ultimate 80s action film. Fox did a great job with this DVD and I can easily recommend this disc to any fan of the film and to those who want to see what all the fuss is about.


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