If you are a long time reader of the blog you may remember a feature I call, “Actors Who are the Same.” Well today I’m expanding that to….”MOVIES THAT ARE THE SAME.” Today I will be examining two blockbuster action films. “Commando” (1985) and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009). While made in different decades and seemingly different (one stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Commando and one stars Hugh Jackman as a Wolverine), these two films are in many ways, the same movie.

Essentially, both movies begin the same. “Commando” begins when you meet retired special agent named John Matrix (although he’s changed his name) living in a secluded mountain home with his daughter Jenny (a spunky young Alyssa Milano). John used to lead an elite unit but disagreed with the goals of some of his previous missions, so he retired.

In the beginning of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (which will be hereafter be referred to as simply “Wolverine”), you learn that Wolverine was also an elite commander in a special military forces unit. He has retired because he too disagreed with the goals of his missions. And he is living where? In a secluded cabin in the mountains with not his daughter, but his lover, Kayla. He too has been living with a different name.

In “Commando,” John’s hideaway is found out by the military, and it is revealed to John (who like Wolverine most often appears shirtless), by his former boss, General Franklin Kirby, that members of his former unit are being killed one by one. It turns out that the one behind the killings is a former member of Matrix’s unit, BENNET.

Similarly, in “Wolverine”, Wolverine’s hideaway is found by the military, and his former boss, General Stryker informs him that someone has been going around killing former member’s of Wolverine’s elite mutant team. It is Victor! Wolverine’s brother and former super mutant elite squad team member!

In “Commando,” John Matrix is coerced by Bennett (who has kidnapped his daughter) to reluctantly go through with a political assassination for a man called Arius (impeccably portrayed by the incomparable Dan Hedeya), a South American warlord formerly bested by Matrix who wishes to lead a military coup in his home country. Arius threatens John that he will have Jenny killed if he does not accept the demand. One last mission.

In “Wolverine,” Victor kills Wolverine’s sexy girlfriend, which coerces Wolverine to reluctantly accept Stryker’s demand to find Victor and kill him. One last mission.

Rather than comply with Arius’s demands, Matrix, who has cinematically been transformed into COMMANDO, helped by a woman named Cindy, goes ape-shit on the bad guys trying to get him to set off the coup, and sets out to find where Arius and Bennett are holding Jenny captive. He goes straight into the lion’s den, him versus the thousands of armed guards (who dont stand a chance), stopping at nothing to get his daughter back. Finally, he faces off with his former partner, for the last time!

During the adamantium procedure that is supposed to give Wolverine the power to beat his brother, Wolverine overhears that they are going to also wipe out his memory. Rather than go along with these corrupt assholes, he goes apeshit, escaping his captors. Then with the help of Gambit, he finds out that Victor and Stryker are in cohoots, and so he goes back to the lion’s den (the giant military lab) to kill the men behind the murder of his wife (and the hundreds of guards who stand in his way). There, he faces off with his former partner, for the last time!

HAVE I CONVINCED YOU THAT THESE TWO ARE BASICALLY THE SAME MOVIE? If you are not convinced I suggest you rent Commando or watch it ondemand. It is truly one of the best films of the 1980s, and Arnold’s muscles are so huge clothes dont even fit him. He has no choice BUT to be shirtless. The cheesy Ahnuld quips are also to die for. For example:

Matrix: Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
Sully: That’s right, Matrix. You did.
Matrix: I lied.


Cooke: You scared, motherfucker? Well, you should be, because this Green Beret is going to kick your big ass!
Matrix: I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now, I’m very hungry!

I couldn’t leave out:

Matrix: [after killing a man in the plane] Don’t disturb my friend, he’s dead tired.

Alright that’s enough…….Anyway you get the picture. Arnold is the best action star of all time and this movie—ALRIGHT ONE MORE!

Gen. Kirby: Leave anything for us?
Matrix: Just bodies.

This movie was so funny, that it also inspired Wild Willi$ and I to create an improv game. It is called COMMANDO. The game is, you are given the name of an object and you have to think of a funny quip Ahnuld would say after killing somone with that object. For example–Clock.
“Your time is up.”
“Time to die.”
“What time is it? It doesnt matter…YOU’RE DEAD!”

You get the picture. Anyway this movie is far better than Wolverine. In any sort of art duplication or replication, something is lost in the process, and the duplicate can never truly be as good as the original. Hence the reason why remakes and spin offs arent typically that good. GO SEE COMMANDO.

Finally, I was just watching “The Insider” (a 1999 movie about a tobacco company whistle blower (Russell Crowe) who tried to reveal top secret information about nicotine and cigarettes, and the 60 Minutes producer (Al Pacino) who tried to get the story on the air. First of all, this is a fabulous movie and I highly recommend it. But what I also liked about it, was that the cute girl from the old Pepsi commercials was in it! Hallie Eisenberg! She was soo cute! Much cuter than her brother, Zombieland/Adventureland/upcoming Facebook Movie actor Jesse Eisenberg. Remember how cute she was, singing with Aretha Franklin, bonding with Bicentennial Man Robin Williams, and talking to a stupid parrot named, Paulie? She hasnt done anything high profile as of late, and as the case with Mara Wilson, I think this is for the best. I would rather only remember her as adorable girl from those commercials. Anyway, I just wanted to remind everyone how cute that little girl was.

Until Tomorrow–