James Baker (Michael Jai White) is an elite DEA agent. The film begins with a mission that has tragic consequences, costing the life of three hostages. With the mission complete, James returns home with a limp and is determined to move forward from the recent tragic events. But it’s not long until he has haunting flashbacks and distracting nightmares. After meeting with a doctor, he learns he has PTSD. To relax and recover, James and his wife are given a holiday gift of a retreat to a nearby cabin.
But on the flip side, one of James’s daughters is keeping a deep secret from the family. She recently discovered a large sum of money hidden under her bedroom floor. Rather than telling anyone, she’s been spending it and keeping it for herself. Little does James’s family know that a ruthless convict named Johnny (Mickey Rourke) planted the money in their house. Not long after this discovery, Johnny is released from prison and assembles a team that will help him recover the stolen money. As a home invasion begins to occur, James gets an urgent phone call and a plea for help from one of his daughters. James and his wife turn their car around for the ultimate standoff. Can James make a stand and save his family before it’s too late?
If you are hoping for an action-packed film, this isn’t it. The opening promises an action-packed film with some moments of drama but doesn’t deliver. I truly hoped for something fun and some cheesy action with a title like ‘The Commando’. The plot is quite slow, and the action is dry. We watch leading characters make poor choices for most of the runtime, and the same can be said about the so-called bad guys. Everyone on-screen is painful to watch and near impossible to support. Some moments are comic and not in a good way, such as ‘dead bodies’ breathing and moving. Many moments on the screen that are supposed to be tense and serious are cringe-worthy. One example of this is a moment when we see James sleepwalking with a gun in his hands. Coincidentally, he scares off some criminals who were considering entering his home. This scene felt like an adult’s version of “Home Alone”.
As for the action, apart from a little shoot out at the start, any action is held right till the end. With hopes of a big finale and standoff, I was surprised to find the kills uninteresting, quick and somewhat silly, especially during the last showdown. On top of that, many plot elements either were ignored, or the filmmakers didn’t deal with them. As the credits rolled down the screen, this film made me feel rather frustrated. Sadly, apart from the concept and the idea of Michael Jai White taking out bad guys, there isn’t much praise I can give.
I’ve always enjoyed watching the actor Michael Jai White. He is well known for delivering fun action moments with his fists and kicks and even some brainless comedy. Here, I felt actor Michael Jay White was generally trying to bring a dramatic role to the screen, but it feels unfitting. Mickey Rourke is an awful villain and can’t be taken seriously as the head bad guy. For some odd reason, he also looks different in various scenes, especially his face, make-up, and hair. Actor Jeff Fahey, who is also top-billed, is lucky to have less than five minutes on screen, and again, is wasted.
Overall, as a fan of Michael Jay White, I’m guttered that this is not an impressive film. The title and opening alone tell viewers that they are in for a ride but instead, the film is utterly boring and spends its runtime following unlikeable characters (both good and bad). The action aspects are held right to the end, but kills are dull, quick and laughable and not in a good way. Some elements of the plot aren’t given a proper conclusion, and one’s investment in this film certainly feels more of a waste than what I hoped for, even more so from a title like ‘The Commando’. If you’ve seen a recent Bruce Willis film, it’s kind of like that. You’ve been warned.