Commando (1985) Ending Explained – Does Matrix get his daughter back?

Commando Plot Synopsis

When you think of 1980s action films, a few come to mind. 1985’s Commando is a film that perfectly encapsulates the decade with its over-the-top comedy, action sequences, and violence to go along with it. Arnold Schwarzenegger suits up as John Matrix, a retired special forces soldier who is trying to live a quiet life.

That is until a Latin American dictator kidnaps his daughter and, in exchange, asks Matrix to assist in returning him to power via an assissnation attempt on someone who is already in power that he plans to overthrow. Matrix obviously defies this order and goes out to try to get his daughter back.

How does Matrix’s Daughter get kidnapped?

Within the film’s first five minutes, we hit the ground running. John Matrix is happily retired and lives a secluded life with his daughter, Jenny. He is then visited by his former superior, Franklin Kirby, who notifies him that someone is killing all his men. Matrix is left with a few guards around the house, but within minutes of Kirby leaving, a group of machine gun-wielding henchmen shoot up Matrix’s home.

As Matrix returns from the tool shed that’s loaded with ammunition, he encounters a henchman who tells him that his daughter will be fine as long as he cooperates. In true action hero fashion, he shoots the man down as he sees a van driving off with Jenny.

Matrix catches up to the van but doesn’t survive a tussle with the henchmen. He then learns that one of his own is in on the job. Bennett, a former friend and brother in arms to Matrix. We never know the true hatred Bennett has for him; it just seems like he has always been envious.

What does Matrix need to do to get Jenny back?

Matrix must work for Bennett and a former Latin American dictator named Arius. He must help restore him to power, and if he disobeys, Jenny is dead. Matrix then gets put on a plane with some of Bennett’s goons, one of whom is Sully, a man who Matrix swears to kill last.

Through a series of completely unrealistic events, he gets off the plane through the lower compartment of it just as it’s taking off. He then has only 11 hours to find Jenny before she is killed. As the film goes on, Matrix encounters some of the remaining henchmen of Bennett and Arius’ gang of political criminals. He kills them off one by one with catchy one-liners like “I eat Green Berets for breakfast”, and “Please don’t disturb my friend; he’s dead tired”. And of course, as he dangles Sully over a cliff and reminds him that he would kill him last, well, he lied.

Who does Rae Dawn Chong play in Commando?

Before Sully meets his demise, he encounters an attractive young flight attendant that he grossly hits on at the airport. This character is Cindy, played by Rae Dawn Chong. She encounters Matrix at the mall as he stalks Sully, which then sets up a major action sequence leading to Sully’s death.

Cindy becomes a sidekick to Matrix; it never really goes into the world of romance, as there is clearly a time constraint with how much time he has, and his daughter’s life is on the line. Through roughing up bad guys, some sneaking around warehouses, robbing a gun shop, and blowing up a police transport van, Matrix and Cindy steal a plane and head towards the island that Jenny is held captive on.

Does Matrix save Jenny?

After a long night, Matrix and Cindy land near the island. He makes his way to land and unloads heavy artillery on all the guards of Arius mansion. Bennett and Arius become aware that Matrix didn’t get off the plane, so Bennett must go kill Jenny.

Time is of the essence as Matrix gets into the mansion and shoots Arius dead, then follows a scared Jenny down to a boiler room where he gets into a showdown with Bennett. The fight goes from fists to a knife fight, and then, as Bennett’s back is to the wall, Matrix rips a steaming hot pipe off a wall and throws it at Bennett, javelin style, impaling him against a wall.

The film ends with Matrix back on the beach and Kirby arriving to pick up the mess that Matrix left behind. He lets him know that he’ll see him next time. Matrix looks at Jenny, smirks, and says, “Not a chance”. A cheesy 80’s rock ballad kicks in over the scene, and the two are greeted on the beach by Cindy, who hugs Jenny like a mother, even though they have never met until this moment in the film. 

Another classic action film from the 1980’s is in the books and it’s one that definitely stands the test of time.

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