The Commando review – Mickey Rourke stars in military-grade dross

·2-min read

Bloodthirsty villains brutalise a young family in their hunt for loot in this reprehensible addition to the home invasion genre

This is a nasty, brutish, not-short-enough action film; basically one of those home-invasion stories in which brutal criminals terrorise a family. In this case the crims are led by newly released convict Johnny (Mickey Rourke, looking more melted than usual) and the family is a nuclear set-up led by James Baker (Michael Jai White), a DEA agent with PTSD. Johnny and co are supposedly trying is to recover money from a bank robbery, hidden years ago.

But in this generally reprehensible subgenre, it doesn’t matter why the baddies break in. What matters is that it entitles at least one member of the terrorised family to fight back using their unique skills and, inevitably, armed force. Conspiracy-minded viewers might wonder if some of these films aren’t subsidised by pro-gun lobbyists as a way to drum fear into the audience and maintain support for the right to keep huge home arsenals to ward against a danger with a vanishingly small probability in the real world.

Produced, co-written and directed by Asif Akbar, The Commando contains a number of egregious implausibilities and cliches. For starters, Johnny’s henchmen are so stupid and bloodthirsty they can’t even wait for the occupants to leave the house before they invade. They just barge in while one of Baker’s daughters is having a small party. Several teens are shot, one while he’s having a wee and ends up spraying urine all over the most violent of the bad guys, Dominic (Gianni Capaldi, distantly related to Peter); this appears to be meant as a comic highlight.

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Finally, Baker and his wife come home and it ends, inevitably, with a series of fisticuffs, gunfights and brawls before good supposedly triumphs over evil, although one of the kids has been raped. Perhaps we are meant to infer she deserved it for throwing a party while her folks were away; that tells you everything about the intended audience for this pernicious nonsense.

• The Commando is released on 10 January on digital platforms.

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