Woody Takes Control, Commando Style

For the first four Sundays of this blog-thing, I’ve written about Pixar films (here, here, here and here). And now, here’s another.

Commando (1985), directed by Mark L. Lester, is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first starring role after The Terminator and is perhaps the apex of his comicbook/video game style of “shoot everything and everyone in sight” films. The body count is extreme, to say the least, and it’s influence can be felt on Pixar’s Toy Story. Well, kinda.

Here’s the deal. This minute-long scene from Commando might be its most famous. Arnold’s character, John Matrix, is trying to infiltrate the mansion of a drug kingpin and gets cornered in a toolshed. Needless to say, he relies heavily on toolshed staples (i.e. a circular saw blade) to get him out of this jam. Here’s the scene in its Director’s Cut form; pay particular attention to the ending, when Matrix understandably machetes a man’s arm off.

This scene was conceived on location, where imaginations run wild, and according to the audio commentary by the film’s director, Arnold was making suggestions: “So Arnold cuts off this guy’s arm and he wanted to pick it up and and slap his face with his own hand and then throw it at him. That was Arnold’s idea. And I thought that was too much. [laughs]”

So where does Toy Stoy fit in? Watch this clip—when Woody brings a “drunken” Buzz to his senses—and notice what Woody does with Buzz’s dismembered arm.

Conincidence? This (gleeful) excerpt from Toy Story’s commentary puts things in perspective:

Obviously, I could go on about how cartoons have the freedom to behave in ways real humans can’t, blah, blah, blah, but what’s the point? I just like the fact that these geeks heard of a great gag and didn’t want to see it go to waste. (I also like that this whole narrative isn’t complete until you’ve listened to both audio commentaries, of which I’m probably one of the only people who ever has.)

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2 Comments

Filed under Film

2 responses to “Woody Takes Control, Commando Style

  1. Saw the original when I was 15, thought it funny as hell.

    My personal favorite scene is during the climactic battle when Matrix throws Bennett into some high voltage electrical. It seems like the end…but no, he comes back swinging, seemingly enhanced by the electricity and crowing about how good he feels!

    Wouldn’t claim the film has advanced the art, but the editing has some pretty killer timing.

  2. Pingback: Toy Story’s Cloudy Bookends « Peel Slowly

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