When I was an 8 year-old kid living in Detroit, I would often hang out at my buddy Steven Douglas' house. There we would game on his Atari 2600 (until I threw a temper tantrum), watch horror movies, and discuss the goings-on in the World Wrestling Federation until we were blue in the face. Many of my life-long obsessions began in that house. His parents were wicked cool (and somehow put up with my bratty, hyper-active ways), and allowed us to watch pretty much whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. I saw my first Freddy Kruger flick there. Ditto on Texas Chainsaw Massacre. More to topic, my first Schwartzenegger flick, Commando.
The cheesy one-liners, the massive violence, the flabby Australian villain with zero acting ability (not to mention the hotness that is Rae Dawn Chong) were all on display for this impressionable young lad to take in. I instantly fell in love with these low budget action flicks, and was forever changed.
Sometime after that fateful day, my parents took me to Toys-R-Us to spend my birthday money. While browsing through the action figure aisle, I came across this guy. Made by Galoob, this was an incredible toy for that time. Back then most figures were very poorly sculpted. Especially if it was based on a film. Licensed toys were usually cheap cash-ins designed to part the parents of spoiled children from their cash. We were kids. We didn't know any better. All we did know was that we wanted them and that was enough.
This, however, was quite an exception. This toy actually resembles Arnold in his role as John Matrix. It has quite a bit of attention to detail. He's all decked out and ready for war, just like he was at the end of the movie. From the vest that is loaded with weapons to the face paint, this is no generic toy. It's effing Commando!
Aside from the above average (even from today's standards) facial detail, Arnie's signature bulging muscles looked fantastic. The rubber vest that he wore was removable, and even had a sheath for the removable survival knife. In addition, he had removable cloth pants that was quite unusual for it's time.
Back then, toys were marketed to children, and the adult collector's market didn't exist in the form that it does today. It was incredibly unusual for a hard R-rated film to have spawned a series of toys. Even more unusual in that it was from what was essentially a b-movie. For this to be such a great figure on top of all of that is quite a lucky occurrence.
Sadly, my pal Steven died almost ten years ago. He suffered through Muscular Dystrophy his whole life, and bravely battled it until the end. I do miss that kid and think about him every so often. I was pretty much a creep back then, but I'm happy that I had such a sweet and forgiving friend like him living right down the block.If it wasn't for him introducing me to so many great things, I know that I wouldn't be here writing for this site today. This one's for you, buddy!
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