Given its age, I guess I should not have been all that surprised by the way in which Commando looks, but considering that it has been released on this next generation format in its best possible incarnation thus far, it comes as a disappointment that it really does not look all that good. It is presented in 1080p High Definition, in the movie's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen, but - right from the start - its deficiencies are apparent. Detail is generally good, but not without the price of edge enhancement and a fine layer of grain that is visible almost throughout the runtime - and has varying levels of interference on your viewing pleasure. The colour scheme does not seem quite as dated, reds are a tad faded, but skin tones remain authentic and the blacks are decent enough to offer up some contrast. But poorly lit sequences suffer, shadowing is not particularly solid and once again the grain rears its ugly head. I would not have been quite so disappointed, had I not come across movies just as old which have been polished up and remastered to a more discernable level. Here, with this presentation, the movie looks little better than most modern productions released on standard definition, and it is difficult to note a big difference over this and the simultaneously released DVD Director's Cut.
The audio side of things appears to be just as disappointing. Coming with a top-of-the-range (at least from a technical specifications standpoint) DTS-HD Master Lossless Audio 5.1 track, this really should have sounded better. Sure, the dialogue gets relatively clear and coherent presentation from across the fronts and centre channels, but it still appears to take a backstage during some of the more action-packed moments. The effects - which should be loud and boisterous and resonate about your living room - seem a little lacklustre, the rears not getting enough of a workout and the LFE barely getting a look-in. It really does come across as little more than a glorified stereo rendition, and the extremely dated score (that is almost identical to that of 48 Hours) does not particularly help the matter. Disappointing.
As if things could not get any worse, we get nothing but a bunch of Trailers, including the Theatrical Trailer for the movie itself. This is appalling behaviour by Fox, who once again have released a Blu-ray version of movie around the same time as a Director's Cut is released on Standard-Def (They did it with Fantastic Four, and are notorious for their bare-bones Blu-rays), giving no incentive whatsoever towards upgrading to Hi-Def media.
Commando is the definition of guilty pleasure, a treasure-trove of violence, mayhem, corny one-liners and implausible action sequences. The body-count is high, the testosterone maxed-out, and Arnie is just about to embark on the best run of his career. Please, don't bring your brain along for this little journey, because it will likely be the one reason why you won't thoroughly enjoy the cheesy action spectacle. On Blu-ray the release is just terrible news. Whether you put up with the lacklustre video and audio, and the distinct lack of extras, the real bad feeling comes from know that there is so little technical superiority here over the recent Director's Cut SD-DVD release and - more to the point - that version is not only longer, but comes with a whole wealth of extra features, none of which are present here. The movie deserves a place on anybody's guilty pleasure list, I'm just not so sure fans wouldn't prefer to either pick up the Director's Cut on Standard Def or play the waiting game until Fox sort their act out.
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