Commando (1988)

Babbar Subhash - Director / Bappi Lahiri (with a lot of help from John Williams) - Music

Anjaan - Lyrics / Running time: 2 hours 19 minutes

Own it!

Have you ever had one of those moments where you knew - you were so completely sure about something - that you were driven to act on it? Ms. Beth was challenged by a friend to find an Indian movie featuring ninjas, and she came through in spades. When I saw what she had discovered, I decided to set aside the projects I had in mind to immediately offer my take on the feature she'd uncovered.

First of all, it's a bad action movie. I can handle that, I've seen plenty. Second, Bollywood Ninjas. On trampolines. Enough said there to justify pages of text. Third, half of the cast was also in Disco Dancer, which is noteworthy in and of itself. Seeing our former disco heroes now shooting gigantic fake guns at people was such a great mental picture, I had to see it. Finally, a good 90% or so of the soundtrack is directly ripped off from a couple of films you may have heard of: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars. So put all of that together, and you've got a glorious masterpiece of all that makes a movie memorable, for reasons completely unintended by the producers.

Oh, one more thing: do you see those fighter jets on the cover of the DVD? Look cool, don't they? Do we see them in the movie? I'm afraid not.

Commando. Good lord. As I've mentioned, there are a few repeat performers here, so let's take a look:

First of all is Mithun Chakraborty. He played the heroic role of Jimmy in Disco Dancer. He's just as charismatic and enjoyable in this movie. Make of that what you will. While he does do some dancing in this movie, there's not much disco here. Again, whether that's good or bad I leave up to you.

Next up we have Kim, who played Rita in Disco Dancer. Her role here is unfortunately small, but she makes up for it in enthusiasm. She's only got one song this time, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Amrish Puri is back! He's been seen here at Army of Monkeys in such films as Tridev, Karan Arjun, Taarzan - The Wonder Car, Taal, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (short) and China Gate (short). He's (again) the main bad guy, and is sporting a rocking head of hair this time out. His name in this movie is spelled a few different ways in the subtitles of the DVD I have, so I settled on one and went with it. It just makes things simpler.

Also joining us is Dalip Tahil. He's yet again playing a fairly sleazy role as a minor bad guy. He's done much the same in films here at AoM, namely Gupt, Mast, Darr, and Baazigar.

We've also got Om Shivpuri back from his role as Oberoi in Disco Dancer. Yet again he's playing the father of the love interest, but at least this time he's not completely evil.

Last but not least we have Bob Christo as yet another evil guy who doesn't really need a character name since everyone familiar with Bollywood just knows him as... Bob Christo.

For this outing, we have on the roster:

Chander (Mithun Chakraborty) - Our hero. He's a commando working for Mr. Malhotra's weapons company. A guy with lots of integrity that is working to make money to support his insane mother. It's complicated.
Asha Malhotra (Mandakini) - The daughter of an arms manufacturer. She's got a lot of spunk and is very boisterous and outspoken. She likes the rough-and-tumble types and wants to meet a terrorist. I wish I was kidding.
Dilher Singh (Hermant Birje) - Initially Chander's rival in the platoon, they later become the best of friends and get into all kinds of wacky danger together. Oh and he's able to move gigantic boulders all by himself. It's true.
Zhum Zhum (Kim) - A secret agent that has infiltrated the ranks of the enemy to help Our Heroes bring them down from the inside.
Ninja (Danny Denzongpa) - I'm not kidding, this guy's name is "Ninja." According to some reliable sources, he's the only "full" ninja to exist outside of Japan. Hrmm. Acts as an assassin for Marcelloni.
Marcelloni (Amrish Puri) - Way too good of an actor to be in this movie, he's our main bad guy (there are a few). He's into smuggling weapons to incite riots in India to destabilize the government. Has his own private ninja squad.
Moolchand Bhalla (Dalip Tahil) - A middleman between the Malhotra Weapons Company and Marcelloni. He's also madly in love with Asha. He also doesn't take too kindly to other possible suitors.
Commander Mirza (Shakti Kapoor) - The head of the commando group at the weapons factory, he's as crooked as they come. He's in cahoots with Marcelloni to steal, smuggle, kill, whatever. Keep an eye on this guy.
Kailashpuri Malhotra (Om Shivpuri) - Asha's father and the owner of his own weapons factory. He's got a private army of commandos acting as a security force.

What you are about to witness is a spectacular work of cinematic art. In as much as a colossal thirty-car pile-up is spectacular.

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