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Every action movie fan has their favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger flick. For some, you just can't get past the brilliance of those first two Terminator movies. For others, it's True Lies. For still others, Predator reigns supreme. Then there are the Arnold fans who love Commando because, let's face it, Commando is just crazy. And if you want to see how crazy, you can go stream it on the SYFY app right now.
Released in 1985 on the heels of Terminator's success, the action flick stars Arnold as John Matrix, a former Special Forces officer who's targeted for revenge by some Bad Guys he helped take down, with his daughter (Alyssa Milano) caught in the middle. With his former brothers in arms dead, Matrix must basically become a one-man army and take out his enemies with extreme prejudice, setting the stage for some of the most over-the-top moments of violence in Schwarzenegger's entire film career. This is the movie in which Arnold stabs a man with a pipe and quips that he needs to "let off some steam," after all.
And yet, there was one moment of violence that even the makers of Commando thought took things a little too far.
The Ultra-Violent Commando Scene That Didn't Make the Cut
In a 2016 oral history of the film conducted by Empire Magazine, Commando screenwriter Steven E. de Souza recalled that, while working to insert as much creative violence into the film as possible, he and Schwarzenegger considered an old anecdote that might have been a perfect fit for John Matrix.
"There’s one great one-liner that didn’t make it into the movie," de Souza said. "Arnold and I had both heard this World War I story about a French officer who’s having his arm cut off — next to him is a guy with a bullet in his foot who’s moaning and screaming, so the officer picks up his freshly amputated arm and slaps this guy in the face with it. So Arnold, while they were shooting the scene where he cuts off the guy’s arm with an axe, suggested that he should slap him with it and say, ‘Quit whining!’”
Once again, Commando is a film packed with wild action movie moments and extreme violence, but even by this movie's standards, the severed arm gag seemed like too much to director Mark L. Lester, who vetoed the idea.
“It was discussed on set, but we all said, ‘That’s crazy. You’re a commando: why would you do that?’ In hindsight, it probably would have worked," Lester said.
And Lester's right. In a film like Commando, it probably would have worked, and become a gif for the ages a few decades after the film's release. Let that be a lesson: When Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to slap a guy with a fake severed arm, you let him.