The Commando (USA, 2022)

Michael Jai White and Mickey Rourke reunite for this emotionally driven action thriller from filmmaker Asif Akbar.

James Baker is a military level DEA agent who has just completed a mission against a top drug lord. However, it came at a price when he discovers the bodies of three hapless victims behind a closed door. Returning home to his family, James begins to experience post-traumatic stress disorder when he starts to have nightmares about the mission. Meanwhile, James’ family are about to be in serious trouble when one of his daughters is revealed to have some money that no one knows where it came from.

The Baker home used to belong to ex-military officer turned prisoner Johnny and he’s now been released on probation. He gathers up his old gang with only one thing in mind. To get the money back and lay low and do things right. However, upon learning that the home now belongs to someone else, and money is missing, they hatch a plan by invading the home during a gathering while James and his wife are out. When James discovers what has happened, he must go into action to stop Johnny and his gang before it’s too late.

From director Asif Akbar comes this action thriller that is more of an emotionally driven thriller as it involves another lead character stricken with post-traumatic stress disorder in a very dangerous situation. For some reason, the PTSD-stricken hero seems to be quite a trend when it comes to the action genre. Who better for lightning to possibly strike twice for lead Michael Jai White, who played a character like this in 2014’s Falcon Rising and playing another PTSD stricken lead nearly eight years later?

White is one of those actors who can combine the emotions of an actor with the amazing skills of a true martial artist. White focuses more on the former with his character James reeling time and time over the mission that opens the film. He goes as far as seeking help, but it is clear that he just can’t seem to get over what has happened. Of course, it takes his family to go through a serious ordeal for him to comes to terms and do what he does best.

The film is a reunion with White and co-star Mickey Rourke, who appeared in Take Back, considered not to be a great film but not a completely bad film. Whereas Rourke played sone masterminds lately and not involved in too much action, this film gets to see Rourke throw down again. The former boxer even performed some of his own stunts in the film as of course does White because White has that experience. What’s interesting is that Rourke’s character only wants his money back to lead a legit life and not really go back to his old ways that got him put in jail. He figures he’s out now so why not go straight. Of course, though, he needs to money he hid in his old house and it leads to the third act that is action packed as we see both White and Rourke in action mode. Look out for MMA fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone as one of Rourke’s men who takes on White in a pretty good kickboxing style fight during the third act.

The Commando is not straight up action, but more of an emotionally charged thriller that relies on Michael Jai White’s acting with sporadic bouts of action while we see Mickey Rourke throw down again for the first time in quite a while and looks like he is having fun doing it. If you were disappointed with Take Back, this may be redemption for the two.

WFG RATING: B

Saban Films presents a Premiere Entertainment/Avail Entertainment/Little Nalu Pictures film in association with Al Bravo Films, Buffalo8 Productions, and Bondit Media Capital. Director: Asif Akbar. Producers: Al Bravo, Asif Akbar, Koji Steven Sakai, and Philip Tan. Writer: Koji Steven Sakai; story by Sakai, Al Bravo, and Asif Akbar. Cinematography: Jorge Gomez. Editing: R.J. Cooper.

Cast: Michael Jai White, Mickey Rourke, Brendan Fehr, John Enos III, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Gianni Capaldi, Mia Terry, Noa Maes, Desiree Geraldine, Nikki Hoard.

The film will be released in select theaters, On Demand, and Digital on January 7, 2022.

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