Shock Wave 2
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Shock Wave 2

Shock Wave 2 back in the fall of 1985, it was impossible to be bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger, both in terms of Shock Wave 2 movie-star wattage and sheer Joe Weider muscle mass. In the decade between 1982 and 1992, the seven-time Mr. Olympia-turned-unlikely-Hollywood heavyweight cranked out Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Predator, The Running Man, Total Recall, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. That’s a pretty amazing run of red-meat spectacles right there. Still, there’s one film from that period that tends to get overlooked far too often.

Released on this day 35 years ago, 1985’s Commando may not be the Austrian Oak’s greatest action movie of the ‘80s. But it’s certainly his most ‘80s action movie of the ‘80s. It’s a deliriously over-the-top slice of Joel Silver-produced macho kitsch that has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. And it’s also a pure shot of straight-no-chaser Ahnuld that somehow manages to both fetishize his ham-sized pecs and ubermensch physique in every frame while turning squib-happy ultraviolence into something so giddily excessive that it unspools like a live-action Tex Avery cartoon (for the record: Scxhwarzenegger scores 81 kills). If you were into that sort of thing back in 1985 (and 15-year-old me most definitely was), then Commando has to get your vote as the most self-aware and homoerotic kill-fest of the Reagan era—an era, by the way, that had no shortage of such things.

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