A spectacularly atrocious, ostensible action thriller, “The Commando” is distinguished by an incompetence that extends even to locations. The title protagonist, a PTSD-riven agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration played by Michael Jai White, lives with his family in a house that sits on an unusually barren plot of land. The movie, directed by Asif Akbar, was shot in New Mexico, where xeriscaping is in vogue, but this place is, for all intents and purposes, a dirt lot. There’s not even a driveway, which makes things convenient for the baddies who stage a sodden, tedious home invasion near the movie’s end.
The reason for the invasion is a stash of bank-robbery money hidden in the house. (“Hidden” is generous; the dough is largely stuffed under floorboards that aren’t even nailed down.) The home’s prior owner, Johnny (played by Mickey Rourke), put it there before going to prison. It seems no authorities thought to search the residence of a bank-robbing felon before the place changed hands. Meanwhile, the teenage daughters of the D.E.A. agent have found some of the cash and are enjoying it.
Once an actor of considerable appeal and charisma, Rourke here struggles to stand up. The work of other cast members is enough to frequently draw guffaws. At one point, a member of Johnny’s inept gang (played by the Scottish actor Gianni Capaldi) swallows a bunch of pills, observes that “this is the calm before the storm” and, seconds later, begins grunting as if experiencing the effects of a strong laxative.
“The Commando” will appeal only to connoisseurs of “how bad can it be?” cinema, as part of a control group.
Rated R for violence, language, grunting. Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.