Commando screenwriter blames Stallone for ending change

Commando screenwriter Steve E. de Souza puts the blame on Sylvester Stallone for botching the Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner’s ending.

Commando remains one of the quintessential Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies. There are the incredible set pieces and the one-liners and the scene where he feeds a deer for some reason. But major changes had to be made when it came to the ending due to the rivalry between Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

Screenwriter Steven E. de Souza – who was one of the go-to action writers for a stretch, also penning The Running Man, Die Hard and Judge Dredd – sat down with Radio Times to let off some steam about how his script was changed following the release of Rambo: First Blood Part II, which had come out while Arnold was filming Commando. “I concurred with Arnold [that the film would be a success]. At the time it was Rambo versus Commando and those two had a rivalry for a long time, but Arnold predicted that people would still be talking about this film because it did not take itself seriously and was self-aware. And Rambo took himself very seriously.”

de Souza has no problem dishing out the blame, putting it squarely on Stallone and even Commando’s director, Mark L. Lester. “I blame Sylvester Stallone for screwing up the ending…Mark L. Lester had seen a sneak peak of Rambo II and he said Stallone kills a million guys so we have to kill more guys…So what happened was, Mark went overbudget putting in this giant scene where this private army gets wiped out. The random shooting of hundreds of guys was not in the script. So they burned up the budget and then said we don’t have the money to film what you wrote.” Commando went over budget by $1 million and we never got to see Arnold in a speedboat chase.

While Lester opted for a more over-the-top ending, Stallone still got the best of Arnold in 1985, with Commando taking in $35 million at the box office while Rambo II was the third highest-grossing movie of the year, pulling in $150 million – not to mention Rocky IV’s $89 million.

Which 1985 action flick do you prefer: Arnold’s Commando or Sly’s Rambo: First Blood Part II? Give us your pick below!

Source: Radio Times

About the Author

2015 Articles Published

Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.