We're absolutely certain you already know this, but today is the 25th anniversary of 'Commando,' one of the most ridiculous action movies of all time. Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course, stars as John Matrix, a retired Special Forces operative who is given a tough choice: He can either commit a political assassination or his teenage daughter (Alyssa Milano) gets it.
Of course no one tells John Matrix what to do, so he goes on an over-the-top path of revenge that mounts a death toll in the triple digits -- with John Matrix personally scoring a body count of 81.
Like everything else Schwarzenegger has ever done, 'Commando' is marked by complete and total domination. Much like John Matrix invaded the fictional nation of Val Verde with a Valmet M78 light machine gun to take on ruthless dictator Arius, so has Schwarzenegger invaded American soil to manhandle the realms on fitness, showbiz, and politics. In honor of the movie's anniversary, let's look back at 25 events that shaped the man who started out as a native of a small village in Austria into becoming the embodiment of the American dream.
1. He was destined to be a tough guy.
The first film Arnold Schwarzenegger ever saw was a John Wayne movie.
2. He played a barbarian, but he is compassionate.
After his older brother Meinhard died in a drunk driving accident, Arnold would help Meinhard's three-year-old son, Patrick, by paying for his education and helping him move to the United States.
3. He was more dedicated about getting in shape than you ever were.
Arnold began weightlifting at age 15, taking up an intense training regiment that included studying psychology to help grasp the balance between mind and body. At 17, he began entering official competitions. He was so dedicated to weight-training that he would break into gyms after hours to continue his workout. Arnie even went AWOL during his time in the Austrian army to take part in the Junior Mr. Europe contest -- which he won (and additionally spent a week in military jail).
4. He doesn't give up.
In 1967, after judges at the Mr. Universe Bodybuilding competition ruled that he had lacked the proper muscle definition in his legs, Arnold began training extensively to improve the tone and power of those muscles. He returned the next year and won the title of Mr. Universe for the first time. At the age of 20, he became the youngest Mr. Universe -- ever.
5. He's an insane multi-tasker.
Schwarzenegger spent the next three years doing daily professional weight-training. In between his workout and attending business school in Munich, Germany, he flew to London to win the Mr. Universe title again in 1969, and for a third time in 1970.
6. He sets impossible standards.
He moved to the United States in 1968 to continue training in Santa Monica. Two years later, he competed in -- and won -- the Mr. Olympia contest in New York City. At the age of 23, he became the youngest athlete to win the title of Mr. Olympia -- a feat that still stands. He won the title again five more times before finally announcing his retirement. But then in 1980, he made a surprise entry into the 1980 Mr. Olympia competition, with only seven weeks of prep time. He won that time, too.
7. He has journalistic experience.
After spending many years as a regular columnist, he was promoted to the title of executive editor for the magazines 'Muscle & Fitness' and 'Flex.' Additionally, both magazines donate $250,000 annually to physical fitness campaigns sponsored by Arnold.
8. Anything you can do, he can do better.
He has his own body-building/fitness weekend exhibition named after him: the Arnold Classic. Since 1989, the event spotlights competitions as varied as boxing, martial arts, yoga, gymnastics and figure skating for men and women. The weekend has grown to become one of the most prestigious body-building competitions in the world.
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9. He's surprisingly modest.
In 2002, Forum Stadtpark in his hometown of Graz, Austria, attempted to build an 80-foot Terminator-inspired statue in a local park. Arnold insisted that the money that would have been spent on the project go towards social projects and the Special Olympics instead.
10. He never had a sophomore slump.
Arnold won the Golden Globe for "Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture" for his role in 1973's 'Stay Hungry.' It was his third film role and first speaking part.
11. He was almost too superhuman ... for Conan
He did all of his own stunts for his role in 'Conan the Barbarian.' Additionally, his muscles were originally too big to properly handle a sword for his fight scenes.
12. He's hardcore.
For the crucifixion scene in 'Conan,' Arnold endured having a real vulture peck at his body.
11. He is the equivalent of a butt-kicker.
During the production of 'Commando,' Arnold had extensive martial arts training with fight choreographer Michael Vendrell. Vendrell has stated that by the end of the the production, Schwarzenegger was the equivalent of a second-degree black belt.
12. Every other action star lives off his scraps.
He was the original choice for the parts of: 'Die Hard''s John McClane; RoboCop; comic-book war-hero Sgt. Rock; the part of Dr. Octopus in James Cameron's never-made 'Spider-Man'; the Will Smith role in 'I Am Legend'; "Animal Mother," the intimidating squad leader in 'Full Metal Jacket,'; 'Judge Dredd,'; 'Captain America'; 'Face/Off'; 'The Saint'; and the Man in the Yellow Hat in a live-action version of 'Curious George.'
13. He earned it.
For his part in 'Terminator 2,' Arnold reTceived a $15 million salary. Taking that figure and dividing it over his 700 words of dialogue, he earned $85,716 for the phrase "Hasta la vista, baby!"
14. You want to stay on his good side.
The Terminator is the only character to be ranked on the American Film Institute's list of "100 Heroes and Villains" as both a hero and a villain.
15. He impresses the right people.
For his role as the Terminator, Arnold received accolades from 'Soldier of Fortune' magazine for his accuracy in weapons handling.
16. He's even got bragging rights over 'E.T.'
In 1992, he was presented with the "Life Career Award" from the Saturn Science Fiction & Fantasy Awards, the same year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. In 1993, The National Association of Theater Owners named Arnold the "International Star of the Decade." In 2001, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Taurus World Stunt Awards.
17. Now it's just getting ridiculous.
'Last Action Hero' became the first film advertised into outer space; the film's title was etched onto the side of an unmanned NASA rocket that was personally launched into space by Schwarzenegger.
18. This includes 'Junior'?
His films have grossed more than $1.6 billion domestically. That averages to about $70 million for every performance.
19. He didn't need to become an actor.
Arnold was a millionaire by the age of 30 -- even before he became a movie star. His first business success came in 1968, when he started a bricklaying business that saw high demand after the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. He took the profits gained from that business to start a new venture, selling instructional tapes and fitness equipment via mail orders. After his mail order company became successful, he invested in multiple real estate holding companies. In 1992, he opened up a restaurant in Santa Monica that he successfully sold six years later. He currently has stake in the investment firm, Dimensional Fund Advisors. It's enough to make you forget about Planet Hollywood.
20. Even if you don't like his movies, he can buy and sell you.
It has been estimated that he has a net worth somewhere between $100 to 200 million. Meaning he could probably personally refund every chump who saw 'Jingle All the Way.'
21. He's the reason you had to work out in gym class.
From 1990 to 1993, he served as the Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
22. He's actually saving the earth.
In 2007, he was awarded the European Voice campaigner of the year award for signing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 into law. The bipartisan bill was the nation's first cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, he pushed California's participation into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions with participating power plants.
23. He leads by example.
As Governor of California, he introduced the California Hydrogen Highway project as a source for alternative energy; currently there are 25 hydrogen fueling stations operating in the state, with Arnold personally modifying his two Hummers to run on hydrogen and bio-fuels, respectively. Additionally, he has implemented the Million Solar Roofs plan, hoping to provide additional clean energy and reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. To demonstrate, Schwarzenegger has his home heated through solar power.
24. Everyone has to give props.
For his contributions to the U.S. motor industry, he was invited to open the Society of Automotive Engineers' World Congress in 2009.
25. Dudes love 'Commando.'
Only a star like Arnold, in a movie like 'Commando' could incite a discussion as rabid as this: Action Flick Face-Off from our friends at Asylum.