EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox is going Commando again, setting David Ayer to write and direct a reboot of the 1985 film that became one of the building blocks that transformed Arnold Schwarzenegger from bodybuilder to superstar. Erwin Stoff and John Davis will produce the new version.
Ayer is the former Navy soldier who wrote Training Day and moved into directing with the dark dramas Harsh Times and Street Kings. He will put his own real-world spin on this original premise: a retired elite special forces operative sees his daughter kidnapped and is told she’ll die unless he gets on a plane and kills the rival of a nasty exiled dictator. In the original, Schwarzenegger jumped off the plane before takeoff, and killed everyone involved in the kidnap plot, in a real beefcake turn that followed Terminator. Ayer’s protagonist will be less brawny, but more skilled in covert tactics and weaponry. Hopefully the new version will hang onto some of the fun spirit of the original, the first of several film collaborations between Schwarzenegger and producer Joel Silver where they blew up everything in sight. Rae Dawn Chong played the flighty flight attendant who became the commando’s reluctant accomplice, Dan Hedaya played the diabolical dictator, and a young Alyssa Milano played the kidnapped daughter.
It’s the second big reboot of an Arnie action film for Fox. The studio has a July 9 release date on Predators, a new chapter of a franchise launched by Predator, the 1987 Schwarzenegger classic.