One of the first things I noticed about the lighting in Commando apart from all the various mistakes and somewhat unbelievable scenes and shots is the amount of lighting that the used in the film. At the very start of the movie you can see Matrix and his daughter having fun with each other. The camera shots are very straight face on and do not follow the rule of thirds. Also, the amount of light in the scene is a little unusual. It is midday usually having the sun directly above, however the actor’s faces are brightly lit up, almost gleaming and light bouncing off them. It suggests that maybe they were using a light reflection sheets so that their faces would be lit up.

Throughout the film you can see a lot of different styles of lighting. In many of the small location area scenes the lighting of the scene and the light reflecting of the actors suggest a three point lighting system with the key, fill and back light used. In many of the battle scenes, especially during the day, they are outside and a high-key lighting style would be mostly used because the director wants to show Arny’s muscled body and is evident through close ups on his biceps, chest and painted body.

In other parts the crew have used lighting to light up the scene but leaves the shot somewhat unrealistic. The cliff where Sully is dropped off is lit up but the only light should is from the roadside light and wouldn’t usually go that far down the cliff. In the same scene they crash the car into the pole and the only light is above, yet from side on it seems though as if there is a fill light reflecting light on the actors.

In the final battle between Matrix and Bennet and when Matrix and the girl go to get guns and are caught by police, the scene is set at night (note that when they enter the shop it is daylight but when they exit it is night! That can’t happen in a matter of seconds!) and the crew have obviously used lots of light to light up the scene (nice backlight in smoke scene) and when there is backlight usually the foreground actor would not be seen but because of key light and fill the actors face is lit up (everyone knows you can’t see that well in the dark).

I do though have to acknowledge towards the end battle in the corridor with the pipes and furnace, knife scene etc. they have used mood lighting to set a certain feel (good against bad) with dark shaded areas and slightly lit up areas. But when the fire comes he grabs the furnace door with his bare hand but doesn’t get burned, what the?!?! Other scenes and shots also show light bouncing off Matrix’s body and arms one second but then the light disappears the next, yet he’s under a tree. Strange isn’t it.


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