The Commando (2022): Is the Action Movie Based on Real Life?

‘The Commando’ is an action-thriller film directed by Asif Akbar and released in 2022. It stars Mickey Rourke (‘Sin City’) and Michael Jai White (‘Arrow’) in the lead roles. The movie tells the story of James Baker, a DEA Agent whose family discovers $3 million. However, when lethal criminals target the family’s house and take his two daughters hostage, Baker must set aside his trauma and fight the invaders. The high-octane action flick packs plenty of emotional punches, making viewers question its connection to reality. If you are wondering whether ‘The Commando’ is inspired by true events, here is everything you need to know!

The Commando is an Original Story

No, ‘The Commando’ is not based on a true story. The film is based on an original story co-written by director Asif Akbar. The director is known for his work on the 2021 family-comedy movie ‘Ace & the Christmas Miracle.’ Akbar co-wrote the story treatment for ‘The Commando’ alongside Al Bravo, a producer mostly known for R-rated action movies, and Koji Steven Sakai, a writer/producer. Sakai later converted the story treatment into a screenplay that Akbar directed.

Speaking about the conceptualization of the film, Akbar noted the change in the film production landscape in 2020, during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Akbar was between projects as a producer and was looking for concepts that would be simple to shoot and get quickly greenlit by producers. In an interview, Akbar revealed that Al Bravo, who serves as a producer on the film, came up with the original idea for ‘The Commando.’

Bravo devised a concept for a film with only one location and minimal characters and compared it to home invasion movies. The writing team further developed the story idea into a screenplay which a studio later greenlighted. “In between projects, a producer I work with came to me and told me he was interested in action films and would like me to direct. He wanted a movie like The Expendables. An action-packed, typical shoot ’em up with a few action stars and great action, fights, etc.,” Akbar told The Action Lite about the film’s creation.

In a separate interview, Akbar stated that the film primarily explores the impact of PTSD. He noted that the story’s simplicity drew him to the project. The writing team later moved away from the home invasion thriller as Akbar wanted to shed light on the PTSD-related issues in society.

“When we first came up with the concept, it was supposed to be more of a home invasion thriller with a little bit of PTSD issues that our hero goes through, but as we developed it more, getting closer to the shoot and with the casting and everything, we went deeper on the psychological effects of dealing with PTSD – not only for the person with PTSD but how it also affects their families and their relationships and how everyone as a unit can cope with it,” Akbar told the Script Magazine.

Ultimately, ‘The Commando’ is not based on a true story. The film tells a fictional story that revolves around a DEA agent’s struggles with PTSD. However, he faces the external conflict of protecting his family, giving the character a layer of emotional resonance. Although the film leans into the tropes of the action thriller genre, it remains grounded in reality as it explores the issues related to PTSD and highlights the psychological struggles faced by police officers, soldiers, etc.

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