Tanzanian boy re-enacts "Commando," Schwarzenegger and all

[Video Link]

In the clip above, a 9-year-old movie buff named Alex in Tanzania re-enacts the 1985 schlock action flick Commando —his favorite movie—shot for shot, Schwarzenegger and all.

This video is part of a series produced by Joe Sabia for the nonprofit organization Mama Hope's "Stop the Pity. Unlock the Potential" campaign.

Joe shared this video with me to include in the current edition of Boing Boing Video's in-flight entertainment channel on Virgin America Airlines. Our current cycle just went live on their planes this week—and I swear, I've received more emails and tweets about this clip than anything else on the channel this month.

Mama Hope is a California-based nonprofit "focused on building self-sufficient communities in Sub-Saharan Africa." The organization teams up with locally-based organizations in those communities and invests in "high impact, cost effective projects that meet their fundamental needs for food, water, education and health care."

More on the thinking behind the video below, from Mama Hope's organizers:
Take the word "Africa." Without thinking, what images immediately come to mind? War? AIDS? Genocide? Or maybe the vision of a small child with a swollen belly, surrounded by flies? Too many non-profits ask for your pity by depicting poor, helpless Africans. But like any stereotype, this portrayal has more exceptions than truth.

Mama Hope feels it is time to re-humanize Africa and look to the positive change that is happening. We've had enough of the tragic impressions and abundance of sad, oppressive imagery that floods media outlets and non-profit campaigns. It's time to stop they pity and unlock the potential.

Through a series of thought provoking videos we hope to break the negative perception of Africa. We want you to see the courage, wit and potential of an incredible culture, people, and continent.

(thanks, Joe Sabia!)


  1. I don’t know how Bright Alex is. He left out that classic scene where Matrix breaks that guy’s neck on that plane.

  2. Actually I was there when Alex did this recap and he definitely mentioned this scene in his original 20 minute recap. It was edited out though.

  3. And what about the scene where Matrix drops the creep from Dreamscape and The Warriors off a cliff?

    Cindy: What happened to Sully?
    Matrix: I let him go.

  4. Thank you! This just made my day. I’ll have to watch the 20 min recap, as I want to see how he characterizes Bennett.

  5. I wrote a post comparing Alex to the “tribal historian” that Alex Haley visited while researching the book /Roots/, but something happened to it.

  6. You know, for some reason I thought I’d watched Commando, but I’ve only now realised that I haven’t. I think I have to watch it now.

  7. I wrote “Maybe he remembers when Kunta Kinte went to get wood for a drum, and never came back, too!”

    I can’t imagine anything more flattering – I typically can’t remember what I had for breakfast.

    And maybe some mods have been hanging out in anon sites too much…

  8. He is really smart. I´m happy he isn´t a boy-soldier and big guns and explosions make him laugh! Just like my nephews, who love Terminator II. Hasta la vista, baby

  9. Adorable! Yes, Africa really needs a leg up. Africa has a lot to offer- including really yummy food! I keep waiting to see a fancy African restaurant pop up in town, I am sure it will some day.

    The charity reminded me of this:
    Basically, it says that India and China, who are growing fast economically and improving their standard of living, were able to be so successful with the help of outside governments and NGOs. But when Reagan and Thatcher came into office, they worked to cut off the spending and Africa was not given the same help. It’s definitely something interesting to think about. Africa is so big and diverse and has many different virtues and issues.

  10. “Now Arnold is going to kill all the people.”

    Perhaps the most succinct description of every single Schwarzenegger movie ever made. Excepting “Twins,” in which he should have killed all the people. And “Kindergarten Cop,” in which he should have killed himself.

  11. This kid is amazing. I hope he’s been to Commando Fans [dot] com. Somebody in Hollywood, hire this kid! =)

  12. I can’t watch something like this and not think of the incredible damage these action films do not just here in the US, but in poor countries overseas, which is where these movies make most of their money. I got an earful about this when I was traveling.

    Imagine how many times he had to see that movie to recall it in such detail? Believe me, he saw it many times. What is the impact on a psyche to see that much killing?

    To use this as an example of his “unleashed human spirit” is sheer ignorance.

  13. Isn’t the point that the film is something we’ve heard of and can identify with/understand the same cultural reference? And that 9 year old boys the world round like to play solider (and did long before action films/films were invented)? If he’d told us a tale of folklore about a famous warrior from Tanzanian oral history, would that be better?

    I understand and sympathise with the view that it’s wrong for us to see Alex having watched this as a sign of progress or development. But surely it is outweighed by the impact it might have on those who see Africa as a money pit where no development/no change is taking place. And I think that is Mama Hope’s aim.

    That said, on their site, it still talks about donations and pledges. If we’re helping people to develop their infrastructure, independent of what cultural path they take, shouldn’t we be talking in terms of investment/seed funding?

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