Title: Santa With Muscles
Director: John Murlowski
Starring: Hulk Hogan, Ed Begley Jr. , Don Stark, Robin Curtis, Kevin West, Garrett Morris, Diane Robin, Kai Ephron, Steve Valentine
Plot: When arogant millionaire Blake Thorn (Hogan) recives a blow to the head, he is convinced by shopping mall elf Lenny (Stark) that he is Santa Claus. Meanwhile evil scientist and germaphobe Ebner Frost (Begley Jr.) is plotting to take over a local orphanage to steal the magical crystals uless Blake can stop him.
Review: Constantly referred to as one of the worst movies ever made as further reinforced with its position as one of IMDB’s bottom 100 movies but as someone whose seen more than my share of bad movies I had to wonder if it could possibly be that bad, let alone worse than the likes of “The Wrecking Crew” or "Deaden”.
Coming towards the end of Hogan’s acting career though the quality of said acting greatly varied as he went from mainstream productions and cameos before drifting into more DTV fare with this film really marking the start of this period ironically released the same year as his last theatrical production “The Secret Agent Club” both directed by John Murlowski and really on polar opposites of the terrible movie spectrum to each other making me wonder how the same director / actor combo could produce two films so wildly different in quality to each other.
Opening to Blake stalking and beating up his own staff as part of some bizarre training regime, it pretty clear that he is kind of a jackass while at the same time I couldn’t help but feel as Hogan goes through a juvenile routine not only with the staff but also while playing paintball that in some way he was trying to emulate Adam Sandler in “Billy Madison” which was released the previous year. Needless to say its pretty random to see Hogan trying to convingly pull off such a performance, let alone the fact that he’s suddenly gained an equally random hair piece. At the same time no explanation is given for this man-child behavior as while Billy Madison was a spoilt rich kid born into money, Blake is a self made millionaire thanks to his line of protein shakes and bodybuilding equipment but from the way he acts during these opening scenes it makes you wonder how exactly this was even possible.
Still once he gets a blow to the head he’s found by the opportunistic Shopping Mall elf Lenny (Stark) who for some reason convinces Blake that he is Santa. From their first meeting its pretty clear what Lenny is planning as he plots to rip Blake off though for some reason in this world which the film is set cash points need your fingerprint and even then the machine is picky over which hand you use. You have to admire his dedication to his half baked scheme as the pair soon find themselves at the orphanage and he’s forced to don an adult sheep onesie which magically appears from somewhere, unless he’s been carrying it around with him all this time.
Its when we are introduced to Ed Begley Jr’s villainous Ebner Frost that things really start to get weird here as he seems to have hired a bunch of failed wrestler idea to act as henchmen despite starting positively with the electro gloved Dr. Watt (Robin) though it goes drastically downhill from here as we get the evil chemist Dr. Vial (Ephron) whose about spraying farts in people faces which made me wonder who the hell wrote this, especially when their duo is joined by the evil geologist (but of course) Dr. Flint (West). The bumbling henchmen lead by evil doctor Blight (Steve Valentine) while crusing around in an Ice Cream truck for some random reason which is never explained much like why everyone that Blake fights uses a weapon relating to to their profession as seen with Dr. Blight using his stethoscope as a makeshift whip.
Its a real toss up between which is more ropey here the acting or the attempts at pulling off anything resembling an action scene. Upgrading his Santa suit with cut off sleeves and leather gloves Blake soon decides to punish the naughty boys and girls by beating the hell out of them which of course is such a great example to set in front of a bunch of orphans. At the same time no one really knows how to put together a fight scene so we get a lot of slop-fu here as Hogan throws snail paced punches and throws generic bad guys around while they fail around wildly around him. This of course is not even mentioning the fight between Blake and a white guy who clearly thinks he’s a samurai and only seems to be there so Hogan can give us his best Bruce Lee impression before kicking a bench into his face. It should equally be noted that for such a good brawler Blake is also knocked off a roof by a Christmas decoration!
The main issue here and there are certainly more than a few is that the film never seems to know who its audience is, as even when viewed as family fare it still feels that its playing things way too dumb and this is putting the already nonsensical plotting aside. While we might occasionally get the odd laugh or two its far too often a grind to sit through.