Friday, December 25, 2009


Well, another week has passed with not a creature stirring on the ol' blogaroo here. Real life and some annoying internet issues kept me from watching and reviewing more wrasslin films during the week of Xmas - i'm gonna back date a couple entries though to cheat. Shhhh... it'll be our little secret.

Not wanting to miss the holiday, I am veering slightly off the path to review a fantastic little film in the spirit of the holiday... It's not really a wrestling film, but I really could not pass this up:

Original Title: Santa with Muscles
Year: 1996
Director: John Murlowski
Writer: Jonathan Bond, Fred Mata, Dorrie Krum Raymond
Genre: Comedy

An evil millionaire (Hulk Hogan) gets amnesia and then belives that he is Santa Claus.

How can you not automatically be into a movie after reading that synopsis? After losing valuable minutes of life thanks to one single Romantic Comedy shitburger, it's so good to know that there are films like Santa with Muscles out there that restore my faith in film.

If you don't love the story here, you may just lack a heart. With three writers, how could a story possibly be bad, you know?

We have Blake, a playboy giant millionaire (Hulk Hogan), who is like a giant child, running from cops just because he can. He changes clothes at a shopping mall into a Santa outfit, but takes a large fall in a trash chute, hitting his head when he lands, which gives him amnesia. Of course. Luckily when he awakens, there is a mall elf Lenny (Don Stark - yes... the next door neighbor from That 70s Show) there looking for a Santa Claus.

Lenny convinces Blake that he is actually Santa Claus after stealing Blake's wallet, excited that he can now be rich thanks to all the cash and credit cards inside. Blake goes along, does the Santa thing, beats up two thugs stealing a donation jar, then leaves to save an orphanage after seeing a sign for it.

The orphanage, which only has 3 children, is the target of local tyrant and germaphobe Ebner Frost (Ed Begley Jr.), who wants to get to the valuable electric quartz crystals found in catacombs underneath the chapel there. Awesome!

What ensues is a wild and wacky back and forth as Frosts' scientist crew constantly tries to outsmart Santa who is now living at the orphanage as well.

The story is sweet and totally believable, aided most definitely by amazing special effects and a masterful directorial hand from Murlowski, known for other strong films such as Marlowe (aka Cop Dog) and the amazing straight to video Ri¢hie Ri¢h's Christmas Wish. Along with hilarious one-liners, edge of your seat action, and terrific performances, Murlowski's job really almost seemed easy... a sure-fire hit wrapped up with a pretty red bow!

It's difficult for me to pick the strongest actor here, but trust me when I say just naming this all-star cast is sufficient to make your panties damp.

I've mentioned Hogan already, who is definitely on his best, and is sporting some fantastic hair that I am pretty sure he lost in the 80s. I don't know why he didn't go with a hairpiece and a trimmed mustache much earlier than this film. It's a great look for him.

He does a fantastic job comedically with Don Stark throughout the entire film, in particular scenes of them making fun of one another's pajamas or Stark saying to Hogan "you aren't gonna hug me now, are you?" after Stark swings in from the rafters. So fucking funny!

They play so well off of one another... it's very strange that they did not work together again after this. Hogan would go on in wrestling world to be the surprise leader of the NWO organization in WCW, so possibly he was just tied up there and missed any further windows.

Hogan also is very natural and sweet with the three orphans. You may recognize them... especially the chick from That 70s Show and that other kid with freckles and big ears. You can really sense the love and respect that they have for Blake. A touching scene with Elizabeth (Aria Noelle Curzon) and Blake/Santa where she kisses his cheek, and it appears that Hogan makes cumsies in his trousers.

Uh ohhh!

Sweet, sweet release...

Hogan must have been able to see into the future and gaze directly at Curzon's present day rack to look so excited at her kissing him there.

Ed Begley Jr. isn't too far off from every character he ever plays anywhere, which is A-OK with me as he is just hysterical. It was a very smart choice by the writers to make him germ phobic, as his talking through television screens, constantly cleaning, and wearing a haz mat suit adds much to his already multi-faceted character. I couldn't think of a better choice for a villain in this role.

You will love to hate Begley's Frost and his henchmen Dr. Vial the chemist (LOL!), Dr. Watt the master of electricity (LOL!!), Dr. Flint the geologist (LOL!!!), and the phenomenal Steve Valentine as Frost's personal physician Dr. Blight.

You may remember Valentine from his groundbreaking role as Photographer in Spider-Man 3.

I could go on and on about the acting here. I mean, if you're also going to pack Ed Leslie (Brutus the motherfuckin Barber Beefcake) and Clint Howard in a hysterical Sheriff role only rivaled perhaps by Jackie Gleason's Sheriff Buford T. Justice on top of this already star-studded cast, you have a sure hit on your hands. I was completely blown away.

We are very lucky to have a holiday treasure like Santa With Muscles. Sure, there's the Christmas Vacations and Christmas Stories out there, but this film is really the true source of seasonal magic. Not only do we have the touching story and enviable direction and acting, we get fucking Sheriff's with rocket launchers, carsplosions, amazing fight choreography and stunts...

It's a crime against baby Jesus himself that this does not have a proper DVD release. My only complaint is that at an hour and a half, Santa With Muscles is just not long enough.

If Santa With Muscles was a Tuesday-night stripper at a bar with no cover charge, I'd pay for 7 consecutive lap dances.

Merry late-Christmas, fuckers!

Score: 9.75 / 10

1 comment:

Emily said...

This movie sounded incredible to start off, but once you threw in Clint Howard, consider me in love. I'm so throwing it on a list to be dusted off next December. I love me some Hulk, Ed Begley Jr., and cloying orphans. It's inevitable magic.

Also, consider this a late xmas gift, but here's a blog award thingy I give to you:

Congrats 'n stuff!