So, when it came to Christmas films, this was one that had to make the list. It also take the centre slot in my trilogy of Wrestling related films.
And today it’s…
13th December, Day 44
Santa With Muscles (John Murlowski, 1996)
The Immortal Hulk Hogan plays Blake Thorn (great name), a millionaire health food salesman. Or lifestyle coach. Or something. He’s selfish, self centred and arrogant, and treats his employees like garbage. He enjoys beating them up (under the premise of “training”) and humiliating them. One day Blake and his crew are driving to a paintball game, when they are chased by the police. Rather than pull over (like any right minded person, especially like any right minded slightly dodgy person would do), Blake decides to start his paintball game early, firing off at the police and goading them into chasing him off-road. He eventually gets to a shopping mall, ditches his vehicle and puts on a Santa suit to disguise himself. His escape down a rubbish chute causes him to bang his head and end up with amnesia – and leads Blake to believe that he is in fact Santa Claus!
Can this Santa with muscles change his ways? Can he save the local orphanage threatened by Ed Begley JR’s evil scientist and his henchmen? Can this humble Usher make it through the whole film?
So… this is bad on so many levels. Stupid and silly, but not in a good way. This has the quality of a sketch on a Saturday morning kid’s TV show, when they get a special guest to act in a silly 3 minute skit. If you’re not a wrestling fan, Hulk Hogan was a mega star – a MEGA star -and one of the most charismatic men on Earth. It’s strange that he never managed to convey that properly on film – Thunderlips in Rocky III and that cameo in Gremlins 2 are his film highlights. Maybe like a great stage actor he couldn’t tone it down enough to work in film.
I’m convinced that “so bad it’s good” is one of the most overused clichés around. The number of films that actually are so bad they are entertaining is tiny. And this definitely isn’t one of them. So bad it’s really, really bad.
I suppose the film would be better if we saw more of Blake Thorn before his amnesia. Or if there was an actual redemption – he doesn’t change his ways like Scrooge, he just forgets who he is and has another identity imprinted on him. Or if there weren’t a bunch of plot points that don’t make sense at all…
Actually, yesterday’s Santa’s Little Helper with The Miz (itself nothing more or less than a good, solid family film) has a very similar story. Compared to this though, it’s The Third Man.
Santa With Muscles is a bona-fide Christmas Pudding.
Overall, I give this
That was rough ! It almost made me want to rethink my whole scoring system and give it ZERO, but there’s a young Mila Kunis appearance and Ed Begley Jr, so it’s not totally pointless. Very nearly though.
I finish off the wrestling trilogy with a horror film fronted by the “Conqueror… of the Conqueror… of the Streak” Goldberg in SANTA’S SLAY!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppets Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas
29th November, Day 30: Jingle All The Way
30th November, Day 31: Rare Exports
1st December, Day 32: Polar Express
2nd December, Day 33: A Christmas Story
3rd December, Day 34: Bad Santa
4th December, Day 35: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
5th December, Day 36: Santa Claus: The Movie
6th December, Day 37: Krampus
7th December, Day 38: Christmas With The Kranks
8th December, Day 39: White Christmas
9th December, Day 40: A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
10th December, Day 41: Christmas With The Coopers
11th December, Day 42: Fred Claus
12th December, Day 43: Santa’s Little Helper
13th December, Day 44: Santa With Muscles