Unwatchable #35: “Santa With Muscles”Posted: June 18, 2010
As those of you who check this blog on an hourly basis are all too aware, I was forced to skip #35 on our little countdown because I could not come up with a copy of the 1996 Hulk Hogan rarity Santa With Muscles at the time. But in this wondrous age of ours, YouTube always comes through eventually, and I knew it was only a matter of time before some Hogan completist posted the movie in excruciating 10-minute increments. As it turned out, the impetus for making this lost Christmas classic available was the release of a similar “wrestler-turned-actor plays beloved childhood icon” feature earlier this year: The Tooth Fairy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Yes, The Rock’s latest ill-advised career choice made this column possible. There’s nothing left to do now but look in the mirror and ask ourselves: Was it truly worth it?
At the time, I’m sure Mr. Hogan thought this noxious yule log was the logical follow-up to his family-friendly roles in Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny. The Hulkster stars as Blake Thorne, a rich prick who made his name as a professional wrestler (you don’t say!) and his fortune by plastering his face on the labels of Blake’s Way protein powder and salad dressing. He amuses himself by breaking into his own compound and having his butlers and chefs attack him with rakes and rolling pins, as well as engaging in paintball battles on the public thoroughfares. This doesn’t sit well with Deputy Hinkley (Unwatchable mainstay Clint Howard), who engages Blake’s Hummer in hot pursuit. Blake goes into hiding at a nearby mall, where the Santa on duty has recently gone missing. Blake dons the red suit as a disguise, then clunks his head, falls down a trash chute, and wakes up with a case of amnesia.
Lenny the Elf (Don Stark channeling Joe Pesci) steals his wallet, then leads him to Santa’s throne (or whatever it is Santa sits on at the mall; surely he’s deserving of a throne) to take requests from the kiddies, but when a pair of lowlifes attempt to steal a charity donation bowl, Blake becomes Ass-Kickin’ Mall Santa! He quickly wins over all the kids who have no idea what an asshole he really is, including a cute band of orphans…wait, is that li’l Mila Kunis? Why, yes it is! Goodness, that’s awkward. Anyway, the kiddies recruit Blake to help save their orphanage from the evil Ebner Frost (Ed Begley, Jr.), who wants to demolish it in order to gain access to the electrified quartz crystals in the caves beneath. (If Begley took this role in order to promote the idea of finding alternate energy sources, he really didn’t think this through.)
Really, what is there to say about a movie in which it’s understood that the use of rocket launchers to enforce traffic misdemeanors is authorized by the local law enforcement? We could dissect Hogan’s performance, I guess; he does make an attempt at cultivating some “rich guy” mannerisms, but these just make him seem gay, which I don’t think was the intention. (This impression is magnified when he later dons a modified costume that makes him look like the Village People’s Santa Claus.)
I don’t think there’s anything else you need to know about Santa With Muscles, except that Garrett Morris is in it for some reason. And, you know, it has a wonderful Christmas message about not being a big ol’ prick just because you’re rich. That’s worth something, I guess.
Previously on Unwatchable: