i was actually working on a couple of things that i was going to write about. by chance i happened to catch suburban commando on tv while working those things out. as someone who can’t stand injustice, i decided: screw themes, there’s injustice i need to address (considering the negative responses this film got). so here we are looking at suburban commando. screw mother’s day movies. and no, we’re not doing a wrestlers -> actors theme. although i should have related it to a movie starring wrestler hulk hogan to hulk and therefore marvel and therefore thor. or another wrestler -> actor like the rock, who’s in fast five: attack of the gap ads. but that would be a long reach. so instead, it’s just a movie i watched that i like but most people hate. as if it means anything, it currently has a 3.8 user rating on imdb and 20% rotten tomatoes rating.
but enough about that crap(let’s just agree to agree/disagree that imdb is only good for information and facts, and its message board and ratings are as useless as the whole rotten tomatoes website). i would also like to disclaim that this is not one of those i-saw-it-during-my-childhood-and-therefore-even-though-it’s-crap-i-still-love-it-because-of-fond-memory scenarios. i never really watched wrestling either, except for maybe a few years in college, and it wasn’t one of the years that hulk hogan was on wwf. even if he was, i wouldn’t have necessarily like his movies. case in point, the rock: the rundown, his snl gigs, the get smart bit part, the other guys cameo = good. be cool, the mummy movies = crap.
damn, this was going to be a short review.
anyway, in suburban commando, hulk hogan plays space warrior shep ramsey who has six weeks of time to kill after his spaceship breaks down, so he landed on the closest planet, earth. while stuck on earth he finds a place to stay with wimpy architect christopher lloyd and his family in the suburbs. shep ramsey, whose name kept reminding me of chef gordon ramsey throughout the movie, also has two space bounty hunters after him and the main space villain, general suitor.
the i.o.a.s.™, or inconsequential opening action sequence as i call it, is pretty much the only scenes in space. except this time it actually come back later as a plot point. it’s pretty much a rip-off of star wars. i don’t really have a problem with that since i’m pretty apathetic towards star wars. and i don’t really care if someone rips it off since george lucas himself has ripped off himself and released them in theatres and dvds multiple times including vhs, dvd, digitally remastered vhs, digitally remastered dvd, blu-ray, 3D, and spin offs. unless you’re doing a shitty ripoff job like battlefield earth, i don’t really give a force. shep ramsey’s chief nemesis is general suitor, who wears all black, with capes and all. i would say he’s more badass than darth because: A. he’s not a black man with white voice. 2. he doesn’t wear a mask. and III. he keeps canes top with skulls in the control room of his ship, in a nice museum-like case. or maybe he owns a spencer’s and it’s space halloween.
the film is actually quite entertaining when shep ramsey got to earth. i don’t know why but he decided to land his space ship in a former disco. i like the fact that he ripped off the electrical cords so that the disco music would stop playing. once outside, we see him walking around and doing good deeds just like superman. i was thinking, i can watch him doing this for the entire movie. thankfully, the movie throws one of these good deeds in every once in a while(helping dogs stuck in cars, rescuing cats from trees…etc). much like the terminator, he also find human clothes to wear so he can get rid of his space clothes. and while walking around, he finds an ad for an apartment for rent. i wouldn’t have mentioned this except for the fact that this particular ad is stapled on a lamppost with no phone numbers or address other than the words “apartment for rent” and an arrow pointing to a direction. i probably couldn’t find the place based on that ad. you probably couldn’t either. but then neither you nor i are space warriors.
in between we meet the wimpy architect charlie wilcox played by christopher lloyd who’s working harder than everyone else at his company but gets none of the credits. he’s afraid to ask for a raise even though his wife shelly duvall(annie hall, the shining, popeye) told him that they need the money. hopefully, none of you work at a place where not only do you not get fortune but your boss, larry miller(frozen assets, radioland murders) in this case, gets all the credit. being an 80s/early 90s movie, of course, japanese businessmen are involved. you may wonder how wilcox is able to work the space gadgets but i’m sure someone who created a time machine out of a delorean can figure something like that with no problem.
from then on it’s more or less an action buddy comedy with some fish-out-of-water bits thrown in. the spaceman on earth stuff is pretty elementary. there are way too much of the mime and such. there are, however, several things in the movie that seem inspired and made me laugh, something that’s lacking in most dtv movies i’ve seen:
• instead of physical conflicts, the asshole neighbors of the wilcoxes said “this is the 90s, we’re gonna sue you.” considering the year the movie was made, it was a crucial line during the important turning point in action cinema where hardcore macho-ness is no long in fashion.
• a banker joke that probably was somewhat relatable when the movie was made but is even more relevant now.
• the skateboard thrown into the sky by our strong space warrior would have been forgotten in a lesser movie. but in suburban commando, it actually has a callback later on as a joke.
• during the climax when the villain has the talking killer syndrome, where instead of giving long speeches detailing his plans, it would have been easier for said villain, general suitor, to just shot our space warrior, hulk the space warrior actually said, “what are you? going to bored me to death with your speeches?”
overall it’s a pretty entertaining pg family comedy, with some surprisingly good action scenes. there’s even a hulk hogan vs. the undertaker sequence. and more importantly, the action scenes actually look like wrestling. you have to admire the fact that it was done in a way that is faithful to the star of the movie. it doesn’t try to make him into a boring hardcore action hero. unlike some of the later wwe films.
a lot of the negative responses for the film focus on the fact that hulk hogan is not much of an actor or an actor with much range. but i don’t see it stopping arnold. hulk hogan is fine as the screenplay requires. in fact, the script was originally offered to arnold and danny devito but they decided to do twins instead. personally, i think it would have been redundant for arnold to do the terminator movies and kindergarten cops and all those movies with danny devito AND this too. plus, he already did a movie called commando. it would have been too repetitive. the arnold association goes further than just the terminator/fish-out-of-water element. in fact, he even mentioned anti-freeze in the movie and it came off way better than “ah-loud meee ta break dee eyeees” in batman and robin. he even has cheesy one liners in each action sequence just like arnold would have.
there are way too many lame jokes that are more painful than funny but as a whole it probably works better than jingle all the way or the pacifier or the tooth fairy. granted, i haven’t seen any of those movies, but maybe in 20 years, i’ll watch and enjoy them. don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, suburban commando is a perfectly fine second to kindergarten cop, but not as painful as junior or as boring as end of days, it’s not mst3k bad either. going in with the right mindset, it’s a fun weekend afternoon for the whole family.
maybe they’ll use that quote for the blu-ray release.
p.s. in addition to the undertaker, there’s also a cameo from peggy from mad men, as the girl who lost her cat. predator also makes an unofficial appearance.