Santa With Muscles (1996)
What’s It About: Hulk Hogan as Santa—no way this can be bad, right? The movie starts with a little girl reading a letter she has written to Santa about how the bad guy, Ebner Frost, has some crap up his sleeve and may do something bad this Christmas. So move. That’s what we did when Jimmy Carter moved into my town. Anyway, we go from a cute little girl writing a letter to Santa to Hulk Hogan with short hair, which is just ridiculous. Has anyone with naturally long hair ever worn a wig so they can have short hair? He sneaks through the yard of a mansion, fighting a variety of domesticated bad guys (butler, chauffeur, chef, gardener, etc.) and it turns out he’s just doing it for exercise. BIG TWIST! Hogan is evil billionaire Blake Thorne! Apparently he’s made his billions off of crappy health food. He keeps spouting off “Blake’s Rules” like “Never surrender” and “Why wear a wig when a doo-rag or hat works just as well at hiding your baldness and is cheaper than paying a makeup person to put Hulk Hogan’s wig on every day before filming?”
So Blake is acting like a jerk in his Hummer and runs afoul of local policeman Clint Howard, played by Clint Howard. Blake runs into a mall who coincidentally is missing their mall Santa. Then we are treated to a scene where some guy is tortured by Frost’s minions because he won’t sell Frost his shoe store. It’s really not worth going into. I have a feeling a great deal of this movie won’t be worth going into. Back at the mall, Blake disguises himself in a Santa suit. It completely fools Clint Howard, which is not easy to do. Long story short, Blake gets hit on the head and thinks he’s actually Santa. Like the real Santa, not just a guy who happens to be wearing a Santa suit. So getting hit on the head not only gave him amnesia, it also gave him the gullibility of a 3-year-old orangutan. An elf steals his wallet. It’s really not worth getting into.
This movie looks like it was shot on some type of video that lost to Betamax in a burn victim beauty pageant.
So kids sit on his lap and it’s just so awkward! Of course, he gets into a fight with two guys who try to steal money from a charity booth at the mall. Everyone loves it. No one calls the cops.
Frost wants to like rob an orphanage or something. Of course he does. What other kind of plot would there be? By the way, Frost is played by Ed Begley Jr., who is an interesting foil for Hulk Hogan because he’s the total opposite of menacing and his acting ability is pretty much on the same level. Hey Mila Kunis lives at the orphanage! Unfortunately it’s 1996. Hey Garret Morris works at the orphanage! Unfortunately it’s 1996.
Wouldn’t you now it, Santa rescues the orphans from the bad guys, and they take a shine to him. Another kid has huge ears and is really sad, like so many movie orphans before him. This movie is basically every cliché chugged down the throat of a dying reindeer and pissed out onto a script.
There are three orphans at this orphanage. There’s a great scene where everyone is eating dinner and laughing, and the laughter is clearly dubbed in and repeated on a loop, kind of like when the Joker dies at the end of Tim Burton’s Batman. Then we’re treated to a scene where Blake drinks milk in slow motion for no real reason.
So let’s make this brief. You don’t care and I refuse to make my fingers move recapping this crap any more than necessary. Lenny the elf gets bullied by Frost to help get rid of Blake. Blake fights the bad guys again. Frost keeps yelling about the orphanage , because it’s sitting on top of an underground vault, even though he could probably just tunnel in there somehow and get what he is after without bothering the people who live above it at all, which just also happens to be the exact same plot hole as Avatar. Although Santa with Muscles probably has a better story overall.
Somehow Blake knows the combination to the vault, and they open the door to a cave that has glowing quartz crystals inside (which also makes the windows of the church glow somehow). And they explode if you drop them, like a bomb, a bomb called Santa with Muscles.
Blake keeps fighting the exact same henchman and it gets really really really really old. The guy actually puts up a bit of a fight against Blake even though Blake outweighs him by about 150 pounds. Blake gets pushed off a tower by a mechanical Santa somehow, lands in a garbage truck, and gets his memory back, even though he doesn’t really hit his head again. Maybe it was the shock of being in this movie.
Then Frost comes back to the orphanage and kidnaps everyone. Not sure why he’s never tried this before. Although there have been multiple break-ins and assaults at this orphanage, NOBODY EVER CALLS THE COPS.
Anyway, Lenny calls Blake, Blake comes back, defeats the bad guys. Blake gets on the phone with that same henchman, and Blake menacingly says, “Remind me to introduce you to my two little friends, Lefty and Righty.” Clearly he’s talking about his testicles.
This is the point where you say out loud, “Oh my god, there’s still 20 minutes left?!”
Blake has to outrun the cops again, even though he could probably just go the speed limit, and one of them tries to stop his vehicle with a rocket launcher. I wish I had a rocket launcher when I suggested that reviewing Christmas movies would be a good idea so I could have bludgeoned myself in the head with it.
So you know the drill, Blake comes to kick ass at the orphanage. The one notable thing here is that one of the bad guys Blake fights is Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, who is Hulk Hogan’s long-time lover.
So even though all this is going on, Garrett Morris gets the chance to talk, and he tells Blake that Blake grew up in the orphanage, and his best friend was Frost. So Blake had amnesia previously, I guess? How would you not remember that?
Blake goes after Frost in the exploding crystal cave. I bet there’s an explosion. Blake and Frost sword fight with two long crystals, then everyone narrowly escapes as the cave explodes.
Anyway, bad guys go to jail, orphans end up funded by Blake and living in Frost’s old mansion. And we’re all surprised.
Is It Actually Jolly?: I guess it tries to be, but it’s just too dumb. It actually has very little to do with Christmas. The Santa thing is mostly just a convenient way for the amnesic Blake to start acting nice, but other than him dressed up as Santa, Christmas is barely even mentioned. It doesn’t help that the movie is set in California, and there’s no snow at all. Blake could have just as easily been dressed up as Uncle Sam.
Jolliest Moment: Blake comes back for the kids, and the non-Mila Kunis girl says, “You’re not Santa! You’re better!” Shut up, little girl.
Dumbest Moment: Anything Lenny the elf does. He’s like a tornado of manic idiocy. I’ve never seen anything like it. But probably the dumbest moment is when he tries to use an ATM fingerprint scanner by scanning a glass that Blake used. The only thing it scans is flop sweat and Hulk Hogan’s desperation.
Overall: Seriously, did Hulk Hogan really need money this badly? He’s the most popular wrestler of all time, and was the face of an entire industry when wrestling was at its absolute peak in the public consciousness. He either spent every penny he had on motorcycles and exotic hair restoration techniques that just didn’t work, or he just ravenously craved any type of stardom outside of the squared circle. Out of all the horrible movies he made, this one is probably the worst, if you can believe it. The guy had absolutely no filter for taste and good judgment. Even No Holds Barred, a movie where he stuck to something in his wheelhouse, was totally terrible. Like a virgin at the prom, he didn’t know when to give it up.
Check out this clip from WCW Monday Nitro, where Hogan, in his bad guy Hollywood Hogan persona, actually attempts to promote Santa With Muscles. It’s very sad, especially when you consider that there are more people in that arena than people who went to the theater to see Santa With Muscles.
Anyway, the movie is completely awful and has no redeemable qualities, but I’ve been more bored and angry watching movies before. HO, HO, HOGAN!Score: 2.5 (out of 10)