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Suburban Commando (1991) * Worst Hit * - Happy Second Annual White Elephant Blog-A-Thon!!! (April 2007)

The Hulk in his most serious role yet
The Hulk in his most serious role yet

Genre: Action Comedy Sci-Fi Family

Starring: Hulk Hogan (Mr. Nanny3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain), Christopher Lloyd (Star Trek III: The Search for SpockBack to the Future)

Directed By: Burt Kennedy (Return of the Seven"Simon & Simon")

Overview: When an intergalactic hero damages his ship, he needs to lay low on Earth while it recharges. However this hero finds it hard to relax with all the rude suburbanites and bounty hunters on his tracks.

Last year I was invited to participate in the First Annual White Elephant Blog-A-Thon. It was such a fun event I couldn't wait for the next one, however lame my own personal assignment was.

My only condition - alright maybe more 'my only plea' - was 'Please for the love of God don't make it a Family Sports-Star-Animal Drama movie. Ben was nice and gave me a Family Wrestling-Star Sci-Fi movie, which though not a far leap, could have been much, much worse.

Firstly, Suburban Commando was more about surprises for me than anything else. It astounded me in many ways.

Surprises like, "Hey, Christopher Lloyd is in this?! Wait, whoa! Is that Shelly Duvall, of The Shining fame? And look at all those familiar looking secondary cast members! Is this actually a film with a budget? Is Hulk Hogan actually acting? Are you seriously telling me that he's actually decent as far as children's movie histrionic heroes go? Really! And holy are those special effects that special? Wow, it's at least as sophisticated as Star Wars! And that was made only fifteen years before this one! Astounding!"

My curiosity peaked, I decided to look up the director, which revealed ever more surprising news: Burt Kennedy got his directorial start doing shows in the early sixties, and progress to doing not-so-popular Westerns, often comedic, until he was directing made-for-TV movies and shows in the 80s, including 10 episodes of "Simon & Simon". From Westerns to Rastlin' Sci-Fi kids movies - a totally understandable genre shift.

When thinking of the 'film' itself, sure there's some gags that would only appeal to a seven-year-old, like the scene where Hulk is awakened by typical suburban Saturday morning sounds: lawnmowers, kids laughing and birds chirping. He gets up, goes outside and yells "Quiet!" , to which the entire community silences itself, intimidated by the Hulk's grand stature and evil moustache... all but a cricket. When Hogan glares down at it though, boy does that thing go quiet!

Oh and there's the scene where one of the ever-silent bounty hunters finally speaks a line, "You're a dead man, Ramsey." And this huge brute of a tough man, what does he sound like? He has a CHILD'S voice!

Oh, if that isn't some sweet gold, I just don't know what is!!!

Before I sign off I just wanted to add one more moment of astonishment, especially for a movie rated PG, namely that moment when I thought to myself, "Hey! Are you really allowed to depict rape in a kids' movie?" We all know the poor girl is going to get rescued, but when two chuckling and definitely horny bad dudes are dragging a screaming, pleading lady down to the dark patch of the warehouse district, does that say 'mugging' to you?


But overall, more than anything, what surprised me most was how innocuous Suburban Commando was. It didn't leave me with seething rage, it wrapped up all the odds and ends, and for as formulaic as the plot was, I was sufficiently entertained by the DVD to not puke all over it then throw the vomit-covered disk across the room and proceed to burn it in effigy... which sometimes is just enough of what you need to do someone a favour, be it Rom-Com night with the girl, or review-writing time for the White Elephant Blog-A-Thon.

And a mighty fine codpiece it is!
And a mighty fine codpiece it is!

Performance: 8 Cinematography: 7 Script: 6 Plot: 5 Mood: 7

Overall Rating: 66% (Quiet and Relaxing, But Don't Go Commando)

As I am wont to do during Blog-A-Thons, I thought I'd direct you to some recent related posts from my Hidden Phlegm Page, specifically those celebrating such events as really, really bad cinema.

Tripping Stardust Through Fetid Film

Part I

Part II

Part III - My Favourite

And of course, none of this would be possible without The White Elephant Blog-O-Thon being held over at Lucid Screening. I can guarantee I'll be reading every entry - especially my own suggested submission of The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf.

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I find that large, muscular, nonactors-turned-actors tend to be pretty good in children's films. Check out Kindergarten Cop for more on this.


Nice review!

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