Plot: Blake Thorne (Hulk Hogan) has it all, the kind of lavish lifestyle most people could only dream about. His health food and supplements empire is vast, allowing him to have all of his whims, regardless of how outlandish, catered to. As his fame and fortune have grown, Blake has become more and more self centered, putting his own desires above all else in his life. When his staff helps him arrange an epic paintball shootout however, Blake runs into trouble when things get out of hand and the police show up. Unwilling to face the music, Blake hides from the cops and disguises himself as a store Santa Clause, which only leads to more trouble. In the chase that followed, Blake suffered a head injury and lost his memory, at which time one of the store’s elves steps in to convince Blake that he is the real Santa. Will the plan work and find Blake using his wealth for good, or will he recover his memory and squash the good deeds?
Entertainment Value: Hulk Hogan as Santa Clause. That’s the premise here and if you’re curious about Hogan in a cheese filled Christmas movie, then you might have some fun with this ridiculous picture. I have to think most viewers would know if they’re going to be into Santa with Muscles based on that information alone, since Hogan as Santa is a clear indicator of the content involved. The narrative is of course outlandish, but it sets up a parade of hokey humor and Hogan in laughable action scenes, so I think it does what it needs to do. The tone is slapstick and beyond cheese soaked, with bad jokes, wooden performances, and over the top characters galore. So no, Santa with Muscles is not going to dazzle on the art house circuit perhaps, but it knows what it is and plays to the wackiness throughout. I have a soft spot for lame jokes and cringe one liners, so I had a lot of fun here and with Hogan in the lead, the groan inducing dialogue is taken up a few levels to boot. So if you don’t have an appreciation for b movie cheese or Hogan’s signature thespian abilities, you might be left cold by this one, but for those who devour corny cinema, Santa with Muscles is recommended.
You know what’s in store when Hulk Hogan is your lead, as his film career is decorated with the same approach to the art of cinema. Hogan has a natural charisma in the wrestling world, but he struggled to bring that across on the big screen, which lead to a resume of b movie flops. So if you want nuance or polished screen presence, Hogan isn’t going to trip those switches, but if you’re like me and have a love for the over the top cheese, Hogan delivers on that front. In Santa with Muscles, he does his usual routine and is given some light action scenes, peppered with awful one liners. Hogan brings a stilted, sometimes downright wooden performance to the table and that syncs up well with the laughable script. His one liners have that extra kick of ridiculousness, while the action scenes are hilarious, especially the slow motion, overly simple martial arts sequences. I always have fun when Hogan appears in movies and while I know not everyone shares that opinion, I think his presence in a film lead ensures some solid b movie magic. The cast also includes Ed Begley, Jr., Mila Kunis, Clint Howard, Don Stark, and Garrett Morris.
The Disc: I was pleased to see this movie released on Blu-ray and Mill Creek Entertainment has drummed up a solid, if unremarkable treatment. The print looks clean and the image shows good detail, making it a step above a DVD version, but there’s not a lot after that to talk about. The colors are fine and contrast is accurate, but depth and detail aren’t great, just passable. Even so, the price for this budget release is quite low, so the value is there.