By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
Professional Wrestler “Rip” Thomas (Hulk Hogan) is on the top of his game as the heavyweight champion of the world. He is loved for his charity work, and respected for his honesty and kind demeanor. This doesn’t sit well with Brell (Kurt Fuller), the executive of a rival TV station whose ratings have suffered each time Rip fights. When Rip refuses their offer to fight for his TV station (because TV stations own wrestling?), Brell sets out to destroy Rip and overshadow his achievements with a new wresting tournament, aptly named; “The Battle of the Tough Guys”.
If you go into a movie starring Hulk Hogan, you know what you’re getting into. If you act all sophisticated and claim that testosterone-fueled action and awkward line-delivery aren’t in the cards when you sign up, you’re fooling only yourself. This is a movie which delivers exactly what it promises and manages to give just a little big more, in the form of a script reportedly doctored by the Hulkster and Vince McMahon themselves (according to IMDB’s inerrant ‘Trivia Section”). Let’s just say that David Mamet couldn’t have written a scene as curiously stylized as this:
As the above video demonstrates; Hulk Hogan and company are an “acting” force to be reckoned with. The tension runs high in this film as Rip sees his friends and family threatened in the name of big-business. As a performer, Hulk Hogan manages to display a wide range of almost-human emotions. In one scene in particular, after seeing his brother hospitalized in critical condition, he breaks down sobbing. I can imagine that to prepare for this moment, Hogan put himself in a dark place, perhaps locking himself in a room without his steroid needles?
As everyone knows, the first rule in cinematic fight choreography is not to appear like any punches are being landed effectively. Through the magic of judicious editing, the pulled-punches and staged theatrics manage to somehow feel even less believable. This might be forgivable if the film showed any injuries, but no matter how many punches Hulk Hogan takes, he never gets so much as a scratch.
Mid-way through the film Brell and his corporate henchman visit a seedy wrestling bar (which apparently also exist…) in which the idea is conceived to build up a bigger, more violent Wresting show. In this show, there are no rules, and the show naturally becomes a hit almost immediately. Which begs the question; why does Brell still need Rip to come to his show? Hasn’t he already won? Yes, I am questioning the logic of a movie which features facial expressions like this:
The 1980s was a strange time when films were often clearly made for children, even though they featured incredibly dark themes and violence. Featuring implied attempted-rape, violence, and characters who talk about murder like it is just another day at the office, No Holds Barred ironically holds back on actually showing any teeth in the name of scenes with cartoonish humor and poop jokes. There is a certain appeal to the wrong-headedness of it all, actually.
Kurt Fuller’s performance in this film is both the best and worst thing about this movie. On one hand, if you’re of a mind to watch a powerful performance from a character actor at the peak of their emotional skills… don’t expect it here. But if you want something more of the “Jeremy Irons from Dungeons and Dragons” ilk, you’ve come to the right place…
Probably Hulk Hogan’s finest film. That and six beers buy you a cup of coffee.
What? That doesn’t even make sense- Editor
No, No it doesn’t…
Take a Drink: whenever Hulk Hogan’s face contorts like he’s taking the world’s most painful dump
Take a Drink: each time the evil corporate executives do something clearly against their own aims/interests
Drink a Shot: each time Brell (Kurt Fuller) says “Jock Ass”