Suburban Commando – The Worst Movies Ever
In 1991, I was in fifth grade. As you may recall, it’s a strange, yet wonderful time in your life. My social environment was fairly insular; I went to a small grammar school and there were maybe 22 kids in my class. One day, my buddy and I came up with the idea of asking some girls to go with us to the movies. At the time, he and I would at least try to go the movies every single weekend just for the sake of going and we always had fun, no matter what movie we saw. To my surprise, the girls said yes, and someone’s mom whisked us away to the theater. With such a menagerie in tow, we never considered the possibility of sneaking into an R rated movie, so we saw what was available at the time we were able to arrange.
That something was Suburban Commando.
I was not a hard kid to impress, but I thought this movie bit the big one. However, there was a much younger child (maybe 6) in attendance who loved this movie and kept clapping. I remember this experience in vivid detail – this movie is burned into my brain. I only saw it the one time, until my girlfriend and I watched it again just recently, and I’m shocked at how much I retained. It’s that bad – the movie frigging traumatized me!
Na, I’m kidding, it just sucks and I learned a valuable lesson – sometimes it is OK to judge a book by its cover.
The movie opens on Hulk Hogan, who is some sort of outer space army special operatives guy who is trying to save the outer space president from an outer space bad guy. If you hadn’t already arrived that the movie opens in space, it does – and I iterate this point because this movie came out in 1991 and cost $11 million dollars. You couldn’t make a movie (even if it’s only a few scenes) that opens on a crazy space battle for $11 million back then without it looking like absolute crap, and that’s what it does. Even the film stock looks like crap when they’re just sitting around in a regular house on earth – it’s like to afford the crappy special effects, they had to sacrifice lighting. Anyway, Hulk Hogan doesn’t save the space president, the space bad guy gets away and his space boss yells at him. His space boss suggests that Hulk Hogan takes a vacation, and this suggestion makes him so made that he whacks his space ship control console in frustration and breaks it, forcing him to land on earth for repairs. Trapped until he can make repairs, he rents a room from Christopher Lloyd and his wife, Shelley Duvall. Hilarious antics ensue, including skate board gags, badly choreographed action scenes, and several encounters between Hulk Hogan and a mime. See, the joke is, he doesn’t get what a mime is, so he frees him from the invisible box (pretty sure Hulk Hogan remarks, “Must be a K-7 force field; I’ll break you out of there!”), amongst several other encounters. Seems like a weird idea for a running joke, but as the movie goes on, you come to look forward to these encounters. Speaking of running jokes, there’s also this weird thing with Christopher Lloyd and various other motorists who have an ongoing antagonistic relationship with a short green light.
There are a few jokes that catch you off guard:
[Hulk Hogan moves a neighbor’s hot rod that is blocking his landlord’s driveway]
Deak (): Do you have any idea what we are gonna do to you, if we find one itty, bitty scratch on ’em?
Shep Ramsey (Hulk Hogan): Let me guess. You’re gonna pound my face. Break every bone in my body. Then you’re gonna drag me across a gravel road and feed my remains to a warthog. Is that about right?
Deak: What are you nuts? This is the ’90s. We’re gonna sue you.
Shep Ramsey (Hulk Hogan): They’re here.
Charlie Wilcox (Christopher Lloyd): Who’s here?
Shep Ramsey: A couple of leeches that make their living of the blood of others.
Charlie Wilcox: Investment bankers?
Now that is comedy.
Anyway, at the end of the movie, Hulk Hogan fights and inevitably defeats a guy in one of the cheapest monster costumes I’ve ever seen outside of a Godzilla movie – except in Godzilla movies, they’re smart enough not to put somebody not wearing a ridiculous costume next to someone who is. Anyway, Hulk Hogan leaves earth with some woman he picked up at Christopher Lloyd’s office, and life moves on, everyone better for the experience. Well, not the bad guy in the bad monster costume – he’s dead.
Apparently, this movie was originally intended to be Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger instead of Christopher Lloyd and Hulk Hogan, but those guys decided to make Twins instead. (And Junior! I also saw that in the theater. Yeesh.) It’s kinda hard to believe somebody saw Hulk Hogan in No Holds Barred and thought, “We’ve got to get another project for this guy!” Didn’t they see Rocky III? That’s as much Hulk Hogan as you need. I know he’s “the ultimate male,” but did we really need another movie starring the icon behind Pastamania?
I don’t have much to say about this movie’s crap factor, except that it looks like shit, the story is shit – hell, even the stock music is shit. The same damn adventure theme plays over and over throughout the entire flick.
Anyway, Suburban Commando is a huge embarrassing failure that only made $6.9 million at the domestic box office (yeah, the US release couldn’t cover the budget) and includes the worst performance I’ve ever seen Christopher Lloyd give, but it’s crap factor is charming in a shitty 80s sort of way, even if the movie came out in ’91.
Huh, looks like the entire movie is posted – check it out!