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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

New Line Home Cinema presents
Suburban Commando (1991)

Tough Guy: Do you got any idea what we're gonna do to you?
Shep: Let me guess. You're gonna pound my face?
Tough Guy: What are you, nuts? This is the '90s. We're gonna sue you.

- Hulk Hogan

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: November 21, 2002

Stars: Hulk Hogan, Christopher Lloyd
Other Stars: Shelly Duvall, Larry Miller, William Ball, Michael Faustino, Laura Mooney
Director: Burt Kennedy

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: PG for comic action and mild language
Run Time: 01h:30m:30s
Release Date: August 20, 2002
UPC: 794043557323
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- C-BB D-

DVD Review

Hulk Hogan, not content to be admired merely by his wee wrestling fans, tried to establish himself as a film star in the early 1990s, pumping out a couple of brainless kid-friendly comedies that required of him little in the way of acting talent. Particularly since most of the humor is of either the "smack, bonk, nyuck nyuck" or the "Look, it's Hulk Hogan! And he's fruit shopping!" variety. So, basically, if Three Stooges-style abuse and the idea of a beefy, middle-aged guy performing mundane household chores equals funny for you, then put films from the Hogan library on your rental list. Suburban Commando, the sci-fi flavored version of the Hogan formula, is probably the best of the bunch, if only for the participation of some big name character actors, including Christopher Lloyd, Larry Miller, and Shelly Duvall.

The chintzy outer space opening (with sets that look like something out of vintage Lost in Space) sets up Shep Ramsey (Hogan, looking smart in plastic armor, power mullet intact) as the ultimate hero in the universe (but it's easy to be a hero when your opponents are this stupid; they need to do some reading), but his boss still thinks he's slipping, and orders him to take a vacation. His ship runs out of gas over Earth and he lands in a peaceful suburb. Except because this is a "funny" comedy, we get whacky scenes of Shep reacting to everything violently and with much waggling of the eyebrows ("Earthlings," he says. "I hate earthlings." Hilarious?). He gets a room with architect Charlie Wilcox (Christopher Lloyd) and his family and tries to blend in (but he doesn't try too hard, because then he wouldn't bonk his head nearly as often, and big guys bonking themselves on the head is funny). Soon, however, his arch-nemesis Suitor (William Ball) tracks him down (See, Shep, that's what you get for letting him die off-screen), and the Shepster is forced to swallow his pride and ask the earthlings for help (I wonder if by the end of the movie, he'll come to realize that he does not, in fact, hate earthlings? Nah.).

Director Burt Kennedy, a veteran of TV, does his best to keep the pace going strong, but Suburban Commando bogs down about 30 minutes in. You can't expect too much of movies like this, I suppose, because you aren't going to get it. Basically, there are a bunch of scenes of Shep acting stupid, then the aliens come, and then he acts stupid some more, and there's some drama with people being kidnapped, and then the good guys win, and then it ends. There's no real plot, and no real character development. Just a loose framework upon which to hang fistfights and pratfalls (like many so-called "children's" films, this one is rather violent, especially considering the scene in which the villain gets his hand cut off, on-screen). Kids will probably be amused, but they could also probably watch something a little less brainless. Like maybe wrestling. I'm telling you, it's just a soap opera in spandex.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: This is a pretty nice looking transfer. Colors are crisp, fine detail is passable (even if the image is a bit soft), and blacks are solid (though shadow detail isn't great). On the down side, grain is occasionally intrusive and there's more edge enhancement than I'd like. A full screen transfer is also offered on the same side of the DVD-9.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 DD soundtrack remix takes full advantage of the sci-fi premise. The front soundstage handles things quite nicely, with dialogue anchored in the center and always clear, and sound effects presented with good directionality, and the surrounds are quite active, particularly in the space scenes, with ships whooshing about and lasers pinging overhead. Sometimes the surround use becomes a little much, though, and some of the choices are kind of baffling (like the punch that lands both in the front left and the rear left surround channels). Not bad overall, though, especially if you like having your surrounds active whether it makes sense or not.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Pick that Flick game
Extras Review: Just the trailer and New Line's now-familiar Pick that Flick game.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Suburban Commando is harmless, if obnoxious, formulaic children's fare. Even the cheese factor (bad sets + Hulk Hogan + inane premise = comedy) can't overcome the tired jokes and bland acting. New Line's DVD isn't bad, however, and I can't argue with the sticker price. Strictly for kids (just like pro wrestling!).

 


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