New Line // 1991 // 88 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // August 19th, 2002
Right suburb. Wrong Planet.
Shep Ramsey (wrestling sensation Hulk Hogan) is an intergalactic superhero clad in silver armor, an '80s haircut, and some snazzy weapons. After he seemingly defeats an alien nemesis named General Suitor (William Ball), Ramsey is instructed by his superiors to get some R&R on the planet earth for the next six weeks. This doesn't sit well with Ramsey, who seems to disdain everything about humans ("Earthlings," the dialogue cleverly goes, "I hate earthlings!"). After crash landing his spacecraft and stealing some clothes, Ramsey rents out an apartment from suburbanites Charlie (Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future) and Jenny Wilcox (Shelley Duvall, The Shining). Charlie is a nice enough guy, but unfortunately he's a bit of a push over when it comes to his manipulative boss (Larry Miller, 10 Things I Hate About You) and thuggish neighbors. When a signal from Shep's suit is accidentally sent to some evil bounty hunters in the furthest reaches of the galaxy, earth becomes one big battleground for General Suitor's minions. As Shep tries to figure out a way to stop the bad guys, Charlie begins to learn what it means to build his confidence and stand up for himself!
For the briefest moment in time, it appeared as if Hulk Hogan might actually produce feature film success. This idea was quickly squandered after Hogan's laughably bad No Holds Barred. Then came Suburban Commando and...well, we all know the rest of that story: goodbye Hollywood movie dreams, hello straight-to-video crapola. I realize that I really don't need to say Suburban Commando is a pretty shoddy movie -- just one peek at the DVD cover tells the viewer all he needs to know. Suburban Commando's main goal is to wring chuckles out of watching Hogan's character interact with "normal" suburban folks. Watch as Hulk Hogan falls flat on his butt while attempting to use a skateboard! Chuckle as he almost kills the postman after delivering a letter through the front door mail slot! And who wouldn't find it hysterically funny to watch Hulk Hogan play an arcade game, all the while thinking it's actually real? I, for one, wasn't amused. The gags are too scattershot to work (some jokes seem obviously aimed at children, while others are almost appallingly adult) and the story is about as thin as Hogan's receding hairline. It's almost painful to watch the usually wonderful Christopher Lloyd wasted upon such drivel -- the man who once played Doc Brown reduced to this? Hulk Hogan makes about as good an actor as Burt Reynolds would a nuclear physicist. The special effects are mostly cheesy, while the acting seems to be all over the map and unbalanced (Lloyd plays it serious while Duvall hams it up). The movie isn't a total travesty, though it's nothing that will interest most age groups -- leaving only die hard wrestling fans as its core audience. And one hopes that even they have the brains to stay away from this wasted lump of celluloid.
Suburban Commando is presented in what appears to be 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Surprisingly, this is a fairly decent looking transfer that sports only minimal problems. Aside of some grain and edge enhancement, this picture includes well saturated black levels and bright color schemes. The soundtrack is also nice, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, both in English. New Line has done a good job with the rumbling directional effects (explosions and music are the best examples) while the mix appears to be free and clear of any excessive distortion or hiss. All in all the video and audio portions of this disc are far better than the film deserves. Also included on this disc is an optional full frame version of the film as well as English subtitles. I'd have been willing to jam a laser gun up my nose and pull the trigger if there had been a commentary track or featurette included on this disc. Luckily, I'd have won that bet -- the only extra features available on this disc are a theatrical trailer for the film and a "Pick That Flick" game that allows the viewer to guess which movie a certain still photo is from.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Theatrical Trailer
* "Pick That Flick" Game