• Santa With Muscles (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: November 5th, 2019.
    Director: John Murlowski
    Cast: Hulk Hogan, Mila Kunis, Don Stark, Garrett Morris, Clint Howard, Ed Begley Jr.
    Year: 1996
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    Santa With Muscles – Movie Review:

    Hulk Hogan plays a millionaire jerk named Blake Thorne. He’s made a fortune selling health care products and bodybuilding gear and he occasionally engages in hand to hand combat with his employees for kicks. Blake also likes paintball, which leads to an altercation with the fuzz. While on the lam, Blake heads into the nearest mall, slips into a Santa suit, slides down a garbage chute and bonks his noggin. When he wakes up, he’s got amnesia and he thinks he’s Santa Claus. The fact that male mall employee, an ‘elf’ named Lenny (Don Stark), thinks Blake is the new mall Santa doesn’t help the situation at all.

    Meanwhile, a sinister scientist named Ebner Frost (Ed Begley, Jr.) makes plans to take over the local orphanage (seriously). See, there’s a bunch of powerful crystals underneath it that he wants access to and if he has to destroy the orphanage to get to them, so be it. What does he care if orphans like Sarah (Mila Kunis) will be without a home? He needs those crystals to help him breath cleaner air or some such nonsense. Also, the crystals will, and do, explode when dropped for some reason. When Santa Blake learns of this sinister plan, he takes it upon himself to save the kids and the orphanage alike, but of course, he doesn’t necessarily do things the way you’d expect him to.

    “Santa, you sleigh me!”

    Ho-ho-holy crap this movie is ridiculous, but it’s weirdly watchabe in the exact way you’d expect a family-friendly film with Hulk Hogan playing Santa Claus to be. Santa does use his muscles here, those 24-inch pythons flex frequently and all the little Santamaniacs at the orphanage do run wild, but can he act? No, not at all. Still, he’s got charisma and he looks crazed enough running about through all of this that it’s kind of… endearing? That might not be the right word given Hogan’s past but as muscle Santa guy he is at least amusing to watch, particularly when he’s beating up thugs in front of a radio shack while a crowd of onlookers cheer him on.

    Years ago, a wise, if fairly crazy, guy that I worked with told me that if you have big muscles, you shouldn’t wear shirts with sleeves on them. He cut the sleeves off almost all of his shirts and strutted about the building like he was the cock of the walk. Well, in Santa With Muscles, Hulk Hogan, also a crazy guy, has a Santa outfit with no sleeves on it. I’m not sure exactly what the connection is there, only that it exists, and it is very, very real. Also, the cops in this movie use bazookas, which is rad.

    The film also has a pretty neat supporting cast. It’s amusing seeing both Mila Kunis and Don Stark pop up here a few years before they’d be cast alongside one another in That 70’s Show. Stark in particular is quite amusing here, he’s just a weird guy who is funny to watch. Kunis just plays your standard, cliché, wide-eyed orphan girl and doesn’t do much more than that but she’s fine. Ed Begley Jr. hams it up and chews the scenery as the heavy, while Saturday Night Live star Garrett Morris has a small supporting role (he’s underused). Also, Clint Howard shows up in this, and Clint Howard is always a good time.

    Santa With Muscles – Blu-ray Review:

    Mill Creek Entertainment brings Santa With Muscles to Blu-ray on a 25GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. It looks okay. Not amazing, but okay. Definitely better than DVD could look. The compression artifacts are there, but they aren’t overpowering. The image is pretty clean, though naturally grainy in spots. Colors look good, black levels are decent and skin tones look fine. There are no problems with noise reduction or edge enhancement. Detail levels are okay but never reference quality.

    The only audio option offered here is a DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track in English. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. The audio quality is decent enough without being amazing. Levels are properly balanced and dialogue is clean and clear. No problems with any hiss or distortion to note. It’s a bit on the flat side but it’ll do.

    There are no extras on the disc, though inside the case is an insert allowing you digital access to the movie via MovieSpree.

    Santa With Muscles – The Final Word:

    Santa With Muscles is a ridiculously bad film but masochistic fans of the Hulkster need something to do around the holidays too, right? The Blu-ray looks and sounds okay – never great, but okay – though it has no extra features. It’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend something like this, but for the curious, and those who enjoy terrible films, well, here it is on Blu-ray at last.

    Click on the images below for full sized Santa With Muscles Blu-ray screen caps!