I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying “so bad, it’s good.” It’s typically used to describe something that, for whatever reason, lacks quality but offers some sort of appeal. The fact remains that it’s bad… and yet we still love it. That’s the purpose of this new column; a chronicling of all the schlocky, silly and occasionally downright awful films that no sane person should have to sit through. What better film to kick things off with than the one that got me started down this long, lonesome road: SUBURBAN COMMANDO.
Released in 1991, Suburban Commando marked Hulk Hogan’s second feature film and arguably featured the biggest cast of Hogan’s career – at least in term of name recognition. Christopher Lloyd, hot off the heels of Back to the Future Part III, stars as Charlie Wilcox alongside Shelley Duvall as his wife, Jenny. It was an eclectic cast to say the least.
For his part Hogan hams it up respectfully as Shep Ramsey, an intergalactic warrior who crash lands on Earth. Ramsey quickly recovers, managing to find a home with the Wilcox family where he learns about life on Earth. You know… things like how to murder cars, squeezing the life out of an old lady’s melons and beating up on a mime. Hilarity ensues (not really) as Hogan grunts and smashes his way through scene after scene.
Before you know it, half of the movie is over before the “action” portion of this action-comedy comes back into play. Ramsey’s archnemesis, General Suitor, sends two bounty hunters to track him down. In a cool as hell cameo moment, The Undertaker (Mark Calloway) makes a silent appearance as one of the goons. Sadly, there’s no Survivor Series-style battle between the two.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the entire film is the opening sequence during which Ramsey overtakes an entire spaceship, trying to save President Hashina (president of what now?) only to abandon the mission when Gen. Suitor flips out and turns into a reptilian monster. It’s ample doses heroic and unbelievably goofy, a C-list grab for Star Wars space cred. Despite its flaws, Suburban Commando remains one of my favorite guilty pleasures. It’s a fun, wacky time capsule of early 90s cinema and… well, let’s face it, far from the worst film Hogan’s ever done.