No Holds Barred (1989) Apr 26, 2017 12:42:24 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Apr 26, 2017 12:42:24 GMT -5
No Holds Barred (1989)
Directed by: Thomas J. Wright
Directed by: Thomas J. Wright
Tiny Lister and Hulk Hogan square off in No Holds Barred.
NOTE: This film was recommended to me by Danny Chamberlin for "Steve Pulaski Sees It," a month where I watch twenty-five films requested by friends, fans, and readers.
I love doing my movie-watching event "Steve Pulaski Sees It" because it gives readers and fans an opportunity to be involved in my content and see their name in one of my reviews. During this event, where people recommend me films, I often get a handful of classics or unsung gems that I haven't seen or films I swear people recommend me just so they can further see me approach some unforeseen level of insanity. Take a guess where No Holds Barred lies.
No Holds Barred is a movie ostensibly made by neanderthals for neanderthals, with its other target demographic presumably being prepubescent teenagers hyped up on one too many bowls of cereal. It's a pitiful and disastrous attempt to kickstart the film career of WWE wrestler Hulk Hogan in a childish and embarrassingly violent screenplay revolving around two abnormally muscular man-children competing for the dubious title of "the toughest guy in the world."
Such a lackadaisical premise inspires a myriad of sight-gags and hi-jinks, but if only more than a fourth of them prompted any amusement, No Holds Barred would be getting somewhere. Instead, it settles for very bad, bargain-basement stunts destined to be housed on a beat-up VHS tape collecting dust on the .50¢ rack of video stores or in the waterlogged crawlspaces of three-story homes.
Hogan plays Rip Thomas, a wildly successful WWF heavyweight wrestler who infuriates Brell (Kurt Fuller), the head of a struggling wrestling network. Rip has been loved and embraced by fans for years, and Brell attempts to buy his loyalty by offering him a blank check to be the poster-child of his network. When Rip declines, Brell angrily talks with his other associate yes-men, who decide to create an event called "Battle of the Tough Guys," a show centered around lawless fighting.
The men find their own face of the show and network in Zeus (Tiny Lister), a hulking muscleman with questionable mental stability that challenges Rip to a fight. It practically leaves with Rip with little choice, as does the encouragement of Samantha (Joan Severance), a woman sent by Brell to seduce Rip who ends up falling in love with his kind-hearted, gentle-giant demeanor.
No Holds Barred stays committed to being aggressively violent and unbelievably unfunny, despite most of its violence being as convincing as a cartoon and its humor undoubtedly written without much effort. Hogan is a sterile screen-presence here, lacking almost all of the charisma his character is said to have, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, Lister doesn't fare much better. These men are such flamboyant, unfeeling archetypes that it's difficult to take any of them seriously or see them as anything more than vessels or pawns in a film that also seems dedicated to being redundant and childish.
The film was executive produced by Vince McMahon, one of the WWE's backbones. I get the feeling he saw more monetary potential in Hogan's acting career than anything resembling passion or even on-screen success. This is one of the fundamental reasons why No Holds Barred doesn't work, save for the solely memorable scene in the diner where Rip protects Samantha from a gang of robbers (the scene working because, for a moment, the film feels well-choreographed and watchable). It feels manufactured to sell and promote a product, like almost all things WWE from Pay-Per-View events to admittedly detailed and anatomically correct action figures. Perhaps on that note, No Holds Barred lives up to the authenticity level of WWE, which is as minuscule as the entertainment this film provides on a level that isn't ironic.
Starring: Hulk Hogan, Tiny Lister, Kurt Fuller, and Joan Severance. Directed by: Thomas J. Wright.