in The Vault

Santa with Muscles (1996)

In the early 90s, Hulkamania was everywhere! There were toys, games, a Hulk Hogan-themed pasta restaurant, and of course movies. For whatever reason, the Hulkster found himself in the dismal realm of family comedies. There’s a popular derogatory saying on Mildly Pleased, I believe it’s something like “This shit is for babies.” Which would be my exact response to the insufferable Santa with Muscles.

Blake (Hulk Hogan) is an arrogant bodybuilding millionaire. When he’s not dishing out his popular line of bodybuilding supplements, Blake spends his carefree days running faux espionage missions on his estate and playing paintball in jeeps. One day, while playing an extreme game of paintball, Blake drives recklessly by a dumb police officer (Clint Howard, awesome) who mistakes Blake for an actual gun-wielding criminal. Blake, who always enjoys the “extremer” things in life, stupidly challenges the cops to a high-speed chase. Blake ends up at a mall where he steals a Santa costume and hides out. Then while hanging in a laundry chute, Blake gets hit on the head with a bust of Santa. He falls down the chute and his unconscious body is raided by Bob from That 70s Show who takes his money, I.D., and anything else that could help Blake remember his identity. That’s right, Blake has amnesia and now thinks he’s Santa Claus.

Bob is a mall elf and well aware of Blake’s fortune, so he decides to keep up this ruse of mistaken identity hoping to get a sweet pay-day. A big problem is that these characters live in some kind of alternate universe where you need someone’s finger prints in order to make a withdrawal from an ATM. So Bob temporarily buddies up with Blake.

Eventually, Blake and Bob find themselves at an orphanage where Blake decides he’s gonna stand up for some stupid kids. The dilemma is that an evil scientist named Ebner Frost (Ed Begley Jr.) wants to take over the orphanage. Once Ebner has control over the orphanage he can gain access to what’s under the orphanage… Magic crystals. I shit you not. Unfortunately, Ebner doesn’t want the crystals for a silly super-villain reason, like powering a big laser, he’s just trying to make big bucks. I think they were supposed to be an amazing power source, but why crystals? Why not oil or something that actually exists?

The orphanage is run by Leslie (Robin Curtis) and her trusty, token black guy Clayton (Garrett Morris). I have no idea what Garrett Morris does at the orphanage, he’s just there for laughs. What’s weird about the orphanage is that it only has three kids (Mila Kunis is one of them, that means two That 70s Show stars are in this!)

Apparently all the good kids have already been scooped up so Blake forms a meaningful relationship with the remaining children, even if he is living a lie. Actually, only one kid truly believes he’s Santa and I assume the other kids don’t recognize Blake because they’re poor or something. Later Mila Kunis makes Santa/Blake a sweet, sleeveless Santa-suit and Blake dukes it out with Ebner and his incredibly cartoonish henchman… And it sucks, bad.

I don’t blame Santa with Muscles ineptitude on Hulk Hogan (Though he’s tonally off in most scenes). I blame the producers that thought this was a good idea, the director who directed with little passion, and a script that is so unbelievably lazy I wanted to vomit my holly-jolly guts out. I know it’s for kids, but Santa with Muscles doesn’t even attempt to make sense. The characters are so one-dimensional and silly you wonder how it’s a live-action movie. One plus is we get to see Hulk Hogan stop a truck by grabbing onto the back. Yes, Hulkster has superhuman strength. I only wish it didn’t take superhuman patience to sit down and watch this movie.