Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “Suburban Commando.”
The Movie: “Suburban Commando”
Starring: Hulk Hogan, Christopher Lloyd, Shelly Duvall
Director: Burt Kennedy
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) An interstellar hero from a distant world visits Earth and tries to fit in with a mundane, yet kind, suburban family.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 15 percent
Brown: Welcome back to the JOE-DOWN, BROTHER!
Brown: A week after the entertaining mess that was “Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker,” we’re back to covering a regular mess.
Early judgement, you say? Well, guys, look at the banner photo for this review. Racist hot dog and former world heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan is our lead actor. You’re getting what you pay for here.
Hulk’s messes can be entertaining as well, as we went through in our old review of “No Holds Barred.” Does “Suburban Commando” have that same sort of bat(REDACTED) crazy charm? We’ll get into it.
While I baby oil up my 24-inch pythons to scream nonsense about the Ultimate Warrior to Mean Gene, Froemming, give us your first thoughts, BROTHER!
Froemming: Well, there was a lot of reggae music in this for a movie starring a man who loves to …
*remembers what happened to Gawker*
Wrestle. A man who loves to wrestle.
Look, this movie is a mess. It begins like a porn parody of a “Star Wars,” and devolves into something that somehow makes less sense than the other Hogan movie we watched, that he allegedly wrote on a coke binge with his old boss. So, either he was more messed up here, or sober Hogan is off his rocker.
Brown, as I replay clips of Hogan falling off a skateboard, why don’t you kick this off?
Brown: So, like you said, the beginning of this movie opens like a “Star Wars” porn parody, with a big imperial ship flying overhead while little ones are combating it. I don’t know if they can do this retroactively, but Disney, sue “Suburban Commando.” They’re damaging your brand!
Froemming: Or rebrand this as “Ramsey: A Star Wars Story.”
Brown: It’s here where space warrior Shep Ramsey (Hogan) breaks into the spaceship and lays waste to all the minions trying to kill him.
Look, I get that Stormtroopers are terrible in “Star Wars” movies, but I’d argue these guys are a million times worse. It’s not like they’re shooting at spry rebels that can serpentine out of the line of fire. They’re firing at Hulk Hogan, who is a lumbering, 6-foot-7, 300-pound monolith of a man. But no, they can’t even singe his fine silken hair with a laser blast.
Froemming: Because this movie makes no sense, I went to Wikipedia, that tells me General Suitor had kidnapped the president of the galaxy or something, and that was why Shep was there. And, for some reason, when Suitor gets his hand cut off (my God, the “Star Wars” similarities) he starts turning into a giant gila monster.
Brown: How many conspiracy theories were sparked from this movie because a government employee turned out to be a lizard person? Lizard people may be my favorite conspiracy theory.
Froemming: The only thing this movie should have sparked was a couple of laughs from seeing it in a dollar bin at Best Buy.
So Shep saves the day, but some whatchamacallit on his intergalactic doodad (technical terms) is damaged, and his boss tells him he needs to go to Earth and let his ship heal itself (?) for six weeks.
And we find out Shep hates Earthlings. He says it a lot in the first 20 minutes of this movie. Why does he hate Earthlings? The movie never says. In fact, he never mentions it again after said first 20 minutes.
Brown: Dude, I hate Earthlings. I get Shep there, man.
Froemming: I am more with David Bowie here.
Brown: Now, you say Shep saves the day. Did he really? He let the president die. Especially, when we jump ahead to the end of the movie, Shep didn’t even succeed in killing General Suitor. This wasn’t a vacation: He was fired.
And even if it was a vacation, wouldn’t Shep have to come back to base and do some paperwork or something? I’ve binge-watched “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” I know how police work… works.
But no, Shep gets to drop everything and go on a six-week sabbatical because he’s stressed out. Meanwhile, I have to request to use PTO in advance like a jerk.
If rules are this lax in space, sign me up for Space Force, man!
Froemming: Space Force will be stuck in a quagmire in Iran for the foreseeable future.
Next we meet Doc Brown, wait, no Charlie Wilcox, a suburban husband and father with no real spine who spends his time in his shed building a Flux Capacitor (the movie never says he isn’t doing this). He works as an architect whose boss (who I imagine moonlights as a snarky doorman) always steals his thunder, a man who is so cowardly he won’t run red lights and is somehow married to Shelly Duvall. Yes the movie is so baffling even this basic premise defies all logic.
Brown: I was happy to see Shelly Duvall in this flick. It was good to see that after that disastrous winter at the Overlook Hotel that Wendy Torrance was able to start over with a caring, albeit lame husband who won’t bury an axe in her back.
Froemming: Or seeing her with a director not willing to emotionally torture her.
Brown: Look, she’s away from monsters and we should all be happy for her.
With that said, the way we see Charlie’s life unfolding, he’s moments away from going all Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” and terrorizing his mundane town. There’s the stoplight, which is a recurring gag that really does not pay off. His boss steals his ideas. The neighbor parks dragsters in front of his driveway.
And to make his life even more tense, a literal Hulk enters his life when Shep asks to rent the guest house in the backyard. I should note that the guest house used to be Charlie’s workshop where he could tinker and work out his frustrations.
… Forget what I said about Shelly Duvall escaping monsters. This man is a ticking time bomb.
Froemming: He is one fast-food-breakfast-being-denied him away from going on a homicidal rampage.
Also, in order to blend in, Shep ties up and locks a man in his car while stealing his clothes. This rampant crime in the streets of wherever the hell this takes place is fodder for future Fox News viewers.
Brown: That man locked his dog in a hot car. He deserved what was coming to him.
Froemming: That’s what the libs want you to think, #SnowFlake.
Now, there is one character I love in this, and that is the Colonel, an old drunk man who sits in a make-believe tank and yells at his neighbors. I want to see his movie.
Now, I get they rent the back shed out for money. But I didn’t see a toilet or shower, so I am sure that violates some codes and renters’ rights. But the weirdest part is they invite Shep to dinner. This man is a complete stranger, and I doubt Jenny ran a background check on him. He has the skin of a hot dog and silken hair, and looks like he abuses steroids. And I bet he videotapes himself…
*gets letter from Terry Bollea’s lawyers*
Wrestle. He probably videotapes himself wrestling.
Brown: He should get a video camera in his rental because when he leaves one night, Charlie comes into the room/shed and starts checking out Shep’s gear. In fact, he fires a ray gun that blows up one of the neighbor’s race cars.
His rampage has begun! Make sure no one tries to overcharge him for a Coke.
But by shooting the gun, Charlie alerts Suitor to Shep’s whereabouts and he sends off two bounty hunters.
One looks like a gargantuan Andrew “Dice” Clay. And the other is The (REDACTED) Undertaker! He should have come into every scene like this.
Bounty hunters shouldn’t be the only people after Shep, either. The next day, Shep is so high strung that he thinks a mail man is attacking the family and puts a KNIFE to a federal employee.
Shep also reacts to a paper boy whacking him in the face with a newspaper by throwing the paper back and pretty much giving the kid a concussion. This got a real laugh from me.
Froemming: That all feels like something Hulk Hogan may have done in real life.
Yeah, Shep is a real fish-out-of-water here, but not in a fun way. More like a “I’d rather not be watching this (REDACTED)” way.
So he sits down with the Colonel, who is telling him that you sometimes have to lose to win, which explains the electoral college. But as Shep is listening to the drunk ramblings of a war hero, he sees Charlie being blocked from getting into his driveway by his hillbilly neighbors. So, he steps in and picks up a racecar they are building and moves it, only for those hillbillies to threaten legal action, which was a pretty solid spin on what we assumed they were going to say.
That night, Shep goes back to his spaceship to see where his battery is at (?) and Charlie follows him. Now, for an intergalactic mercenary who travels space to fight off the worst of the worst, you would figure he would notice being followed, since that should be his No. 1 concern here.
But no, Charlie finds his ship and puts on his alien gear because…reasons?
Brown: There is no possible way that gear should fit Charlie. It’d be like an infant wearing their dad’s shirt as pajamas.
With Shep’s power gear, Charlie is able to thwart a potential mugging and/or rape. He even survives getting shot in the torso. But, like Harry Doyle and Lloyd Christmas, I have a question for Charlie and the filmmakers…
And by again using Shep’s equipment, the bounty hunters are able to zero in on Shep’s location.
Where is Shep during all of this, you ask? Why, he’s destroying a car alarm that apparently makes all cars Kit from “Knight Rider.” He’s harassing a mime several times in another recurring joke that doesn’t land in this movie. AND, he’s getting WAY into an arcade game because he’s a man with very bad PTSD that needs therapy more than he needs a vacation.
Froemming: Hogan DOES NOT BLINK during that whole arcade scene. It is very disturbing. He must have taken extra “vitamins” before they shot that.
Brown: A quick aside: YouTube just started a video for me titled “Suburban Commando – Funny Clip Montage.”
None of the clips they show are funny.
Froemming: Is this how you also “stumbled” upon those “Pimp My Ride” clips?
Brown: You know what, quit criticizing my life choices, Froemming.
Froemming: We both know that is not going to happen.
Anyway, after terrorizing and destroying the local arcade, and after Charlie saves a woman from being assaulted (good for you Charlie, though Brown did raise a good question about being shot in the face), we find that Charlie left a freeze gun behind.
Yes, it does exactly what you think, it freezes people like Sub-Zero in “Mortal Kombat.”
Brown: But only for 20 minutes. Then they get a bad headache. This gun is essentially weaponized brain freeze. At least Shep says it’s 20 minutes but that can’t be true because when Charlie gets frozen during the day, he’s unfrozen when it’s dark outside.
Froemming: Now this gun brings up one of two scenes I think, where a plothole is exposed and the way they deal with it is by having Hogan say….
Brown: It’s your fault for expecting quality writing in “Suburban Commando.”
We need to mention a couple prop things in this movie.
First: How (REDACTED) up was it that the device Shep and Charlie use to find the freeze gun is the PKE meter from “Ghostbusters?!”
Then, Shep gets shot with the freeze gun but avoids its effects because he drinks antifreeze. Great message to the kids, Hulk: Eat your vitamins, say your prayers and drink antifreeze!
Now, for Shep’s ship to be fixed, it requires rare crystals that just happen to be used in architecture awards?
Jesus this movie doesn’t even try.
Anyway, Charlie’s boss has these awards that have the space crystals to fix Shep’s space ship, so they decide to crash the company party to steal the crystals, because who gives a (REDACTED) anymore. So Shep can leave and The Undertaker can follow him. And the other guy, who looks like a wrestler but is, in fact, a nobody.
Brown: Shep and Charlie sneak into a company party that you would expect Charlie would be invited to as an employee, but not so much.
They go disguised as guests and I have to ask how a man of Hulk Hogan’s gargantuan size (again, 6-7, 300 pounds) can get a tuxedo on call? There’s NO WAY they find one for him on short notice.
They also find these crystals by using a pair of X-ray binoculars that Shep owns. I kept expecting partygoers to react like Fry in “Futurama” when they were searching around.
By using the binoculars, the bounty hunters catch up to Shep and honestly… the whole thing is underwhelming. Chase scenes with a bunch of lumbering strongmen are as interesting as… wrestling matches with a bunch of lumbering strongmen. They also gave The Undertaker rocket boots and the voice of a toddler.
Froemming: That baby voice was almost as bad as that weird era of the early 2000s when the Undertaker was a biker that listened to Limp Bizkit.
Yeah, we get an underwhelming battle here that leads to another underwhelming battle, only this time with a man in a rubber lizard suit.
See, Suitor is now on Earth and has kidnapped Charlie’s family in order to get Shep. Why go to this length when his PKE meter can probably track Shep down (also because Shep is almost 7-feet tall and sticks out like a sore thumb) is beyond me.
Brown: Suitor lets Charlie and his family go while he plays with his prey Shep. Suitor is taunting our hero and claiming victory until Charlie pulls a “Lost Boys” and hits Suitor with his car. Apparently space weapons aren’t strong enough to stop American engineering. USA! USA! USA!
Suitor reverts to his lizard form and Shep turns on the self-destruction sequence on his ship because of (REDACTED) course his ship has a self-destruct mechanism.
Using Shep’s power armor, Charlie musters up the courage to stop Suitor dead in his tracks by…
… punching Suitor in the dick.
What a hero!
No shame in hitting the enemy in the bean bag, Brown.
So with Suitor stopped by groin-punch, it is time to wrap things up. And, this movie does this by having Shep sport the wildest looking Zubas I have seen since 1990 and do some wicked stunts on a skateboard.
*rubs temple* I hate this (REDACTED) movie so much…
Brown: I wrote in my notes that Hulk looks like Sinbad.
Look, that skateboarding is the only way to properly end this review. Let’s go to recommendations.
Would You Recommend?
Brown: Nope. This wasn’t nearly as good-bad as “No Holds Barred.” Poor Christopher Lloyd actually tries in this tripe. Hulk Hogan cannot act at all.
Froemming: Nope. This was a chore to sit through and, frankly, gave me a headache watching it.