Daisy's Christmas Stocking #5 – Santa with Muscles
Santa with Muscles has everything a girl could hope for in a Christmas movie, even though it doesn’t come with some sort of intravenous Baileys drip facility. According to Atlantic City Weekly and Wikipedia, it is the third worst ‘holiday movie’ OF ALL TIME. It made just over two hundred thousand dollars on release, which isn’t that much money for a movie, even in 1996. All this, in spite of the fact that it stars Hulk Hogan! Hulk Actual Hogan! The Lorax of lifting! The heavyweight homosexual-in-a-Village-people-way moustache-haver! And little Mila Kunis, who didn’t know who Hulk Hogan was, but said later “I just thought he was a big man.”
Hulk plays himself, named Blake – he’s a mean millionaire and protein shake magnate. So mean that it takes a paintball game, some speeding, police pursuit, a chute and a fallen plaster santa torso to give him concussion and forget how horrid he is. When an enterprising, broke mall elf (is there any other kind?) tries to make a quick fifty bucks by dressing him as Santa and using him to replace the absent, existing, shopping centre Santa, he is surprisingly good at it. And then, when punk kids try to steal the collection for the soon-to-shut-down orphanage, he gets really good. The punk kids can’t even take him out with giant candy canes. “Woah! Santa with muscles!” says everyone. The phrase “Santa With Muscles” is used over 14 times.
The orphanage is being shut down by a baddy called Abner, who is flanked by henchmen and a henchwoman who look like retirement home residents who were told to dress up as X-Men but didn’t have the concept explained thoroughly enough. But, as Hulk tells Channel 8 news “There’s a new Santa in town, and I don’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice!” “Ooooh, Santa with muscles!” swoons the reporter. Sassy orphan Mila Kunis has even redesigned his santa suit as a gilet, to show those muscles off.
Why does Abner want to shut down the orphanage? Does he need a reason, beyond “evil”? Well, it sits above a quartz mine, which is worth a lot of money, because you make electricity with quartz, or something. The orphans are much better at science than I am. We also discover that the elf isn’t so nice – he wants Hulk’s credit card so he can repay his debt to baddy Abner. I never figured out why the elf borrowed money, but it certainly wasn’t for “being interesting” classes. Dumb, dull, money grabbing elf.
One of the evil X-Men takes over the orphanage, and ends up chucking Hulk Hogan off a big tower. He survives the 30ft drop, but he is magically cured of his amnesia. Science is represented brilliantly in this movie. He wakes up in his fabulous mansion, but he’s still keen to save the orphans, so he goes back, thwarting the police who are still pursuing him for speeding by blinding them with Hulk Brand protein powder. Police, what are you doing? There are actual baddies in the area! Who cares about a bit of speeding?
There’s a big fight in the magic electricity gem mine, where we discover that Hulk and Abner were both orphans and met at the orphanage – even though Hulk doesn’t really remember this, possibly because he keeps falling off towers or maybe from all the wrestling? Anyway, Abner is bitter because Hulk gets to shill high protein content goods, and he has to run with a crew of people who look like they keep getting turned away at the door of sex parties. Electricity’s in the air. “She’s gonna blow!” yells someone, which is not an expression that you’d usually hear in a children’s film. Everyone is evacuated, and the orphanage collapses, trapping the baddies! HURRAH! Go, Santa with Muscles! But, erm, where are the orphanages going to live? If only there was space in Hulk Hogan’s fabulous mansion. Oh, there is? As the kid who isn’t Mila Kunis says, “it’s a Christmas miracle.”
The thing I liked most about Santa with Muscles is Hulk Hogan. Also, unusually for a festive film, there is no magic. All the questionable science in the world, but no dumb ass, I-had-to-suspend-my-disbelief-for-this?, talking decoration/whimsical cabbie-based magic. Also, after years of subjecting myself to Family Guy, it was good to hear people talking to Mila Kunis and not being mean to her. And the panicked lady at the mall who was in charge of all the elves wore an excellent jacket. It was either Chanel, or a pricey knockoff. HOWEVER, the following viewer advisory is important: DO NOT pay actual money to see this film.
Check back tomorrow to see Daisy’s Christmas Stocking roll down one more agonising inch. We promise, no wrestlers.