Suburban Commando

Image for Suburban Commando


Expectations for this could hardly be lower, but it turns out to be quite a bright little film. Professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, who has never starred in a movie before but whose bouts in the ring have given him plenty of acting experience, plays Shep Ramsey, an intergalactic good guy marooned on Earth during a lull in a Star Wars-style space crusade. He rents an apartment in the home of Charlie Wilcox (Lloyd), a put-upon middle-class suburban Dad, and sets about cleaning up the neighbourhood, Charlie's life, the planet and the universe in roughly that order. While Shep is learning about the joys of Earth and Charlie is finding out whether he has the right stuff by joining the hero on do-gooding endeavours, a pair of alien bounty hunters are on their way, planning to ruin everybody's day.

With a deliberately stupid plot line and a low budget, this should by rights be as ho-hum a kiddie comedy as Spaced Invaders or Jetsons: The Movie, but something somewhere has gone right with the script and direction, and the laughs miraculously keep coming. Hogan, bursting with muscle and cartoonish facial contortions, is an amiably ridiculous old-fashioned hero, amusingly perplexed by the complications of a 90s suburbia where little girls with cats stuck in trees and leering local bullyboys refuse to act predictably. And Lloyd, as ever, is one of the most professional laugh-milkers in the business, bumbling through the story and coming out on top.

Burt Kennedy, a specialist in comic Westerns in the 60s (The War Wagon, Support Your Local Sheriff, Welcome To Hard Times), makes a welcome return as a big screen director after some years languishing in television, and it's also nice to see Shelley Duvall in her first major role since The Shining in 1980, even if she's not given much to do. Plus Kennedy has dragged along old saddle-mate Jack Elam, the great pop-eyed character player from innumerable Westerns, to do an endearing cmaeo as a sozzled WW II vet who sits in his weed-infested jeep and surveys the Wilcox neighbourhood with drunken contempt. Its special effects are ordinary, but Suburban Commando has an engaging daffiness you might find infectious and the Hulkster should start his Oscar campaign now.