No Holds Barred (1989)

World Wrestling Federation champion Rip (Hulk Hogan) is loyal to the network he works for and to his fans. Mr. Brell (Kurt Fuller) who runs a network himself, wants Rip on his network but, he isn’t able to convince him to jump ship. So Brell makes a show of his own called Battle Of The Tough Guys which its Rip versus Brell’s chamion Zeus (Tom “Tiny” Lister).

Director: Thomas J. Wright

Cast: Hulk Hogan, Joan Severance, Kurt Fuller, Tom “Tiny” Lister, Mark Pellegrino, Bill Henderson

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and language.

Fun Fact: Hulk Hogan says in his biography that him and Vince McMahon checked into a hotel and took three days to do re-writes of the script.

In the 80’s nothing was bigger than Hulk Hogan and professional wrestling. Hogan is the biggest mainstream star that made the WWE relevant and was a household name. So it was natural to try and make a successful crossover into film and make Hogan the next big movie star. Vince McMahon put up the money for the film and it had it’s theatrical release.

This film is terrible in so many ways. Hogan claims that when him and McMahon read the original script they both thought it was terrible hence the re-writes. My question is how bad was the original script before the re-writes? I mean we get kidnappings and an attempted rape. Is that what we want to see in a film like this? That’s just bottom of the barrel bad in trying to make your villains completely evil but, even that fails because the villains are cartoon stock versions of bad guys. You can tell their bad guys because they wear suits and have lots of money and are greedy for more. Plus is there really a plot in this? It took me a while to come up with an explanation for those who haven’t seen it what it was all about. How do you flesh out a story when there really isn’t one at all?

I question some of the decisions that director Thomas J. Wright made while filming this. Every actor is over acting and the “tough guys” only grunt and make a bunch of faces. It’s really absurd if you think about it. Did Wright look at the footage and decide not to do any other takes? Wrestlers are not the best actors and it really shows in Hogan’s performance. Selling wrestling moves and hyping up matches are a whole different thing then delivering a line to convince an audience. Kurt Fuller takes the cake as he over acts and yells in every scene that he’s in. It comes off as comical and not convincing as being the film’s antagonist. Joan Severance is at least trying to make something out of this but, she’s told to only swoon over Hulk Hogan for an hour and a half.

There is one scene from the film that well heck I’ll just include it in this review to sum up the whole film:

See what I mean?

Overall, No Holds Barred is a terrible film and I’ll only suggest to see it if you want to see a really bad film. There really isn’t much of a plot or story to get the viewers interested. There is also some questionable choices made for this and it feels like they rushed it so Hulk Hogan could have a film out. All of the performances are hysterically bad and at points it get’s irritating after a while. Like I said only check it out if you want to see something terrible and maybe get a few laughs out of it.

Verdict: Miss


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