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Film review: Suburban Commando

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10 1991 12:00 a.m. MDT

Hulk Hogan apparently thinks of himself as an up-and-coming comedy star. His first film appearance, in Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky III," was a genuinely funny cameo, but his first starring role, "No Holds Barred," was pretty lame.

Now he's back in "Suburban Commando," which actually starts off with some promise - not the least of which comes from his being teamed with Christopher Lloyd and Shelley Duvall.

But the result is a weak science-fiction comedy, relying heavily on predictable slapstick that will be best appreciated by fans of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and the like.

Hogan plays a super-hero alien whose spaceship crash-lands in a Los Angeles warehouse, forcing him to seek refuge while the fuel supply regenerates. When he spots a notice advertising a room for rent, he heads for the suburbs and is soon living in an apartment behind the home of timid architect Lloyd and his happy homemaker wife Duvall.

The kids think Hogan is great and Duvall finds him amusing, but Lloyd, fearful that he may be some deranged serial killer, decides to keep an eye on him, which leads to misadventures involving Hogan's elaborate weaponry (including a gun that temporarily freezes people) and alien bounty hunters.

Where "No Holds Barred" had Hogan more or less in charge, "Suburban Commando" has him playing something of an oversized Ernest, or in another era, Jerry Lewis.

Hogan falls off a skateboard, foils a purse-snatcher, punches out a mime (twice), rescues a cat from a tree, thinks a video game he's playing is a real outer-space battle . . . all with predictable results.

Mostly this film, directed by Western veteran Burt Kennedy, resembles a loud, boorish sitcom, with overwhelming comic music, a fish-out-of-water plot that is incredibly overused these days and alien costumes that appear to be "Predator" leftovers.

Hogan overacts outrageously, but then, what did you expect? He's no Olivier. In fact, he's no Schwarzenegger.

Lloyd gets a few laughs here and there, but Duvall is utterly wasted in a throwaway role, a real shame since we see so little of her these days. Jack Elam likewise has what amounts to an unfunny cameo as a goofy old neighbor. And a little of Larry Miller's smug boss act (a clone of his role in "Necessary Roughness") goes a long way.

On the whole, a kiddie film . . . for undiscriminating kiddies.

"Suburban Commando" is rated PG for violence and profanity.

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