June 3, 1989
Hulk kisses, how gross!A brutal, silly flick
By LIZ BRAUN - Toronto Sun
In a stroke of casting genius, Hulk Hogan plays the wrestling hero of a brutally silly new movie called No Holds Barred.
The Hulk shows his stuff here as a fighting champion, a crusader for kids, a loyal brother and - in a move that may strain the credulity of his fans - he even cuts a bit of a romantic figure.
(You might as well know up-front: the Hulk has to kiss a girl in this film. That's the only gross part.)
As a renowned and beloved wrestler named Rip, the Hulk stars as man of honor and courage surrounded by scum of every variety.
For starters, his wrestling bouts appear exclusively on one TV station, but a rival network is determined to steal him away for the sake of ratings.
That pits the Hulk against an executive villain, quite a change from his opponents in the ring.
As that villain - the wicked, megalomaniacal head of a television network - Kurt Fuller rants and raves with hysterical gusto. All his cruelly accurate portrayal lacks is a ponytail.
But the Hulk knows how to deal with greedy TV people. He stuffs a cheque into the bad guy's mouth and says, "I won't be around when this cheque clears."
There are lots of jokes like that in the movie.
Eventually the Hulk has to fight the ultimate bad guy, Zeus (Tiny Lister). Zeus is an ex-con and he's mean through and through.
He snorts and growls like a ferocious animal.
The final battle between the Hulk and Zeus is awesome, to say the least. It's a no-holds-barred flail session in which the guys trash each other and a whole TV station.
You will have to guess who wins.
No Holds Barred has simple, cartoon characterizations of good and evil. Except for knocking people's blocks off, the Hulk is always a gent on screen.
Maybe we should mention that the gruesome violence in the movie was enough to make this adult wince. The Zeus character is truly scary, and one never knows how this might affect children.
Still, No Holds Barred is just the sort of thing that will really appeal to kids and fight fans.
That may be redundant.