No Holds Barred – 1989 – Hulk Hogan
No Holds Barred is definitely a walk down nostalgia lane. I remember renting this in the late ’80s or the early ’90s. I believe I wasn’t too impressed by it and I thought that the acting was below almost everything I had seen at the time. But at the same time, it was ravingly entertaining and I loved it for that. I think I then treated it as a movie that takes itself totally seriously but I believe I was in error on that assumption. At least that is my point of view now that I see it again. And, mind you, it is not the first time I see this again after all these years. I watched it again a couple of years ago when I purchased the blu-ray release. I still thought it was a lot of fun but this time I realized that it wasn’t taking itself too seriously, that it was satire or at least a spoof of the wrestling industry.
That is still my point of view, but when I watched No Holds Barred again a couple of days ago I didn’t find it as entertaining as I once did. I can live with the tacky acting as I realize it’s part of the wrestling industry. Maybe it’s since I saw some documentaries about the business that I fully understood what it’s all about. I got some insight from Andre The Giant and the Dark Side of the Ring series for sure. And when I realized that both Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon was executive producers I just knew this was a movie to promote the WWF, rather than a movie to be taken seriously. I’ve always liked Hulk Hogan, but I now realize that it’s more his character than the man himself. I don’t think I have ever seen him as Terry (real name) just as this larger-than-life character. Which he does really well by the way. Based on the mentioned documentaries I don’t have any high respect for Vince McMahon though, and I’ll leave it at that.
Anyway. This movie is about this network that gets poor ratings and they need to get a great show on the air to rule the network industry or whatever that is called. The CEO decided he wants this character Rip (Hulk Hogan) which is a big wrestling star with a huge fanbase. Rip is also a man of his word and refuses to work for the station. It really annoys me that this Rip character, which is basically the same as Hulk Hogans wrestling character is portrayed as this real goodie two-shoe. He cares for all the “right” values. Family, charity work, and always does the honorably thing.
So he refuses and the TV-network CEO won’t have that. He immediately starts to plot to get his way. He is hell-bent to get Rip to his network and will stop at nothing to get him. What follows is a string of desperate attempts tå get viewers. In this process, the character Zeus is introduced to us. He is the absolute opposite to Rip. It’s mentioned that he even killed somebody in the ring and can’t be controlled.
Ok, fine. So we get a Good vs. Evil situation. Cool. Zeus is played by one of my favorite actors Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr. If you don’t know him, let me tell you that his nickname tiny is quite the opposite of what he really is. So, we get two giant fighters to fight each other in the final scene. No, I don’t think that’s a spoiler. Nor do I think it’s a spoiler revealing the outcome. But I won’t. I think everyone realizes this anyway. Oh, did I mention that there are NO Rules? Makes me think of the event called The Brawl for All, which I also learned about from watching the Dark Side of the Ring series.
So what’s the verdict? Well, it’s still entertaining, but not as much as it once was. I don’t think it has aged very well and I’m not really into this kind of fake testosterone movies anymore. Real macho stuff is ok, but not intentionally faked ones like No Holds Barred. There are still high nostalgia values attached to this movie though.