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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crazy and Hilarious, 31 Oct. 2010
This review is from: No Holds Barred [VHS] [1989] (VHS Tape)
No Holds Barred is crazy and drop-dead hilarious. Mind you, it isn't supposed to be, making it all the more endearingly funny. Starring Hulk Hogan, this movie follows the adventures of big wrestling star Rip Thomas as he wins the heart of his account executive Samantha and battles the maniacal wrestler Zeus, controlled by the evil tv executive Brell.

In terms of entertainment, No Holds Barred delivers the punches. There is hardly a dull moment, and this doesn't just reach to the numerous, rather gritty fight sequences, either. As those good people at i-Mockery have rightly stated, Rip would make an awesome pirate, growling and generally destroying anyone foolish enough to take him on. When he's not giving them his guns, though, he's the nicest guy there is, even reluctant to advertise his name (something the real Hulk Hogan never had much of a problem with, if my memory serves me). And of course Rip has a love story with his beautiful account executive Samantha (Joan Severance). Then we have the dubious inclusion of Rip's apathic younger brother Randy, whose range of emotions can be counted on one hand. He mainly serves the purpose of getting his hide kicked to give the hero some motivation to face the bad guy.

Ever-angry tv exec Brell (Kurt Fuller) is determined to pull his tv network out of the depths of ratings hell (largely thanks to Rip getting all the spotlight to his channel). So, after failing to make a deal with Rip, he comes up with a stroke of brilliance; getting a bunch of crazy, testosterone-raving misfits into the ring of the No Count Bar in the aptly-named "Battle of the Tough Guys". Marketing genius. When demented wrestler Zeus makes short work of the competition, Rip sees he has to face him.

Needless to say, No Holds Barred is highly entertaining. There are a lot of action scenes, most of which underline how completely badass Rip is. However, this entertainment often leads into the territory of puzzling, but hilarious, madness. Rip can explode through the roof of a limo and literally cause a bad guy to soil his pants. Hell, he can even defeat two restaurant-robbing bad guys with pies - that's how badass he is. Zeus (Terry Tate) is both good at wrestling and growling and roaring like a maniac, for no reason at all. He barely speaks an intelligible line in the entire film, apart from ecstatically sighing his name, "Zeuuuuussssss..."

The No Count Bar, however, takes the cake. This seedy hangout is about the craziest place you can imagine. Here we have a bar with a ring taking most of the space, so that fights can take place easily. There is a midget who hangs out in a cage suspending from the ceiling, for no reason at all. The bathroom doesn't look so much as a bathroom as the most disgusting alley you could imagine, with urinals overflowing with bile and a dog chained to the wall for no plausible reason. The set designers had a field day on this movie. The characters that hang out at this bar constitute my favourite moments in this film. The Battle of the Tough Guys sees such aptly-named characters as Klondike Kramer and Brock Chisler (who even has a funny eyepatch joke). However, the most mental of the bunch are the toothless Bubba and his sister the waitress. Their interaction with Brell's terrified cronies are fidget-inducingly funny. I can just hear them laugh "Tayeneee! Tayneee!" I'm sniggering as I'm writing this.

As you can see, No Holds Barred is a great deal of fun. It's entertaining and hilarious to boot. It may not be intended to be as funny as it is, but it's a charming quality that the movie would be lesser without. The extreme macho attitude of the movie should also make it a favourite pizza outing.
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Location: Reykjavík, Iceland

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