Once upon a time, there was a little girl who built her entire world around pro wrestling. She watched every bit of programming she could find. It was the eighties, so she was a diehard Hulk Hogan fan, and when she heard that he was the star in a new movie, she was ecstatic!
Of course, being in a small town meant that No Holds Barred didn't open in the theaters, and she had to wait until it hit the video stores.
So she waited.
And she waited.
Finally, it came to the Blockbuster Video (wow, what a difference!) and she begged Mom and Dad to rent it. They relented, and and she settled in with a big bag of popcorn and popped the tape in. She was elated!
I don't remember my initial reaction to No Holds Barred. That being said, when I heard that it was being released on DVD earlier this year, I felt that familiar feeling in my heart again. I would be able to see it in glorious HD!
So I recently acquired a copy, and popped it in. I wasn't expecting Oscar-worthy performances, but I certainly wasn't expecting what I got. Masturbation jokes, one near rape, the vicious beating of Hogan's character Rip's brother (which left him wheelchair bound), and judging just on face value two manslaughters.
One thing I liked about No Holds Barred were the cameos. I spotted Mean Gene Okerlund, Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, Howard Finkel, and (my favorite cameo) Stan Hansen. The other thing I really liked was the performances from the film's villains. The first time I ever saw The Fifth Element, I automatically identified The President as Zeus. (I know he had a much more high profile role as Deebo in Friday, but my parents didn't let me watch 'that kind of movie' as a kid.) Kurt Fuller's performance as Brell was, to me, the best one in the whole movie. He really came off as an arrogant sleaze who would stop at nothing to acquire Rip for his network.
All in all, I have to say that No Holds Barred is a good movie. It's not great, but I don't feel it was meant to be. It's definitely worth the hour and a half running time, and probably worth a buy if you're a wrestling fan.