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Directed by: Brian Levant
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad the Entertainer, Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson and Jake Lloyd
I’ve must have seen this film a billion times. I still remember going to the cinema when it was first released with a few friends of mine and we all loved it. I think the biggest drawing factor behind seeing this was the fact that it was a new Arnold Schwarzenegger film. Back in the 90’s, Arnold was a huge box office draw. If you saw a movie poster with his name plastered all over it, you had to go and see it (Avoid Junior and Batman & Robin). That’s how big of a star he truly was.
Arnold is cast as the workaholic mattress salesman Howard Langston. He’s constantly busy at his job, too busy in fact. Whiles he’s too busy at work, he forgets to attend his son’s karate class. In an attempt to make peace with his son, Howard promises to get him an action figure based on his favourite television show, Turbo Man. Unfortunately for Howard, it is Christmas Eve, and every store is sold out of the Turbo Man (Booster, Turbo Man’s sidekick, is still warming up the pegs). Howard knows he has let his son down in the past and he really wants to make it up to him, so he’ll stop at nothing to get his son his dream toy, but he’s not the only one after the doll!
The critics have given this film a hard time and I agree with them, to an extent. It isn’t as bad as they say it is, but it’s not perfect by any means. Schwarzenegger is a terrible actor, but I do like him in comedy roles. What makes this unique is that Arnie is playing the role of a normal guy; he mentions in his book that he was attracted to the role for that very reason, plus he has experienced the horrors of last minute shopping around the Christmas holidays. You’re not the only one, Arnie! I shouldn’t be too critical on him, though. The appeal of Arnold Schwarzenegger has never been for his “acting” abilities. I liked Sinbad in his role as Myron the mailman, another father desperate to get a Turbo Man for his son, but they wasted Phil Hartman (you may remember him as the voice of such Simpsons characters as Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz) as Howard’s sleazy neighbour, Ted Maltin.
There’s this one scene where Howard is given a tip-off by a Shopping Mall Santa (James Belushi) that he can get him a Turbo Man doll. After he turns up to a warehouse to collect the doll, it turns out that the doll is a fake and Arnold begins to fight off guys dressed like Santa. He gets teamed up by a giant Santa (WWE Superstar, Big Show) and a midget, with quick thinking, Howard ducks Big Show’s KO punch, causing him to whack this midget across the room. Man that was hysterical. It’s like when JBL threw a trashcan at Hornswoggle. It never gets old.
I know this is supposed to be family friendly, but the whole fight scene at the end is really messed up. Myron is so desperate to get the Turbo Man figure that he was willing to put Jamie (Howard’s son) in such jeopardy where the likelihood of him getting killed was highly likely! Plus Jamie ends up giving him the Turbo Man doll because ‘he has the real Turbo Man at home’, that’s nice and all, but he tried to fucking kill you, Anakin! All of this and Arnold is flying around in the Turbo Man outfit. For a strong headed business man, Howard Langston is quite the dumbass.
Another thing, how in the blue hell did Jamie not once click on that his dad was wearing the Turbo Man costume? Did the bold Austrian accent not give it away? Surly the big muscles and square jaw must have made him think, plus, TURBO MAN KNEW HIS FUCKING NAME~! It’s bastard Turbo Man, not Santa! Damn, I guess Howard’s stupidity runs through the family, huh?
I do recommend it, it’s not the worst film of all time, but it certainly is the silliest of them all!
Rating: *** (Aye, it’s canny)