Home > Reviews > Something about Kevin Sorbo in “The Santa Suit” haunted me… A review

Something about Kevin Sorbo in “The Santa Suit” haunted me… A review

The fact that I have this blog demonstrates that I’m an avid Kevin Sorbo fan. I’m also a freelance writer with many years’ experience in the industry. When I write articles of an impersonal nature to post here, such as interviews, previews, and reviews, I try to remain objective.

I watched both airings of the Hallmark Channel’s “The Santa Suit” starring Sorbo on Thursday, December 2. The first time was to enjoy his work, and the second, to form an objective opinion. I realized, however, that the two were synonymous.

Initially, I wanted to write this that night, but, my instinct said to wait. I was glad I did. While outlining a story and constructing my words the next day, something nagged at me inside. Sure, the new two-hour Christmas Special offered universal themes like good triumphs over evil, helping people versus greed, and ultimate redemption. But, there was something more… something in Sorbo’s expressions, gestures, emotions, voice… something called passion.

Sorbo exudes passion throughout the movie with every glance, movement, sentence, and silence. He brings to the screen an honesty rarely exhibited by today’s “big Hollywood stars,” demonstrating that not only has he outlasted his action hero stereotype, but, that he has transcended it to great heights.

As a modern counterpart to Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge in a A Christmas Carol, Sorbo’s character, Drake Hunter, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hunter Toys, all but says, “Christmas, humbug!” in the film’s beginning. He’s an unlikeable character for the most part, feared by his employees, disliked by his fellow executives, and abandoned by friends. He has no family, girlfriend, or anyone who cares when he disappears.

And disappear he does only to assume the image of Santa Claus when the real Father Christmas desires to teach him lessons in humility, humanity, and reaching his inner Christmas spirit. Although viewers see Sorbo as Hunter, some great editing provides glimpses of what those around the CEO witness: Santa Claus.

Naturally, Hunter is in denial as he goes to jail then finds himself in a homeless shelter, a far cry from his silk Armani suits and personal table at a local upscale restaurant. He begrudgingly accepts his lot and takes the advice of the shelter’s social worker (Jodie Dowdall). The mighty Hunter becomes a toy store Santa.

He befriends his off-beat elf assistant Sebastian (Darrell Faria), an aspiring actor with dreams of glory, but, an approach to his role more like Night of the Living Dead than a happy children’s character. Hunter’s first act of redemption is saving the young man’s job when the store owner discovers Sebastian’s “dark elf” make-up that scared away potential Santa seekers.

Kevin Commins’ fine script continues in this manner, culminating in Hunter caring for a young “latchkey kid” (Briana D’Aguanno) whose single mother struggles to earn a living, ironically, at Hunter Toys. He and the social worker visit the girl’s house, which is Hunter’s childhood home, where he learns of the child’s Christmas wish.

After much soul searching, Hunter acquires it for her and almost lands in jail a second time. The real Santa Claus intervenes. But, to find out more you’ll need to watch it!

Sorbo aptly weaves his acting magic throughout the movie. He drags viewers to Hunter’s nasty depths, and through sheer pathos and determination appeals to the humanness in us all. Then he shares his awakening as if arousing from a deep slumber to find Hunter transformed. This metamorphosis is one of the oldest literary motifs with Hunter as the proverbial Jungian archetype, and Sorbo plays it extremely well.

Why did his performance haunt me? Was it his portrayal of the bad guy turned good, his finely honed skills, his sultry voice, his breaking away from a stereotype that has followed his career?

No. Sorbo’s passion reached into the depths of my soul and said, “I will find the beauty behind the pain,” which I believe is the underlying, yet amazing and uplifting message of “The Santa Suit.”

(Photos courtesy of The Hallmark Channel)

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  1. December 3, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Well written, my friend! Wish I could see the movie. 🙂

  2. Rhonda
    December 4, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Love the review-makes me want to see the movie even more!

  3. Sandi
    December 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I just want to say that when it came to Jemma and Drake and their interaction with each other, I connected with both and that became hard to watch but I did think that the social worker and Drake really was an inspiration, I would like to see more films like this one.

  4. tigercat
    December 5, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    You hit everything right on the head with this review. I agree with Sandy, it got to be hard to watch that interaction between them and then became inspirational toward the end. I loved it and will watch it a few more times on my DVR.

  5. sorbert
    December 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Very well written! Looking forward to watching this movie even more now, though it’s not here in the UK at the moment.

  6. Kevin Commins
    December 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Hi, I’m the screenwriter for “The Santa Suit” and just wanted to thank you for such a kind and thoughtful review. It’s a great Christmas present!

    The movie was a terrific fun to work on. Kevin Sorbo is a total pro. He was wonderful in the role from Day 1, which was vital because he’s in almost every scene and we were shooting on a very tight schedule.

    If you’d like to share you enthusiasm with Hallmark, you could go to hallmarkchannel.com, scroll to the bottom where it says “contact us,” and write them a quick email. They really do pay attention to what viewers tell them, so it’s a great way to make your opinion count.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write such a deep and thoughtful review.

    Kevin Commins

    • sorbowriter
      December 9, 2010 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you so much, Mr. Commins. We are all honored to hear from you. Those of us fortunate enough to have seen this great film won’t forget it. It is now indelibly etched on my mind, and a part of my Christmas collection alongside such greats as “A Christmas Carol” (with Alistair Sim), “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Story,” and “Scrooged.” I hope Hallmark makes a DVD, so I can watch it without interruption. You did a marvelous job!

  7. Anne
    December 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Excellent review, Jan. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂 Even though I still can’t afford the Hallmark Channel, I look forward to seeing “The Santa Suit” eventually (especially on DVD).

    To Kevin Commins, I have only glimpsed your “baby” in clips via Jan’s blog & Kevin Sorbo’s YouTube channel. It left me wanting to see the finished product all the more. Congratulations on a job well done & I hope to see “The Santa Suit” soon.

  8. William Sommerwerck
    December 24, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I’ve never been a fan of Kevin Sorbo. He was, at best, a hairy chest with a dimple, and at worst, a boring line-reader (“Andromeda”). But this morning (12/24/2010) I accidentally tuned into “The Santa Suit” on Hallmark. “Who /is/ that guy? He can actually act!” Mr Sorbo’s performance has the sort of texture and nuance one does not expect from a made-for-cable movie.

    I suspect most actors are better than they seem. It’s nice that Mr Sorbo is breaking away from his previous type-casting.

    Mr Cummins, if you ever work with other writers, I have some things I’d like to show you. Regardless, thanks for penning a script that could have gone off the deep end, ick-wise. (I’ve posted a favorable IMDB review for the film.)

  9. William Sommerwerck
    December 24, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Ack! Forgive me for misspelling your name! It’s Commins, not Cummins. (I’m sure you in no way resemble a diesel engine.)

  10. morse
    January 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Hopefully they bring out a DVD soon, so we can also watch this in Europe.
    I am also looking forward to Kevin’s movie..’What If’. Is that already available?

    • EJ
      July 11, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Yes What if is available. I purchased it a few months ago and have watched if numerous times! It’s a really great movie in which Kevin Sorbo plays a wonderful role of a man who gets a glimpse of what his real life would/should have been had he chosen a different path. It is worth watching again and again, as is The Santa Suit. I’ve got that recorded on my DVR and can’t wait for it to come out on dvd as well! I’ve become a Kevin Sorbo fan for life!!!

  11. Alicia G
    June 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Got to see the movie by accident. I loved it and notice that it is not listed for sale anywhere and not even listed on Kevin’s offical fan page. Maybe I am not looking in the right place. I was starting to think that I imagined the movie.

  12. Ron H
    December 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Mr. Commins and everyone else that likes The Santa Suit, Please write Hallmark Channel asking them to release this on DVD. I have looked EVERYWERE I can think of and cant find it anywere. The Santa Suit is by far one of the best Christmas movies I have ever saw. I watched it several times last year and three times this year so far. It would be great to have it on DVD. Mr. Commins, You did a super great job with this movie THANKS

  13. Cheryl V
    November 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I’ve seen the movie every time I can I’m looking for it on dvd so we can watch it anytime we would like. I can’t find it on dvd not even on ebay I hope they get this movie out on dvd it’s a great movie. And I like kevin sorbo’s movies,

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