Movie Name: Over the Top
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date(s): February 13, 1987
MPAA Rating: PG
Lincoln Hawk (Sylvester Stallone) is trying to connect with his son Michael (David Mendenhall) as his estranged wife Christina (Susan Blakely) fights for her life. Unfortunately, Michael’s grandfather Jason (Robert Loggia) doesn’t approve of Hawk or his life as a truck driver. When Lincoln and Jason’s worlds collide, Lincoln finds he will have to fight for his son and his only hope is winning the arm wrestling competition and turning his life around.
Directed by Menahem Golan, Over the Top is a sports drama. The movie was met with largely negative criticism and a poor box office turn out, but due to the campy nature the film has gained a cult following over the years.
I actually was one of the ones who saw Over the Top in the theater…against my will. My neighbor wanted to see the movie and at this time and where we lived, any chance you had to go to a movie, you went. Even as a kid I hated this movie…but now I can watch it and revel in its so-bad-it-is-good nature.
The problem with Over the Top is that it is so ridiculous. The movie’s plot has been ridiculed and rightfully so by combining child custody and arm wrestling. It is nice that Stallone doesn’t spend the whole movie winning over his son, but the rivalry between Stallone and Loggia is so overblown along with the arm wrestling (which ironically is broadcast a lot like a reality show is broadcast nowadays complete with contestant “confessionals”).
Sylvester Stallone proves with enough money behind you, you can be a star. His early films like Rocky or even First Blood showed that he has some talent if the source material is good, but movies like this and other flops show that writing specific to him is the key which is ironic since he co-wrote it (along with Rocky and First Blood). I don’t know that anyone could have turned this into gold however.
I can say that Over the Top is a great ’80s flick if you want to just revel in the cheesiness of the decade. The style and the music of the film just scream ’87 and it does feel like a nice flashback. The tough guys look goofy and the heroes look like steroid users. Plus, you get awesome arm-wrestling (and who didn’t want the Over the Top wrestling table?)
Over the Top is one of the worst movies I saw in the theater (along with No Holds Bars…I was also dragged to that). Now, I can look back on it with nostalgia and enjoy its goofy ’80s style and overblown melodrama. With both Rambo and Rocky having surprise recent sequels, I’m still waiting for an Over the Top sequel where Stallone is the coach and his son is the arm wrestler…Over the Top 2: Way Over the Top. Until then turn your hat backwards and take it over the top!
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