Let Microkhan go on record as saying that we’ve enjoyed at least one frequently derided Sylvester Stallone flick (the campy-yet-terrifying Cobra). But when it comes to Over the Top, we have no choice but to agree with the masses. Like so many of Sly’s 1980s vehicles, it’s all-too-easy to envision the movie-exec brainstorming that went into this schlock. Someone obviously caught a few minutes of arm wrestling on ESPN, and then ordered his minions to build a movie around the sport. Throw in a tale of fatherly redemption and a mountain of steroids, and you’ve got a flick that inspired The Washington Post to moan:
Stallone plays Lincoln Hawk. They call him “Hawk.” Years ago, he abandoned his wife and kid. Boy, does Hawk regret it. But he gets a chance to make it up to both of them when the wife, who is dying of an unidentified heart ailment, asks him to pick up the kid at his military school graduation and drive him cross-country in his big tractor-trailer.
Hawk and the kid, they don’t get along so good. The kid’s a snotnose with a girlish giggle. Hawk has to introduce him to the manly pleasures of interstate trucking and arm-wrestling. And teach him the latest version of the Stallone creed: “The world meets nobody halfway. If you want it, you got to take it.”
Well, Mom’s heart gives out, the kid blames Hawk and goes to live with his grandpa (Robert Loggia), an evil, grasping zillionaire steadily attended by scowling bodyguards. Hawk goes back to living his life, which consists of the manly pleasures of interstate trucking and arm-wrestling. He’s betting the ranch, you see, on winning the arm-wrestling championship of the world in Las Vegas. There are, of course, other arm-wrestlers in the way, many of them the rarefied product of centuries of inbreeding. But the world meets nobody halfway…
Personally, we prefer Tony Montana’s more optimistic credo. Although when it comes to raising Microkhan Jr., we’ll probably just stick with teaching him the Golden Rule.