Thursday, August 21, 2008

Over the Top (1987)

For the longest time I thought that I had seen this movie. I used the "over the top" move every time I got into an arm wrestling match and referenced it whenever it made sense to reference an movie about a truck driver named Hawk who dominates the underground arm wrestling rings. But when I sat down to watch Over the Top last night, it became apparent in the first five minutes that I had never seen it before. Go figure.

So let's talk about Over the Top, starring Sly Stallone as Lincoln Hawk. The story goes something like this: When Lincoln Hawk's ex-wife falls ill, she asks him to pick up their son from military school and drive him home. Hawk pick's up his ten-year old son, Michael (who he hasn't seen since he walked out on his wife for no good reason) and starts on what proves to be a road trip to remember. Michael is first hesitant to get to know his father and confused about how to feel (or at least, that's what his acting coach told him to think about). But after witnessing Stallone stomp some big dude at a truck stop at arm wrestling, Michael starts to think a little different. Long story short, Hawk's wife dies and her father wants to take custody of Michael. Instead, Hawk goes to Vegas and wins the national arm wrestling championship... Michael and Lincoln Hawk live happily ever after.

Okay, the truth is I was a little disappointed  in the lack of action in this movie. There is lots of really good arm wrestling. In fact, I've never seen better arm wrestling footage. But there was almost no fighting, no gunshots, very little badassery. Plus, the kid in this movie (David Mendenhall) is hugely annoying. A look at IMDB shows that his career has since amounted to a couple of Law and Order episodes as well as a cameo on "A Pup Named Scooby Doo". Next, I don't really care for much of the story. It didn't bother me when the mother died on the operating table or when the kid cries "You were never there when we needed you!" But I was pretty pumped when Stallone tells his kid, "Wait here. Daddy'd got to work." and then proceeds to win a $1000 arm wrestling. Very nice.

The good thing about this movie is Stallone. I'm pretty sure the entire point of this film was to showcase Stallone's right bicep. It's is huge! And get this, the guy drives around in a semi truck with a weight-lifting machine set up to work out his right arm exclusively. I'm surprised he doesn't look more like Freddy Rodriguez in Lady in the Water the way he works that thing. The second best thing about Over the Top is the arm wrestling competition in the end. It's awesome. They treat it like an ESPN television program, cutting to interviews with the contestants in between matches. Hilarious! 

Check out this montage of the final tournament.

Anyway, it's a fun movie worth renting and watching with your best friends and a six-pack of beer. Check it out.


Lonnie Mollo said...

This movie has one of Stallone's best lines of all time: "I turn my cap round while I wrestle so that I feel like my truck."

Also, isn't it a crazy coincidence that his kid arm wrestles left handed so he can easily use the in-truck weight machine while in the passenger seat?

Casey said...

"I put my hat on backwards and its like I flip a switch." Yeah, that scene is hilarious when they are interviewing all of the arm wrestlers. I tried to find a clip, but failed.

I think it is fate that he is left-handed. Fate decided that he would be a child arm wrestling champion.

Brandon said...

i am not sure when this movie came out but i was frustrated that a survivor song did not make the soundtrack. but this movie is about as ridiculous as it gets for a sport action movie. i think hollywood realized that arm wrestling does not work as well as say hockey (slapshot) football (unnecessary roughness) baseball (major league/bull durham) basketball (juwanna man (yeah i went there)) hell even dodgeball. but it is a good flexing of sly stallone's acting chops and lends itself to be a feel good family movie.

Keanu Banderas said...

Sly just had to teach that kid to loosen up a little. Military school had him thinking like a square and arm wrestling was the after school activity that taught him there was more to life than marching in formation. It really pulls on the heartstrings. I will have to say that his military jacket looks way better with both of the arms ripped off. That's fashion at its finest.