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Over The Top

Over The Top

What he said:

He

Has there ever been a movie more appropriately named than Over the Top? Steroids, mullets, inspirational music montages, and positive messages are scattered throughout this film. This movie screams 1980s and is on-par with other classic 80s cheese-fests such as The Karate Kid series and Rocky (3 and 4 in particular). The 80s were a great time. Monster trucks, wrestlers, strongmen, arm wrestlers, we liked big things in the 80s. The bigger the better. Sure, many of them were on steroids, but were too naïve and idealistic to care. Throw in a few motivational montages with a wicked 80s ballad playing in the background and I’m hooked. Stuff like this makes me feel like I can take on the world. It makes you want to take the bull by the horns and kick it right in the balls.

Over The Top

This movie is one big giant maze of emotions and I love it for that. First, you’ve got this wonderfully weird world that is professional arm wrestling. I don’t know anything about arm wrestling. I bet you don't either. Not many people do. But this is one of those movies that throws you right in a world you know nothing about, but makes you feel like you’ve always been a part of it. Who know that people could get this excited about this sport? I have never seen a bigger bunch of meatheads and rabid fans in my life; not even at a professional wrestling event. If you are anything like me, you eat up every insane second of it.

Over The Top

Then you’ve got some intense drama. It’s super sappy, but this is the kind of drama that’s made for men. If there is anything that is going to strike a chord with a guy, it’s the tale of a father and son. Lincoln Hawk (Stallone) is a man out to make good with his estranged son Michael. Driven away from his family by his bastard of a father-in-law (Robert Loggia), Hawk finally decides to reconnect with his son. All he wants is to get to know the kid, but Jason Cutler (Loggia) refuses to let him be a part of the kid’s life. Cutler has always believed Hawk was trash and never good enough for his daughter. He never approved of the marriage and was never shy to express those feelings. It finally got to a point where Hawk couldn’t take it anymore, so he took off.  Cutler couldn’t be more wrong about Hawk if he tried. Hawk’s not a bad guy at all, he’s just working class. Cutler is an elitist and he can’t have his daughter and grandson be with a knuckle-dragger like Hawk.

Over The Top

If that wasn’t dramatic enough for ya, Hawk’s wife Chrstina (Susan Blakely) is very sick and wants Michael (David Mendenhall) to get to know his father. Figuring his career as a trucker will give him plenty of time on the road to get to know his son, she sets up a meeting behind her father’s back. Michael has just finished military school and she has sent Hawk to pick him up. This enrages her father. He sends his goons after them and tells them to stop at nothing to bring Michael back to him. Michael is also extremely uptight kid. Spoiled, rich, and most notably, brainwashed by his grandfather, he looks down on his father and his way of life.

Oh and Hawk just also happens to be an arm wrestler. In this movie truck drivers and arm wrestlers go hand-in-hand. As he drives across the country making deliveries, he supplements his income with arm wrestling matches at places like this.

Over The Top

The movie successfully manages to walk that fine line between corny and classic. I’m a total sucker for a sappy storyline and some cheesy 80s inspiration. I dare you to watch this and this and tell me you aren’t itching to conquer the world. The next minute you will be laughing at these larger than life personalities Stallone’s character goes up against. Just when you think you can’t take any more, you’re pretending like you got something in your eye because you’re a man and men don’t cry, but the story of Hawk and his son is too much.

I have to mention Rick Zumwalt’s performance as the legendary movie bad guy “Bull” Hurley. This guy scared the bejesus out of me as a child. He still does. It’s a shame he’s not still around, cause he totally owned those kind of characters. Some people are just meant to play the bad guy and he was one of them.

Over The Top

Robert Loggia was also awesome as Hawk’s father-in-law Cutler. When I reviewed Willow (review here) a few weeks ago, I mentioned a certain character and how much I hated him as a kid. When I got into a movie growing up, I really invested myself in it. I really hated the bad guy and this character was no different. I remember how angry I was at this guy for the way he treated Stallone’s character.

Stallone and David Mendenhall have some great chemistry too. Sure it was sappy, but that’s exactly what this movie called for. Not every movie is an award winner and like I always say, give me good cheese any day over a serious, well-acted, but stuffy award winner.

Diagnosis: Thumbs enthusiastically up.

 

This movie review was written give the He said, She said seal of approval on June 10, 2011. It was updated on February 26, 2013.

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