What do you get when you remake Rocky, only this time with a child custody plot replacing the “I love Adrian” plot and arm-wrestling instead of boxing? Well, you get Over The Top, the classic Cannon action flick from the 80’s starring that icon of muscle and curved lips, Sylvester Stallone. Stallone plays Hawk (or Hawks, depending on who’s calling his name), a trucker who has just agreed to take care of his spoiled, homosexual son, Michael (David Mendenhall). Not everybody is happy about that, particularly the kid’s grandfather, Jason Cutler (the well-tanned Robert Loggia). Meanwhile, Hawk has to worry about an arm-wrestling competition in Las Vegas where he’ll get the chance to win a brand new truck. Oh, the drama! I never understood why so many people consider this film to be cheesy. Well, I do actually, but I blame it mostly on two things: first, the music. It’s fucking terrible, as bad as 80’s music gets. Particularly bad is the Kenny Loggins song, which is played not once, but twice, almost in it’s entirety. Makes me feel like I’m digging shards of metal into my nails. Anyway enough about the music, the other thing that makes this movie cheesy as fuck is the kid character, Michael. I know he’s supposed to be spoiled, but I’ve never seen such a whiny, unlikeable child in my life. Well, the only one I can think of that’s just as bad is the one in Phantasm III, but yeah he’s pretty bad. I particularly hate the scene where he’s looking at his father’s sent papers and has that awkward smile… just weird. He shares no chemistry with Stallone, and most of their scenes come of awkward as hell. I’m not surprised the kid ended up doing “Going Bananas” with Dom DeLuise.
Even with these two negative factors, I really love this movie. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I can’t think of any other movie that signifies what people call “guy flicks”, well this and Road House, but I actually know women who like Road House. I’ve never met a woman that likes Over The Top, and it doesn’t surprise me. It has no interest in being sympathetic toward women, it’s just a flick about guys getting together and sweating until they have nuclear armpits.Stallone is great. He plays the Rocky type yet again, being a sensitive good guy, but his best moments come when he decides to arm wrestle, when he turns his hat around and makes his crazy, pumped face. He’s either crazy or he’s constipated, I’m not too sure. The final half hour, where Stallone participates in the arm-wrestling contest, is fantastic. The dudes in this thing are incredible, they look like Hulk Hogan’s inbred backwoods brothers. And the main antagonist of the match, Bull, is a beast. He looks like he’s the size of a house and his muscles are as big as my torso. He was played by Rick Zumwalt, who would later play the tattooed strongman in Batman Returns. He blows up in that one, sadly. This movie is simply badass, and even though it has it’s flaws, it’s incredibly entertaining and Stallone is great in it. I’ve watched it like fifteen times, and I’ll watch it fifteen more in the future.