over the top


Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Robert Loggia, Susan Blakely

You may like this if you like: Rocky IV (Sylvester Stallone, 1985), The Karate Kid (John G. Avildson, 1984), Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986)

The excellently named Lincoln Hawk (Stallone, of course) is a struggling trucker trying to rebuild his life (aww!). After the death of his wife he tries to get to know his estranged son, but his wealthy grandfather (Loggia) wants him to have nothing to do with Hawk (boo!). To prove to his son that he is not a complete loser and win the truck that will keep his livelihood Hawk uses his considerable talent for the epic sport of arm wrestling (!) to enter the world championships and try to win (yay!).

This is a film that could have only been made in the 80s, with a picture like that and a film about arm wrestling?!? Is there any point in actually reviewing it? Probably not, but here goes:

Well this film is pure cheese and Stallone, never the best actor out there I guess wanted to prove there was more to him than boxing and John Rambo. So he went for a film about arm wrestling, naturally! Well this film is of course terrible; a painstakingly predictable story line, clunky and cringe worthy dialogue and an obligatory 80s techno soundtrack. However, saying that it is tremendous fun. Firstly, as a PG rated film it is family friendly and so it is one the whole can family can watch (CAN being the key word there). Of course there is some outrageously blatant attempt to make arm wrestling a metaphor for not being afraid to follow your dreams and overcome any challenges you face, but that is best ignored.

I must confess I did find it very funny and admittedly this may because I am watching it so long after it was made, but films like this do age very well as they do work as guilty pleasures. The attempts at ‘character development’ are so bad they are just funny watching them now. However, though as this is the 80s it is a little hard to tell, but I think this film does not take itself too seriously and just tries to be good natured and fun. Fun it certainly is and in the final third when we get to the arm wrestling world championships the cheesy music and montages make for extremely entertaining and amusing viewing. Yes of course there are homoerotic undertones, with plenty of scenes of sweaty men staring into each other’s eyes. However the scene where Stallone enters the final (I won’t spoil the result) is pure comedy gold.

Cheesy, predictable, a little gay and very, very 80s, Over the Top has many, many things wrong with it but is still tremendously entertaining fun. This film probably works best if you have some friends over and plenty of alcohol and I can guarantee that for 90 minutes (thankfully that is it) everyone will be entertained and be in a good mood.


About MoodyB

An extremely passionate and (semi) opened minded film reviewer, with a hint of snobbish.
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