Sylvester Stallone was straight killing the 80’s. He was stacking hit after hit while juggling multiple franchises. Sly was flying high. In 1987, he returned to the sports movie world but this wasn’t another installment of Rocky, this was a little diddy about a truck driver finally trying to do right by his son. It’s all about family but with a solid jolt of sweaty arm wrestling. Not only is Stallone the star but he also helped write the script so you know it’s good. Now, for your nostalgic viewing pleasure, the SBS Film Vault proudly presents Over the Top.
Stallone plays Lincoln Hawk, a trucker who is meeting his 12-year-old son, Michael, for the first time. Hawk picks him up from the military academy at the request of the boy’s dying mother who just wants the father-son team to finally meet. It’s a rocky start as Michael and Lincoln are worlds apart but the road proves to be bonding ground. At their first pitstop, Michael learns why Hawk is so famous. A rando challenges Lincoln to an arm wrestling match and Stallone goes to work. Michael loves it as much as we do.
There are many classic scenes and lots of action but in terms of story, this tale is about a father and son creating the framework for a real relationship. This is a sports redemption story but the redemption is about the modern American family, where maybe everything isn’t all perfect. This is the hero step-dad movie.“One great weekend can fix it all!” Oh, also there is also some big tournament in Las Vegas, because there always is some big random thing in Vegas. Life-changing prize money and a new Semi truck. How convenient.
The first battle we see is Hawk vs. Smasher. Hawk draws him into the trap then rotates his grip and destroys. This is when we learn that Lincoln is not to be underestimated. The next match we see is Hawk’s son Michael against, let’s call him “Arcade Bully.” It’s best 2 of 3 and Bully wins the first. Lincoln gives Michael a pep talk and he wins the next two. It must be the good genetics.
After all that and a bunch of family stuff, we have the tourney in Vegas. Huge stakes, Hawk sells his truck and bets the money on himself. AKA the American Dream. The tournament is kind of like the end of Karate Kid, it’s a double elimination round robin. Meaning you gotta lose twice to be kicked out. Hawk loses early, using up his one life-line. But Stallone rallies like a mother. He kicks ass and makes it to the finals against the 5-time champ, Bull Hurley. A giant, bald, beast of man.
Before the finals, we see a confessional style interview with Lincoln Hawk where he explains that when he turns his trucker hat around, it’s like a switch. That wakes the truck-sized engine in Hawk’s body. I could tell you how the last round goes but you know. Still go see it, because it’s even better than you imagined.
Hawk or Hawks?
While watching the film, half of the time it seems people say “Hawks” instead of “Hawk”which is the character’s correct last name. Makes me think that the issue was so bad on set that the editors just used the best footage and didn’t care if the names were wrong. At least everything was in focus. New drinking game: pick on of the two variations and drink every time they say the opposite. Either way, you get drukn.
This is the movie Stallone made after Cobra but before Rambo III, just let that venom sink in. Head-esplode! Sly for president. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the grandpa/bad guy is TV’s Robert Loggia. Stupid’s Alex’s favorite. Alright, your assignment for this week is to arm wrestle someone.