Monday, March 8, 2010
OVER THE TOP (1987)
So Stallone drives up to his estranged son’s military school graduation in a beat-up semi, bearing documents that prove his paternity and a desire to make up for not being around the kid’s whole life. The kid wants none of it. I wouldn’t either, because Stallone is fucking insane. How else would you characterize a guy who’d drive his 18-wheeler through a rich guy’s iron gate, over his beautiful fountain and straight through the front door, all for the love of a kid he met two days ago? If I was the kid, I’d run. But then if my dad was trying to become the world champion of arm wresting, I’d give him another shot.
OVER THE TOP stars Stallone as Lincoln Hawk, ne’er do well trucker and part time arm wrestling hustler, whose ex-wife (Susan Blakely) is dying of cancer. At her behest, he agrees to make peace with their son and drive him to see her in California, over the objections of her rich father (Robert Loggia). Along the way to California, the kid runs into traffic, sleeps in trucks by the side of the road, arm wrestles 12-year-old truck stop trash and generally learns how to be an all around lout like his crazy father.
Stallone’s big dream is to win the arm wrestling championship in Las Vegas, the prize being a shiny new truck, which he’ll use to start a business that lets him and his son ride around America being louts together. The boy’s rich grandfather has other plans, like proper schooling, proper food, college in the near future. Ideas Stallone’s character would arm wrestle to the ground.
So the mom dies, the kid runs back to grandpa, then Stallone drives his truck through the house, gets sent to jail, signs over the kid to grandpa then goes to Vegas. He sells his truck and bets all the money on himself, then has to beat ‘Bull’ Hurley (Rick Zumwalt), arm wrestling champion from Jacksonville, FL who hates Stallone with a passion. The kid changes his mind after finding letters from Stallone his mom hid from him, steals a pick-up, somehow gets on a commercial flight to Vegas with no one asking questions and shows up in enough time to give Stallone roughly the same speech Talia Shire gave him on the beach in ROCKY III.
The best part is the guy in the arm wrestling championship who drinks motor oil to Psyche up. The worst part could be Kenny Loggins warbling “Meet Me Half Way Across The Sky” the whole goddamn movie.
This Cannon Production had a lot of press, a lot of toy marketing and no audience. The script is downright horrible, credited to Stallone and Stirling Silliphant (writer of THE ENFORCER (1976) and SHAFT IN AFRICA (1973)), but to be honest you can’t produce a decent bowel movement without the proper food. How anyone thought this story would make a decent film is beyond me.
Nice to see the late Rick Zumwalt (actual five time arm wrestling champ) here, who was in three films for Cannon in 1987 including this crap, the Fat Boys’ DISORDERLIES and Jamaa “Let’s put a crack-smoking midget wrestler in there” Fanaka’s immortal PENITENTIARY III. If you’ve never seen PENITENTIARY III, kill somebody for the chance.
Rick Zumwalt pic lovingly swiped from armwrestling.com