171) Over the Top (1987) Dir: Menahem Golan Date Released: February 1987 Date Seen: May 16, 2010 Rating: 2.25/5
While I've admittedly mellowed to the high cheese quotient in Sly Stallone's "arm-wrestling for custody of my estranged prissy military school cadet of a son" flick with time, I remember groaning constantly while actually watching Over the Top. Stallone's working class man with a deep-seated code of ethics/honor schtick has never impressed me. Granted, I've never seen Rocky, but I'm not boasting about that. I just don't get the appeal of an action star that's trying to convince me that he of rippling muscles and Adonisian physique is just like one of us. I'm not sure if this is a hard and fast rule I can really hold to but I don't want my action heroes to be like me, but rather like goddamn action heroes. It's why I love Arnold Schwarzenegger but then again, I get a kick out of Bruce Willis's bluecollar act and adore Jackie Chan's happy-go-lucky bum. Still, there's just something that rubs me the wrong way about Stallone's regular joe pose. It just makes him look like an affected macho trying to pass as an average, salt of the earth kinda guy.
That need to prove himself to Joe Sixpack or whomever makes Over the Top a chore when it could be a light bit of dated generic fluff, like Bloodsport (I know, sounds weird, right? I'm not quite sure how that happened either). Stallone's a horrible father, one whose constant toeing the ground is supposed to make up for the fact that his idea of bonding with his kid is forcing him to arm wrestle complete strangers to gain self-respect and to drive a truck to prove that his (Stallone's) job requires a basic level of skill.
Then again, the deck is so stacked in Stallone's character's favor that the preposterousness of that scenario doesn't really matter because this film is so insanely jacked up on testosterone that it could only work that way. After all, the way to get Stallone gets his kid back is by arm-wrestling fellow truckers to win money to pay for the lawyers needed to win joint custody. This movie could be marketed as a legal alternative to steroids as I guarantee athletes could watch it in and vicariously increase their muscle mass (don't ask me how, I don't get it either). It's just a silly, punch-drunk, crotch-grabbing kind of movie, though it's too proud to be outlandish enough to live up to its name.