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OVER THE TOP - 2 Slimes
Rated PG-13
Copyright 1987 Cannon Group
Reviewed by Circus Circus on 8 November 2009

The Characters:  

  • Lincoln Hawk - Sly Stallone! A trucker trying to forget his troubles, who happens to arm wrestle on the side. He's trying to get to know his estranged son on a road trip to Vegas.
  • Jason Cutler - Robert Loggia! He's Hawk's wife's father and thinks Lincoln is a loser. He wants to continue to raise his grandson as his own.
  • Michael Cutler - Played by David Mendenhall (who won the Razzie for "worst supporting actor"), is a snooty military brat reluctant to accept his father.
  • Christina Cutler-Hawk - Susan Blakely, Hawks estranged wife, who is dying of some unknown illness. It's serious whatever it is though, as she's dying! Desperately wants her son and husband to bond.
  • Bull - Rick Zumwalt. Arm wrestler and the reigning champ for five years running, thinks Hawk is a chicken.
  • Beefy guys - Lots of sweaty men that scream a lot (mostly fellow arm wrestlers). One of which is Terry Funk, who gets shoved through a French window by Hawk.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

"Over The Top" is a strange film. First off, I have no idea what genre this film falls into. I mean, sure it's a sort of family/action drama (trust me, it's very dramatic), but I believe it's the only arm-wrestling movie I have ever come across. So does that classify it as a "sports" film? And if so, I would really be stretching that term. Secondly, it's a very strange star vehicle for Sly Stallone, coming in off the back of successful Rocky and Rambo outings, to a plot where...well, there's not much plot. Plus it carries the tagline "Some fight for money. Some fight for glory. He's fighting for his son's love." How wussy does that sound?

Basically, Lincoln Hawk (Stallone) is trucker making deliveries and arm wrestling for extra cash on the side. His estranged wife is dying, and knowing that she does not have long, she asks Hawk to pick up their son from the military academy and get to know him on the way to see her. Hawk's son Michael (David Mendenhall), is at first unwilling to accept his father after he walked out on him and his mother, but warms soon after some traffic dodging, arm wrestling, and endless truck driving. My first gripe with this film (and this is hard, as I adore any 80s movie), is that Michael is so damn irritating. His character is such a stuck up egomaniac, that I was hoping Hawk would abandon him all over again by throwing him out onto the hot tarmac!

Anyway, Michael and Hawk bond. Much to the chagrin of Michael's cranky grandfather, Jason Cutler (Robert Loggia), who doesn't want him having anything to do with his biological father. Jason sends some goons after them to recover the boy. At one point Hawk rams his truck into grumpy gramps' mansion to see Michael, and gets busted in the process. It is probably the most exciting and action packed moment of the entire film. In order to stay out of trouble, Hawk has to agree to leave the state and not see Michael. He does so, heading to Vegas to compete in the arm wrestling championships. Michael, missing his estranged father after just one day, escapes and heads to Vegas too, but with gramps and goons not too far behind. Then comes some of the most ludicrous sequences of images I have ever had to behold: large, sweaty men constantly thrust into frame screaming and flexing their muscles in extremely tight shirts. Oh, the screaming! I can still hear it all now. I thought the Ultimate Warrior was going to run in at any moment for a cheap cameo, with his veins bursting all over the camera.

In the end, Hawk beats the champ, Bull, in slow motion, whilst covered in buckets of sweat to the typical soft rock anthem. He wins a new truck, wins his son back for good, and they head off into the end credits happily ever after. I would admit that some scenes are quite heart-warming in this, that is, if it weren't for the vast amount of cheese that has been grilled on top of this movie. It isn't pretty, but can be enjoyable if you aren't expecting anything requiring brains, or if you really, really like arm wrestling.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Arm wrestling is a very popular "sport."
  • You can make up for 10 years of child neglect in 1 day.
  • If you do weights with just one arm, both your arms will appear the same size.
  • Eating cigarettes and drinking motor oil will enhance your performance.
  • You can win any arm wrestling bout as long as you "feel strong."
  • Twelve-year-old boys can learn to a drive trucking rig in under 5 minutes.
  • Twelve-year-old year old boys can also drive a car instantly and know the way to Las Vegas.
  • Arm wrestling can solve all our problems, whether it be a family feud or financial.
  • Sylvester Stallone's shoulders are shaped like pillows.
  • Robert Loggia is nobody's father.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - What the hell is he smiling at?
  • 9 mins - He's not even watching the road!
  • 10 mins - Please, someone run that kid over!
  • 14 mins - I've never seen blue putty on a bar before…
  • 30 mins - Gambling with minors? Dear me, Sylvester...
  • 53 mins - Don't see many twelve-year-old old boys with handbags...
  • 57 mins - These people are mentally ill.
  • 81 mins - No, these people are just constipated...
  • 85 mins - Credits.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note overtop1.wav Michael: "Sir, my grandfather has instructed me to go home with noone but besides himself or my mother."
Academy CO: "You mother has legal custody over you, Cutler - not your grandfather, and it is her request that your father bring you home."
Green Music Note overtop2.wav Bull: "Right now: double or nothing. Whaddaya you say?"
Hawk: "Let's just wait for Vegas."
Bull: "Come on, let's do it now. I feel like kicking some a**."
Hawk: "Let's wait 'til Vegas, OK?"
Bull: "You ain't got a prayer in Vegas."
Hawk: "We'll see."
Bull: "Too bad your old man's yellow, kid. I'll see you in Vegas."
Green Music Note overtop3.wav Michael: "Grandfather always said you were a loser. Now you're trying to make me one, and I hate you for it!"
Hawk: "Mike, I don't care what your grandfather thinks about me, OK? All I care about is you. Now, you lost back there because you beat yourself. You let yourself get beat. I know you can do it."
Green Music Note overtop4.wav Mr. Cutler: "You think you can come in here, destroy my home, and take Michael with you? Michael Cutler is my boy! You deserted him years ago, and that's a fact you can't change no matter what you do! DAMN YOU!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipovertop1.mpg - 4.9m
Professional arm wrasslin': the sport of heroes.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3
Re: Over the Top
Reply #9. Posted on November 10, 2009, 12:37:01 AM by Mofo Rising
It's a testament to how little I paid attention to the basis of movies when I was a kid (I was born in '78).

Of course there are big-budget, glitzy arm-wrestling championships! And of course these are aimed at truckers, why not?

All I know, is that if I'm ever arm-wrestling, all I need to do is turn my trucker's cap around to let them know I mean business. The end is obvious from the beginning.
Re: Over the Top
Reply #10. Posted on November 10, 2009, 09:42:31 AM by Torgo
I guess Sly was trying to do for professional arm wrestling what Rocky did for boxing. and failed miserably I might add.

I do however like the Sammy Hagar songs that were done for this movie.
Re: Over the Top
Reply #11. Posted on November 10, 2009, 02:09:07 PM by Ed, Ego and Superego
Torgo, the funny thing is that the ONLY thing I remember from this movie (which I have seen several times, once in a theatre) is the Sammy Hagar Theme song. 
"Winner takes it all, loser takes a fall, time to take it over the toooop"

Great job Circus. 
Re: Over the Top
Reply #12. Posted on November 10, 2009, 10:18:51 PM by DarkWolfe
Seriously, did they really have to make a toy line for this movie?

For some strange reason, i remember this "Over the Top" mini arm wrestling table for kids. Can't say I ever played with it. Mainly because even as a kid, I thought it was stupid. I even remember, albeit vaguely, seeing a commercial on a Saturday morning for that strange toy.

Oh and don't forget the action figures.

I wish I could find some pics for those toys, because I remember them being very poorly made but very funny to laugh at.
Re: Over the Top
Reply #13. Posted on November 11, 2009, 09:44:53 AM by Ed, Ego and Superego
Re: Over the Top
Reply #14. Posted on November 13, 2009, 06:14:55 PM by BoyScoutKevin
This is certianly an odd film.  I'm guessing that this is the only arm wrestling movie around.

Twelve-year-old boys can learn to a drive trucking rig in under 5 minutes.

Really?  Man, I should have tried doing that when I was that age.

Actually, there is somewhere around 79 different films, of various types, about arm wrestling. What makes this film unique is it is only one of three films about arm wrestling contests. There is also "Il Casanova di Federico Fellini" from 1976 and the Swedish documentary "Armbryterskan fram Ensamheten" from 2004. It is about the town of
Solitude in northern Sweden and 1ts sixteen inhabitants. All of whom share one passion, and that is their love of arm wrestling.
Re: Over the Top
Reply #15. Posted on November 14, 2009, 03:49:16 AM by Eeeper
Torgo, the funny thing is that the ONLY thing I remember from this movie (which I have seen several times, once in a theatre) is the Sammy Hagar Theme song. 
"Winner takes it all, loser takes a fall, time to take it over the toooop"

God I'd forgotten about the song! Was it just me or did Vince DiCola/John Cafferty's songs from Rocky IV and Hagar's stuff in this seem really similar?

Also Stallone wins my thumbs up as anybody who can stand in a room with Robert Loggia while Loggia goes for your jugular in every single scene can't be all bad.
Re: Over the Top
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2009, 03:46:39 AM by DFG
Hawk, such a cool, manly last name... except of course if your first name is Mike. Mike Hawk. Yeah I can see why the wife decided to give the kid her last name.
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