Ah, the 80s were such a simpler time, a world without constant connectivity and the ability to disappear into a device for hours at a time without a care in the world. And that meant the movies could be simpler as well, and frankly completely ridiculous. That’s the case with a Sylvester Stallone one that is totally free to stream right now. If you head on over to YouTube there’s Over the Top just sitting there waiting for you to lose yourself in the world of competitive arm wrestling.
Sylvester Stallone plays Lincoln Hawk, a name that would only appear in a movie, and of course, the dude drives a truck for a living. You get the sense early that he’s a bit down on his luck. There’s plenty that’s gone wrong for this guy over the years. His wife left him and is now sick with a terminal illness, and he’s also estranged from his son who’s been placed in boarding school by his rich grandfather.
But Sylvester Stallone has big dreams in this one. Over the Top isn’t labeled a “sports movie” for nothing. That’s because, in addition to being in the long haul trucking game, Lincoln Hawk also has something else going for him: a massive right arm bicep. That’s right, he’s also into competitive, big stakes arm wrestling. This was a time when we could talk six-figured around this sport and that’s just what Hawk is dreaming about.
Over the Top isn’t just the story of Sylvester Stallone working that right arm so he can put down other dudes’ right arms in competition. With his ex-wife sick, he’s been asked to pick up his son and drive him to see her. They get out on the open road, learning the life of a trucker, seeing how an arm wrestler trains and even escaping a kidnapping along the way.
There are other things going on in this film, including how Sylvester Stallone as Hawk has a troubled relationship with his father-in-law and also has a rival in the arm wrestling ring as well. There’s a lot to take in for a movie that would have no hope of ever being made today. But that’s where the nostalgia comes in. Over the Top follows a lot of your typical sports movie beats along the way, culminating in the arm wrestling national finals where the stakes are really raised.
This isn’t Rocky we are talking about but Sylvester Stallone is clearly going for the same underdog vibe in this film. It came out in 1987, a couple of years after he’d wrapped up defeating Ivan Drago and effectively winning the Cold War against the Russians in Rocky IV. He’d also come off his second Rambo movie and had already starred in Cobra as well. This was fertile ground for Stallone films.
For a Sylvester Stallone film at the time, this was a box office bomb no matter which way you slice it. On a $25 million budget, it earned only $16 million in ticket sales. It doesn’t take a math or Hollywood business major to know that making back less than you spent is a pretty significant problem. And critics weren’t too friendly either with the Rotten Tomatoes score sitting at 33% through about 30 reviews.
But this is still a very fun Sylvester Stallone movie even for its box office troubles and lack of ratings. It’s a very 80s movie through and through. From the cheesy soundtrack, ridiculous trucker pageantry around the arm wrestling, and hamfisted relationship with the son and evil father-in-law, it came right out of the decades’ movie hopper. And Sylvester Stallone has been clear about movies he regrets making, this isn’t one of them.
As for Sylvester Stallone, he’s very much still kicking around Hollywood these days. He’s set to voice King Shark in the upcoming The Suicide Squad reboot with James Gunn at the helm. And there’s also Samaritan which is set to release this year as well. It’s a cool premise in which he plays a retired superhero that everyone thought was gone and disappeared.
But before those come out, make sure you check out Over the Top and you have no excuse because it won’t cost you a dime on YouTube.