In honor of Friday's release of The Expendables, we're taking a week-long look at the action films of Sir Sylvester Stallone -- which is to say we're skipping his comedies. Out of respect.

Title: Over the Top

Setting: Present-day 1987, all across America

Our hero: Cross-country truck driver / absentee father Lincoln Hawk (Sylvester Stallone, who also co-wrote the screenplay and must've given himself that ultra-patriotic moniker)

Our villain/s: Rich grandfather Jason Cutler (Robert Loggia); five-time arm wrestling world champion Bob "Bull" Hurley (Rick Zumwalt)

The stakes: Custody of young son Michael (David Mendenhall), which is especially important now that Lincoln's estranged wife is on her deathbed; $100k in prize money; *and* a brand new tractor truck for any champion who just so happened to hock his own off in a moment of Act II desperation!
How long until our first confrontation? Fifteen minutes before Hawk is called out to a match at a truck stop and proves to his skeptical son that beneath his quiet exterior lies some surprising strength. As if Dad's balloon-sized arms weren't clue enough.

Line of dialogue that nails it: It's a tie between "Do you really think you can make up ten years in two to three days?" and "You think you can come in here, destroy my home and take Michael with you?" (Answer to both: Yes.)

Coolest display of might: Hawk uses his 18-wheeler to take out the front gate, a fountain, some statues, a few cars and the front door of Cutler's estate -- just to see his son.

Oddest lack of consistency: Hawk's last name becomes Hawks whenever spoken in the second act.

Moral of the story: Physical conflict trumps book smarts every time, just as long as you remember to turn your trucker cap backwards before the big match.

Stallone Action Scale: 4 out of 10. (5.5 if you love sweaty man arms.)

categories Cinematical