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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Over the top - Starring Sylvester Stallone, Robert Loggia, Susan Blakely and Rick Zumwalt - Released in 1987

Released in 1987, the action drama Over the Top stars Sylvester Stallone as Lincoln Hawk, a
trucker. The film was directed by Menahem Golan (The Delta Force), the screenplay was co- written by Stallone. Despite criticism, fans loved the film with its mushy story about a father trying to make amends with his estranged son after the death of the wife.

Lincoln Hawk and Christina Cutler (Susan Blakeley) were married against the wishes of Christina’s father, rich and powerful bully, trucking magnate - Jason Cutler (Robert Loggia). The cold hearted and shrewd old man would rather that his grandson Michael (David Mendenhall) lived with him than Hawk. Lincoln and Cristina are now estranged, thanks to Jason, and now that his wife is ill, she makes an emotional appeal to Hawks to bond with their son, who is away at military school. For the ten years they’ve been apart, Lincoln has juggled making a living long hauling and arm wrestling - less than honorable means which his father-in-law disdains.

On the other hand, Jason has taken advantage of the situation in the couple’s lives - he poisons Michael against his father, and the boy resents Hawk for abandoning his family. Christina is suffering from a heart ailment, and she wants Lincoln to pick up Michael from Military School, where he is graduating from, and drive him from Colorado to California, hoping against hope that her twelve year old son will grow to like his father.

During the trip, Hawk and Michael gradually (the kid somewhat grudgingly!) grow fond of each other, especially after Lincoln saves the child from a kidnapping bid on him; a ploy hatched by Jason to wrestle his grandson away from Lincoln. When the duo return to meet Christina, they are informed that she lost her battle to death, and passed away in surgery. This spurs Michael to feel guilty for not being there by her side when she died - he goes back to his grandfather. Heartbroken, Lincoln makes an attempt to break into Cutler’s mansion and take his son away - this only makes matters worse, and he is jailed. Michael comes to meet his father in prison, saying he understands and forgives him, but thinks his life is with Jason.

Post prison, Hawk competed in the World Arm Wrestling Championship in Las Vegas, his hopes are pinned on a victory which rakes in the moolah - $100000! He also wins a custom made truck and gets to try his hand as an entrepreneur! Everyone knows that Lincoln Hawk is the underdog, he isn’t built like an arm wrestler, and he doesn’t foot the bill! He tries to deal with his financial crunch by selling off his truck, placing a bet and entering the contest.

Back in home, Michael is stunned to find out that his grandfather had concealed the letters Lincoln wrote to him and how Jason is responsible for the separation of his parents. He runs away to Vegas, to meet Hawks. Lincoln is injured in the match, almost at the flag end of tournament, where he has advanced to the final eight. In the interim of the match, he is summoned by Cutler, who offers him $500000 to stay away from Michael, Hawks refuses.

Despite the injury to his arm, he defeats his opponent, overpowering another two, advancing steadily to the final against Bull Hurley (Rick Zumwalt) - an old opponent, yet undefeated. Michael finds his father, and tells him he’s sorry for having misjudged him for all those years, now that he has the support of his son - Hawks is determined to win, and he does.

Even Cutler has grudging respect for his son-in-law, for having stood up against a bully like himself to win his son’s affection. A feel good family film, with the message of love and sacrifice, hard work and honest approach to relationships - a winning formula that Stallone mastered after Rocky!

Over the top - Starring Sylvester Stallone, Robert Loggia, Susan Blakely and Rick Zumwalt - Released in 1987

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