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‘Over the Top’ (PG)

By Paul Attanasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 13, 1987

From the ongoing search to find new arenas in which Sylvester Stallone, against overwhelming odds, triumphs through exercise of the manly virtues, comes "Over the Top," a movie about arm-wrestling. What's next? Crab soccer?

Stallone plays Lincoln Hawk. They call him "Hawk." Years ago, he abandoned his wife (Susan Blakely) and kid (David Mendenhall). Boy, wotta mistake. Boy, does Hawk regret it. But he gets a chance to make it up to both of them when the wife, who is dying of an unidentified heart ailment, asks him to pick up the kid at his military school graduation and drive him cross-country in his big tractor-trailer.

Hawk and the kid, they don't get along so good. The kid's a snotnose with a girlish giggle. At a truck stop, he orders tuna salad. Jeez Louise. Hawk has to introduce him to the manly pleasures of interstate trucking and arm-wrestling. And teach him the latest version of the Stallone creed: "The world meets nobody halfway. If you want it, you got to take it."

Well, Mom's heart gives out, the kid blames Hawk and goes to live with his grandpa (Robert Loggia), an evil, grasping zillionaire steadily attended by scowling bodyguards. Hawk goes back to living his life, which consists of the manly pleasures of interstate trucking and arm-wrestling. He's betting the ranch, you see, on winning the arm-wrestling championship of the world in Las Vegas. There are, of course, other arm-wrestlers in the way, many of them the rarefied product of centuries of inbreeding. But the world meets nobody half way, after all, and. . . oh, you get the point.

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