Sylvester Stallone muscles his way to the top of the heap in a beefy world of armwrestling in Over the Top. Routinely made in every respect, melodrama [from a story by Gary Conway and David C. Engelbach] concerns itself as much with a man’s effort to win the love of his son as it does with macho athletics.
Stallone, as a down-on-his-luck trucker named Lincoln Hawk, appears out of the blue to fetch his son when the latter graduates from military academy. Absent from both the kid’s and mama Susan Blakely’s lives for years, Stallone proposes a get-to-know-you truck ride back home to Los Angeles.
Little Michael (David Mendenhall) doesn’t make things especially easy for his papa, his military rigidity and formality providing a formidable barrier. At truckstops along the way, Stallone introduces his son to the thrills of armwrestling, and Michael’s transformation from spoiled intellectual snot to future regular guy is well underway.
Stallone is sincere and soulful as a ‘father who messed up pretty bad’ and just wants his kid back, Mendenhall is a likable tyke, and justice is served in the end.