Over the Top ★★★★

Original Title: Over the Top
Year of Release: 1987
Genres: Drama; Action
Director: Menahem Golan
Writers: Stirling Silliphant, Sylvester Stallone, Gary Conway, David Engelbach
Main Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Robert Loggia, Susan Blakely, Rick Zumwalt, David Mendenhall

43/100 of The Great Action Project: 2019 Edition

One of the most emotional and border-line religious movie-watching experiences you can have, and easily the most human tale ever put on the silver screen. A father, truck-driver and professional arm wrestler, does everything he can to get the custody of his estranged son after his wife's death. This leads to an exciting road-trip, full of twists, exciting arm wrestling competitions, culminating in a climax that is among the most intense of all-time, where slow-motion is so intense that sometimes it's not even at the right frame-rate, making for a purposefully jarring and destabilizing sequence.

Stallone delivers the performance of a lifetime, a man hardened by time in jail but now dead-set on making things right as his wife's final wish. The amount of commitment and physical prowess is nothing short of impressive, the pain when he arm wrestles palpable and the sweat and baby oil infinite. His chemistry with the young David Mendenhall is stellar, one of the most earnest father-son relationships I have seen, one that we can all empathize with and wish we had in our childhood. I wish my father let me drive a truck at just 10 years old, or gave me life lessons through arm-wrestling metaphors and contradicting philosophies.

Over the Top is a genuine masterpiece of cinema. In a year that gave us classics like Full Metal Jacket, Princess Bride, RoboCop, Predator, Wings of Desire, Evil Dead II, Hellraiser, Lethal Weapon, The Untouchables, and Raising Arizona, it's this that stands tall as the best of the bunch, and easily one of the best of all time. And always remember: winner takes it all, loser takes the fall, fight to the beginning of the end ; winner takes it all until he breaks the fall, in time he'll make it over the top!

Story: 4.5
Directing: 4.5
Cinematography: 7
Acting: 5
Sound: 5
Visual Effects: 7


Violence & Gore: 3
Sex & Nudity: 1
Drugs & Profanity: 2
Intensity & Horror: 3

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