Over The Top: An Important Film About Arm Wrestling, Truck Driving, and Love.
by: -RoG-


After being aggravated by Mike suggesting that the average mental age for a trucker is in the 11-13 range, Hawk pulls over and tells Mike to drive the truck since he thinks it doesn't take any brains to do. As you'd expect, he struggles just to push the clutch in and the truck shakes wildly for a bit until Mike eventually gets the hang of it. Look, I know Hawk wants to be a good father 'n all, but maybe he shouldn't let his son drive an expensive piece of machinery while grinding the clutch to hell like that. After all, he does have a trailer full of BRUT that needs to be delivered and this is currently how he makes his living. Well anyway, when Mike does get the hang of driving the truck, he gets all excited and with a huge smile, he shakes his fist in the air and proclaims, "This is great! I'm really doing it! This is great!" Hawk has effectively changed his son from a stoic military brat into a doe-eyed truck driving happy lil' camper. Way to go, dad!

After a break for lunch, Hawk notices some other kids playing video games and tells them that he'll bet money his boy can beat any of them in a best 2-out-of-3 arm wrestling match. Mike, not being confident in himself, tries to deny this but Hawk pushes them and the main kid taunts Mike, "Kid, if I couldn't beat you, I'd kill myself!" He's the perfect bad boy adversary for Mike, but more importantly, just look at that hair! That's gotta be one of the greatest spike-mullets (or spullet?) I've ever seen in my life! And on that note, Mike's arm wrestling battle with Spikes McMullet begins:

You can tell from the very start that Mike is gonna lose this first match, and when he does, he runs off crying... again. Hawk reminds the kids that it's a best 2-out-of-three match and he goes to chase after his boy. When Hawk finds Mike outside, he cries to his dad, "All you wanted to do was embarrass me... well you did it, ok? Grandfather always said you were a loser and now you're trying to make me one too and I hate you for it!" WAAAAAH! I think it's time for Hawk to shut up this whiny shit of a son of his once and for all with the lengthy emotional speech to end all lengthy emotional speeches:

"Mike, I don't care what your grandfather thinks about me, ok? All I care about is you. Now you lost back there because you beat yourself. You let yourself get beat. I know you can do it. You're a special kid... you're my boy, you understand? But you're also a spoiled, rich brat who's always had everything done for him. Now it's time to do it for yourself, Mike, and you can do it. Because I'm tellin' you, the world meets nobody halfway. Do you understand what that means? If you want it, Mike, you gotta take it. Do you hear me? You gotta take it! Go in there and try... I know you can win. But even if you don't, so what? So you lose. As long as you lose like a winner, it doesn't matter, because you did it with dignity. I'm telling you, if you don't go in there, you're gonna be sorry, you're gonna regret it your whole life. You know what I mean? Come on, I know you can do it. Will you do it for me? Come on, let's get him!"

Ok, I'll give you a few moments to dry your eyes... I know that was some heavy stuff. Go dry your eyes, but don't ask somebody else to get a tissue for you. If you want that tissue, you gotta take it. You hear me? The world meets nobody halfway. Now it's time to get that tissue for yourself so you can dry your eyes on your own. If you don't dry your eyes, you're gonna be sorry, you're gonna regret it your whole life. I know you can do it. Will you do it for me? Come on, let's get 'em!

Now that you've wiped the tears away, it's time to get down to business and return to see if Mike can overcome the odds stacked against him in the form of mulleted badboy.

Emulating his dad's psyche-out stare, Mike slowly approaches his opponent and you can tell he means business, especially with that hat turned around backwards. "This is gonna hurt wimp, what do you think of that?" mullet boy asks him. "I think your breath stinks!" Mike replies. OHHHHHHHHH SHIIIIIIIIT! HE JUST GOT BURNED!!!!!!! THIS MATCH IS *ON*!!!

Once again, having learned from his father's arm wrestling arsenal, Mike uses the "over the top" move and manages to beat Spikes McMullet two times in a row - both winning the bet and making him look like a wimp in front of his friends. Mike calls his mom and tells her the good news about how he drove a truck and how he won the arm wrestling match. Then Hawk gets on the phone and she tells him that she wants him to stay with Mike no matter what happens. And wouldn't you know it, Hawk is about to have his staying with Mike put to the test in a matter of seconds.

While Hawk was on the phone with Christina, Mike gets kidnapped by some thugs in a truck who obviously work for his grandfather. Hawk tries catching them before they speed off, but ends up having to fight two other thugs in the parking lot. After quickly kicking their asses, he hops into his truck (which is conveniently no longer attached to the BRUT trailer) and speeds off after Mike's kidnappers. He eventually catches up to them and instead of trying to be careful, you know... to keep his son safe, he pulls in front of them allowing their little truck to crash into his big rig. The kidnappers run away and Mike is reunited with his father, but it's clear that Jason Cutler isn't going to make it easy for them to stay together. Yes indeed, the hard times have just begun...

As their truck drive to visit mom at the hospital continues, Hawk's son asks him why he left them all those years ago, and he responds with, "All I can say is I made a mistake. I know that. You know, sometimes that happens in life, we all make mistakes, but it won't happen again." Doesn't explain a whole hell of a lot, but at least he's trying to make up for his past mistakes, right? Right. So they arrive at the hospital and the doctor informs Hawk that Christina died in the operating room earlier that afternoon. Upon hearing this news, Mike runs out into the parking lot, crying his ass off and, once again, blaming his dad for everything. "If you never would've come to pick me up, I would've seen her! I wouldn't be riding around in that truck while she was dying! You've never been around when anybody needed you!" Mike then runs off and catches a taxi back home.

From there, it cuts to Christina's funeral and Hawk shows up to pay his respects and leave her some flowers. Then we see him at the beach and he's actually parked his truck right on the shoreline. Why? Because when a real man needs to reflect on his life and think about what is right and wrong, he needs to do it on the back of a truck... on the beach... during a sunset. Look, I can't explain it, it's a very emotional thing. It's man-passion. Let's just hope our friend Hawk figures how to turn things around for himself and his boy soon.

So after spending all that time meditating at the beach, Hawk decided that he should go get his son. He drives up to the Cutler mansion and asks to see his son, but the security guard tells him that he's not welcome. Hawk then backs his truck up and gets that deadly serious look on his face as he revs up the engine. He then hits the gas and the truck goes flying through the gates, crashing past a car, wrecking a variety of statues and a big fountain before finally busting through the front door of the mansion. Jason Cutler is, of course, extremely pissed off and punctuates it with a "Damn you!" before the cops arrive to take Hawk away. The response time of the authorities, I might add, is ridiculously fast... we're talking within one minute here. I guess it just goes to show you, them rich folk have all the power in the palm o' their hands. And speaking of rich folk, here's a fun little fact: the Cutler home is none other than the same mansion that the Clampett family lived in on The Beverly Hillbillies show.

So Mike comes to pay Hawk a visit in prison and asks him, "If I went with you. Where would we go? Where would we end up?" Hawk responds, "Together is all I can guarantee. I'm just a father who messed up pretty bad, I know that. I've done things real wrong, now I want to try to fix things up as best I can. I want to give... you... what's inside of me. I may not have much and I may never have a lot, but I've got something inside I want to give to the only person that means something to me... you." So what does Mike say to that heartfelt response? He turns Hawk down, saying he can't go with him. No real explanation why, he just says he can't. Granted, the whole "I want to give you what's inside me" could be a tad creepy when taken out of context, but that kid knows what's up and he's just being that same stuffy little prick that he was at the start of the film.

With nothing but his truck to keep him company after he gets out of prison, Hawk heads out into the desert to make his way to Vegas for the arm wrestling championship (while the instrumental version of "Meet Me Half Way" plays yet again). But can a guy who's lost so much come back to win it all? Damn, you know something... I think that should've been the tagline for this movie.

Before arriving at the International Arm Wrestling Championships, Hawk goes to a dealer that buys big rigs and sells his truck for 7 grand and then takes that money to place a bet on himself for winning the championships, even though the odds are 20:1 according to the teller. Meanwhile, Mike is searching through his mom's old stuff and finds a purse with a bunch of old letters that Hawk had sent a long time ago, many of which are addressed to Mike. His eyes light up and his cheeks pop out with glee, because he now knows that his dad never really left him after all. Awwwwwww! Her last name on the letters is spelled as "Hawks" instead of "Hawk", and as I stated earlier, this little error occurs several times in the movie and caused many people to wonder which was really Lincoln's last name. In case you're still wondering, it's "Hawk". In case you're wondering what music is playing during this whole sequence of events, yep... it's "Meet Me Half Way" yet again. They probably could've kept that song on a loop throughout the entire movie and nobody would've even minded.

Anyway, now that he knows his dad really does love him, Mike goes through a whole ridiculous ordeal of escaping from the Cutler mansion and making his way to Vegas. I won't bore you with the photos of it, but it basically goes like this: he escapes through his window, steals a truck (which he now knows how to drive, thanks to dad), finds his way to the airport and somehow catches a plane to vegas (I'm sure he had all the proper ID's and cash to buy a ticket), hitches a ride on the luggage cart, and eventually arrives at the arm wrestling championships in Vegas. Totally believable, right? Absolutely.

So in addition to the big cash prize of $100,000 for winning the event, the winner of the arm wrestling championship will get to drive away in a brand new big rig! Just look at that beauty! Say... wait... is that a HAWK design on the front of the truck? What a coincidence! It's like it was made for Lincoln Hawk! Do you think he's got what it takes to win it? Well, before the event begins, he works out on a Soloflex machine while a guy wearing a Soloflex shirt stands beside him. Hmmm... I see no blatant advertisements anywhere in this scene, though it wouldn't surprise me if Hawk had splashed on some o' that BRUT cologne before working out.

The announcer informs the crowd that this is a double-elimination competition - in other words, you have to lose twice before you're officially out. We're then treated to a montage of the competitors and their badass attire. Bob "Bull" Hurley is wearing a brilliantly simple shirt that reads "BLASTER" and it's clearly helping him psyche out his opponents. Some other guy has one that reads "The Incredible Bulk" while another has obviously been sponsored by Alka-Seltzer. I think it's safe to say at this point that the entire movie was funded by blatant product placement. Anyway, men aren't the only ones getting in on the arm wrestling' championships, there are women too. At least, I think that's a woman wearing the red leopard print leotard and headband... either way, I'm sure he/she/it could kick my ass.

So the montage of arm wrestling action begins and we're treated to an incredibly wide variety of hyperactive machismo.


I wanted to call special attention to this multi-chinned behemoth. He's only in the movie for a few quick shots, but his name is Cleve Dean and he was the real-life arm wrestling champion at the time (and a hog farmer as well, I might add). Just look into those psychotic eyes of his, you know he meant business. Interestingly enough, he was originally slated to be the guy who Hawk would face at the end of the movie, but it was later changed to "Bull" Hurley because the producers thought it would be too unrealistic having Hawk holding his own against a monster like Dean. Oh well, at least ol' Cleve may not have been the final guy in the movie, but at least he made it into the Over The Top toyline (And yes, I'm proud to say I own several of those figures. Actually, I'm probably the only person who bought 'em). I should also note that Dean has posted some unintentionally hilarious comments about his arm wrestling career online, so be sure to check those out.

There's also a scene where we see some guy's arm get snapped right at the elbow. I'm not sure if it's a scene from the movie or stock footage from an arm wrestling match, but I swear that had to be a real break and not some special-fx magic. That was a real match and that guy's arm is 100% screwed. Just watch it and you'll see what I mean.

HOLY SHIT! That's Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka from back in the glory days of the WWF! What the hell is he doing in an arm wrestling championship!? I'm pretty sure they don't allow people to make ridiculously long jumps off the top ropes during any of the arm wrestling matches. Perhaps that's why we never see him again in the film other than this brief glimpse? I like to think so. I like to think he was disqualified for putting some high-flying Snuka moves on his opponent to wear them down before snapping their arms off. Oh how we miss you, Jimmy.

More manic yelling takes place as we're treated to action shots of Lincoln Hawk, Bull Hurley, Mad Dog Madison, Carl Adams, Harry Bosco, and my personal favorite arm wrestler in the film: John Grizzly. He's wearing a camouflage tank top which reads F.U.B.A.R. and to be perfectly honest, there's probably nothing else on this earth that could sum up John Grizzly in a nutshell like that shirt. We'll see plenty more of the amazing hairy beast that is John Grizzly in a bit, but first, I also want to call your attention to the t-shirt of the nameless guy in the bottom left corner there. It's a black shirt with a shark on it and it simply says "AWESOME" in big red letters and nothing more. You know, I never understood the whole "mug somebody and kill them for their sneakers" thing that we've all heard about in the news from time to time... but I swear to god, I would literally murder somebody for that shark shirt. It's just too... AWESOME. I think I might break down and print up some of my own. The world needs that shirt, damnit.

When the semi-finals are about to begin, we're treated to interviews with some of the most charismatic arm wrestlers who will be competing for the championship. We get to see how these guys aren't just brutish ogres, they're thinking men too with some words of wisdom to share. And guess who's up first? Yep, it's my favorite super-psychotic arm wrestler of 'em all, John Grizzly!

Will John Grizzly prove to be one of the
most poignant public speakers in history?

Click here to continue onward to see
what happens next in Over The Top!

Reader Comments

Using Ninjitsu of Fushin
Mar 14th, 2008, 05:26 AM
I got this film on video some time ago from a charity shop, cost me twenty pence, and was worth every bit!!

Stalone is awesome in this movie, his attempt to make a rocky but not rocky film is pure genius

My dad used to always beat me in arm wrestles as a kid, as he was much stronger than me, but now I know where his special technique comes from.

Thunder & Lightning
Mar 14th, 2008, 09:00 AM
This is one of my all-time favorite cable movies. Had no idea there was a line of action figures. I couldn't even find them on ebay! Sadly, Grizzly doesn't come with a F.U.B.A.R shirt and all of the corporate advertising is omitted, but they do come with Real Arm Wrestling Action!

after enough bourbon ...
Mar 14th, 2008, 11:02 AM
I was waiting for this review after I read the one on "Cobra". Stallone could make a film about ballroom dancing and it would be badass.
Shrub Scientist
Mar 14th, 2008, 11:40 AM
Consider this comment an official request for the AWESOME/shark t-shirt.
Master of Awesome Sauce!
Mar 14th, 2008, 11:55 AM
I want that Awesome/Shark shirt so bad! I'd rip someone's shittin' arm for one! OVER THE TOP!!!
No Future Guy
Mar 14th, 2008, 01:22 PM
Hahahaha, over the topless.
I like cheese.
Mar 14th, 2008, 01:25 PM
Brilliant as usual, RoG

I want to be the third official request for an Awesome shark shirt!
Serial Loiterer
Mar 14th, 2008, 02:27 PM
John Grizzly is my new hero. This guy needs his own movie! When I grow up I want to be John Grizzly!
Forum Virgin
Mar 14th, 2008, 04:59 PM
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Mar 14th, 2008, 08:25 PM
by god, this is one of the most awesome films ever. too bad he's old slurring weirdo now that sylvester stallone...
Fake Shemp
Mar 14th, 2008, 08:43 PM
can a guy who's lost so much come back to win it all?
Tears - tears are running down my face that's so beautiful. Rough, arm-wrestling MAN tears. Now excuse me whilst I get myself a tissue all on my own and get back and finish reading this review. I must also add that it's amazing what high res, widescreen will do to pretty much any movie - makes even Over The Top look like cinematic gold. Awesome job with the screenies RoG.
Forum Virgin
Mar 14th, 2008, 09:24 PM
Great review RoG. Now I need to hunt down a copy of the DVD that has this and Demolition Man on it. Two great tastes that taste great together!
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Mar 15th, 2008, 12:43 AM
Excellent, finally another one of the longer movie reviews. And it was a good one, top-quality stuff, great work -RoG-.
Mucho Porro
Mar 15th, 2008, 08:00 AM
This movie title was translated Halcon (Hawk) in my country, Over the Top. lol, Great review as usual Rog
What Video Games?
Mar 15th, 2008, 12:08 PM
Mike Hawk, lol.

This movie dosen't look all that bad. I might have to find it.
Waiting for the worms.
Mar 15th, 2008, 01:27 PM
Awesome/Shark shirt FTW!
This movie is a fabulous bit of cheese. MANLY-SMELLING CHEESE.
Forum Chaos Lord
Mar 15th, 2008, 11:19 PM
I remember seeing this movie when I was about 14 years old. My mom was very sick, and I was in the hospital waiting room when this movie came on. I watched the whole damn thing, and though it sounds blissfully retarded in retrospect, when I saw it, I thought it was the most soul-touching, beautifully-done movie I had ever seen up until that point.
Roid Rager
Mar 16th, 2008, 01:40 AM
If you want that tissue, you gotta take it. You hear me? The world meets nobody halfway. Now it's time to get that tissue for yourself so you can dry your eyes on your own. If you don't dry your eyes, you're gonna be sorry, you're gonna regret it your whole life. I know you can do it. Will you do it for me? Come on, let's get 'em!..... pure genius RoG
Mar 16th, 2008, 11:12 AM
I was in a double elimination tournament once (not arm wrestling, needless to say) and in the finals that rule went to the wayside, so it might not be a continuity error.
i got tha runz!
Mar 16th, 2008, 05:30 PM
Smooth Operator
Mar 17th, 2008, 01:21 AM
I haven't seen this movie in ages. Mostly because it gets me too damn emotional. No I'm going to have to seek it out. Damn you Rog, Damn Yooooooooou!!!
Anyway, yet another request for an "Awesome Shark" shirt.
Also, when can we expect a review of Over the Topless?
Mar 17th, 2008, 05:57 AM
Awesome Shark shirts, please.
From the Home of MST3K
Mar 17th, 2008, 07:43 AM
I watched this cus of the rifftrax. The part where they interview wrestlers like it's a documentary or TV spot is fucking hilarious.

The bad music makes it almost unwatchable, though. "CUZ IN THIS CUNTRYYYY..."
By Hawkings Chair!
Mar 18th, 2008, 04:23 AM
I too would like to request an AWESOME t-shirt.
I would wear it with pride in the office.

p.s. man-passion.....massion?
i.e. 'Alfredo made mad, massionate love to Gloria in the alley beside the disco'
Forum Virgin
Mar 19th, 2008, 04:02 AM
You should really check out Mike Nelson's RiffTrax for this flick. It makes watching it a breeze!
Fookin' up planets!
Mar 19th, 2008, 04:40 AM
Please for the love of God, review over the topless!
Freelance Product Tester
Mar 19th, 2008, 02:35 PM
The image for this on the front page reminded me of Fist of the North Star
spinning death metals
Mar 19th, 2008, 07:32 PM
great flick...not really, I just like it when that d00d drinks motor oil and eats a whole cigar
Forum Virgin
Mar 19th, 2008, 11:39 PM
RoG, that isn't just Cutler's main security guard that gets pushed through the door, it is the great Terry Funk. In addition to playing a goon in Roadhouse, he is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. If you want to see something crazy, watch the King of the Death Match between he and Mick Foley (WWE's Mankind). It's a truly brutal barbed wire match complete with a ring rigged with explosives.
Mar 21st, 2008, 11:16 PM
'nother awesome review -RoG-, there were so many examples of awesome, there is no one point of awesome; it is simply awesome. One big, awesome, cigar eatin', shittin' ore of awesome.
Forum Virgin
Mar 22nd, 2008, 02:57 PM
Forum Virgin
Mar 23rd, 2008, 09:46 PM
Grizzly has one of the best beards ever.

That is all.
Mar 24th, 2008, 11:01 PM
Um. I like that part from "The Fly" when they're arm wrestling and
that guy's arm, like, rips off.

Forum Virgin
Mar 27th, 2008, 02:19 PM
John Grizzly was undoubtedly my favorite part.. I literally laughed so hard reading that
Forum Virgin
Apr 3rd, 2008, 03:34 PM
john Grizzly vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan the ultimate fight
MMA for Life.
Apr 11th, 2008, 12:38 PM
Great move and nice review sir.
Forum Virgin
Apr 19th, 2008, 05:38 PM
Love your movie reviews, RoG!! I think it'd be cool if you were to do one on "Fright Night" sometime. One of the greatest vampire movies of the 80's!
Apr 25th, 2008, 01:35 AM
nice selection for a review
Forum Virgin
May 2nd, 2008, 05:37 PM
I need the awesome shirt...on a side note, my friends Grandpa (or uncle I cant remember) had a hat with no company lable, no tag, and no other possible way of tracing it to its origin, and the hat had one word on the front of it: AWESOME
Imperial Stormtrooper
Jun 25th, 2008, 06:11 AM
"Over The Top. This isn't just another mindless action movie... no, no, no! This is a movie with a message. A movie with gumption. A movie with raw emotion. A movie with HEART!"

Yes.. yes it is.
Forum Virgin
Oct 19th, 2008, 02:27 PM
The funniest thing about this movie is the fact that Terry Funk played the guy who gets shoved through the window in Cutler's suite.
Feb 21st, 2009, 07:08 PM
"Cause we gotta little ol' convoy, rockin' through the night...Yeah we gotta little ol' convoy, ain't she a beautiful sight?"
Forum Virgin
Dec 9th, 2010, 10:32 PM
Demi Moore was a cute teenaged boy!

Click here to return to the Features homepage