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Judge Michael Rubino's Blog
• Location: Monaca, PA
The Ways "Over the Top" Disappoints
I was looking forward to Sylvester Stallone's "Over the Top" for a long time. The prospect of a movie all about arm wrestling, glorified to the heights of the World Wrestling Federation, was something I simply couldn't pass up. My friends and I had these day dreams of watching that movie paired with other Stallone classics like "Cobra" or "Locked Up." It would be a double feature to rival that time I watched "Escape from New York" and "Big Trouble in Little China"...
Thankfully, I never got the chance to combine it with anything. "Over the Top" was an extreme disappointment. When I told this to my mother, she asked, "What kind of expectations could you have possibly had for that movie?"
Perhaps I built the movie up too much beforehand--I do have a tendency to get really excited about certain types of movies. But I certainly wasn't expecting this movie to focus so much on the Stallone's relationship with his abandoned, precocious, military school son. The movie is 90-some minutes long, and Stallone spends maybe 15-20 of those minutes actually locking hands and pinning wrists. That was the first, and of course, my largest problem with the movie. If you are going to have a film that's supposedly all about going "over the top," then do it! Go over the top! The only thing over the top was Stallone's ability to become a good father in 48 hours.
Then there is the issue of Terry Funk's appearance in the movie. For those of you who don't know, Funk is an old-school professional wrestler who's been in the business for some time. He made his reputation by going to Japan, shoving staples into his opponents' heads, and then coming back and fighting Mick Foley. He is absolutely an extreme individual, and usually when he's in movies (like "Road House") he kicks ass. But not in "Over the Top." Here, he is a merely a goon that never actually does any gooning. It's like the classic move of setting a gun on the mantle at the beginning of a play and never using it. Why was he in this movie if he wasn't going to arm wrestle?
Why was anyone in this movie if they weren't going to arm wrestle? I mean, at least the little kid arm wrestled, therefore legitimizing his role in the film. Why didn't the kid's grandpa (the bad guy in the movie) arm wrestle Stallone? The least he could have done was rig the match somehow.
But really, who am I trying to kid? The movie is rated PG, so I really shouldn't have been hoping for all this. People weren't going to have their arms ripped off in the middle of a bout. And while it was cool that the last match involved that weird arm-wrestling-strap, I think that if they would have included it more, the movie would have received a PG-13 or R rating (too many leather straps=too risky for young viewers, no matter how they're used).
I write this as a warning to all you young Stallone enthusiasts out there. Avoid the temptation of getting psyched about this movie. Trust me, I know it's easy to... the movie essentially promises to blow you away with "over the top" arm-wrestling action. It can't even compare to Stallone's more impressive work ("Cobra," "First Blood," "Judge Dredd"). If you're looking for some sweet arm wrestling, just scan ESPN 2 on the weekends.