Picks and Pans Review: Over the Top

updated 03/02/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/02/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Starring Sylvester Stallone—who got a reported $12 million up front—and directed by Menahem (The Delta Force) Golan, Over the Top is also as predictable as Stallone's previous bombastic hits. His fans will adore it. Stallone plays a truck driver who is estranged from his wife and whose hobby is arm wrestling. This doesn't leave much time for his 12-year-old son, nicely done by David (General Hospital) Mendenhall. In fact Dad hasn't seen the boy in 10 years. So the son is naturally shocked when Stallone comes to pick him up at his graduation from an Eastern military school. Mom, Susan (TV's Blood and Orchids) Blakely, is dying, and had decided it would be a good time for father and son to get to know one another as they drive cross-country to visit her in the hospital. Mendenhall, an intellectual little twit, is furious. He wants an answer as to why Dad never so much as sent him a birthday card. "Do you really think you can make up 10 years in two to three days?" he asks. Mendenhall starts to behave like a normal kid when Stallone teaches him how to drive a truck, arm wrestle and "lose like a winner." But of course Stallone never really loses when it counts. Although he's gunning for the World Arm Wrestling Championship, his real opponent is his millionaire father-in-law, Robert (Prizzi's Honor) Loggia, who views the boy as his own. Though the cast does a fine job serving the vehicle—Stallone—the script has enough holes in it to drive an 18-wheeler through. Nobody explains why a millionaire's daughter married a truck driver or why Stallone left her. And somehow only Stallone knows the no-fail arm wrestling move that inspired the title. (PG)

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