“Mike, I don’t care what your grandfather thinks about me, okay; all I care about is you. You lost back there because you beat yourself, you told yourself you couldn’t win. 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 whose always had everything done for him. Now it’s time to do it for yourself, Mike. You can do it, because I’m telling you the world meets nobody halfway. Do you understand what that means? When you want it, Mike, you gotta take it. 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 as a winner it doesn’t matter because you did it with dignity. I’m tell you, if you don’t go in there, you’ll be sorry. You’re going to regret it your whole life, know what I mean. C’mon, I know you can do it. Will you do it for me? C’mon, let’s get ’em.”
Michael has just graduated from military school and is looking forward to seeing his grandfather and sick mother again in their big house in the lap of luxury. When called to the headmaster’s office, he’s confronted by a stranger, the unkempt Lincoln Hawk, claiming to be his father there to drive him home cross-country in his semi truck. After a rough start, Michael comes to terms that this is his father, but still keeps him at arm’s length.
Meanwhile, Christina and Jason Cutler (Mike’s mom and grandfather) discuss her decision to allow Lincoln back in Mike’s life. Jason hates Hawk for something he did in the past. Against his daughter’s wishes, he sends some goons to retrieve his grandson and hopefully cut the father out of the picture from then on out.
At a truck stop diner, Lincoln is challenged by a tall roughneck-type named Smasher. Mike is confused by what’s going on: people gather, placing bets, Smasher getting super pumped up, Hawk walking transfixed to his opponent, his arch-rival Bull Hurley watching from the shadows. The two men place their elbows on the table, lock hands, and begin to ARM WRESTLE!
Yes, that’s right. This is a heartfelt story of a trucker father reuniting with his son, winning him over through arm wrestling, while dodging the boy’s grandfather who wants to kidnap him. And yes, I say this with no tongue in my cheek, no snark to my voice: I LOVE this movie! It is honestly my favorite non-franchised Sylvester Stallone movie!
Stallone stars as the estranged father looking to put the past behind him and move on to a bright future with his family. David Mendenhall expertly plays the son torn between his grandfather’s teachings and the kindness he experiences from his biological father. And veteran actor Robert Loggia plays the grandfather who, while taking things too far, is never completely unsympathetic.
Stallone has always been a different kind of action hero. He brings a lot of heart to his characters, a lot of soul. And outside Rocky and Rambo, this maybe the most feelings crammed into an hour and a half long movie he’s made. You’ll laugh, cry, mourn, cheer, and hold your loved ones tightly as you listen to the movie’s theme song by Kenny Loggins, “Meet Me Halfway”.
Texan, y’all! Cinema glutton, horror enthusiast, sci-fi nerd, comic lover, and I like Japanese stuff too (the culture, kaiju, martial arts, samurai, some anime). Love me some Mario, Sonic, and Pokemon.