Rolling Vengeance is a 1987 revenge film featuring a monster truck as the tool of retribution. Yes, you read that right.
Directed by Steven Hilliard Stern and starring Don Michael Paul and Ned Beatty, the movie follows young truck driver Joey Russo whose home town is constantly tormented by local bigwig Tiny Doyle and his drunken sons. When Russo's family complains about their actions, Doyle's sons drunkenly run Joey's mom and younger brother and sister off the road, killing them. Joey and his father confront them over this and the Doyle boys get revenge by raping Joey's girlfriend and killing his father. Angry at the ineffectual law that lets them go free, Joey swears revenge and gets to work in the family garage, building a hellacious-looking monster truck to hunt down those responsible.
This is a strange piece of Canucksploitation from the only decade in which a monster truck could be a major plot device, the 1980s. Like many exploitation films of the era, was made taking advantage of a loophole in a Canadian tax shelter law, lest you think the filmmakers had any delusion they were making art. If you want proof that some movies are made for no reason than to cash in on a fad, look no further. Cheesy and predictable, it still features some well-directed action scenes with the monster truck.
- A-Team Montage: Joey building his armored monster truck.
- B-Movie: When you make a low-budget movie where a truck driver uses a monster truck to hunt down evil rednecks, it's obvious you're not going for Oscar Bait.
- Big Bad: Tiny Doyle who runs the town.
- Car Meets House: Joey demolishes the Doyles' bar in the film's climax with his monster truck, and earlier on he kills one of the younger Doyles by running over a flimsy pre-fab office that he tried to hide in.
- Cool Car: Other revenge film protagonists would have just picked up a gun and gone on a rampage. But not our Joey, who makes all by himself a bulletproof monster truck.
- Dad the Veteran: Tiny is a Vietnam War vet, which probably helps flavor his general nihilism.
- Death by Irony: A tragic example for Kathy Russo and her children, who is killed by the very drunken behavior she is fighting against.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The giant drill at the front of Joey's truck looks pretty damn phallic. Considering most of the people he targets are rapists (among other crimes) this can't be a coincidence.
- Drunk Driver: What started the whole mess in the first place. Joey's mother is an anti-drunk driving activist and was protesting Tiny's bar due to the large number of drunk driving incidents in town that originate from the bar. Tiny's worthless sons are frequently smashed while driving and cause the accident that costs Mrs. Russo and two of her children their lives.
- Event Title: Joey gets vengeance, all right, and his monster truck is a nice instrument of destruction.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: A rare example involving the hero. During the finale, one of the Doyle boys jumps in Joey's monster truck and uses it against him and his girlfriend. Still subverted since Joey defeats him anyway.
- Improbable Weapon User: Joey's use of a monster truck as a tool of vengeance.
- It's Personal: Yeah, I'd say so!
- Laser-Guided Karma: It certainly doesn't take much for Joey to get his revenge on the Doyle family, and considering their actions include raping his girlfriend, killing his mother and sisters, putting his dad into a coma and cheating the law time and time again, it's definitely deserved.
- Mook Horror Show: Joey's Roaring Rampage of Revenge tends to play out this way. We hardly get any shots of him inside the truck, while his victims flee desperately in terror from him. The truck itself is demonic-looking, complete with flames spewing out its exhaust pipes and a giant drill on the front. This could just have easily been a horror movie if the monster truck was driven by a villain instead.
- One-Steve Limit: Averted in the case of Tiny's five sons; while the end credits give all but Vic nicknames, the dialogue reveals two of the younger Doyles are named David.
- Papa Wolf: Big Joe Russo unfortunately doesn't gets a big revenge (because the Doyles put him in a coma the day after, and he eventually dies), but he gets a nice enraged speech on the courthouse when the Doyles are let go and he has a Bar Brawl with them that very same night.
- Phallic Weapon: The drill on the front of the monster truck. Curiously, it extends from inside a chamber...
- Police Are Useless: Joey's family tries to fight the Doyles legally at first, all to no avail as the Doyles manage to get away with vehicular manslaughter, rape and murder. The local sheriff is sympathetic to the the Russos, he just can't prove anything.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Joey defeats all the Doyles, but at what cost?
- Rape as Drama: In case you didn't hate the Doyles enough, they also have their way with Joey's girlfriend.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: One of the strangest ones ever committed to film.
- Vehicular Assault: Joey's main form of attack. Scumbags are crushed or run off the road with his monster truck.
- Vigilante Man: Vigilante with a monster truck!
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tiny's sons crave this from their pa. Not happening.
- Wretched Hive: Tiny's bar, a blight on the town.