Friday, May 25, 2012

Worth Mentioning - Pedal to the Metal

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

Cody enjoys some monster truck mayhem.


An exploitation/B-movie from the '80s about a truck driver who builds a monster truck with a huge drill on the front to use as a killing machine on his quest for revenge against a bunch of scumbags. If that doesn't sound like something you'd like to watch as soon as possible, then... I do not understand.

Working as a trucker, Big Joe Rosso has been able to build himself a nice small town country life. He's got a good marriage with his wife Kathy, two young daughters, and a son, Little Joey, with whom he has just turned his occupation into a family business - Rosso & Son.

This is already hitting close to home with me, and not just because it's set in Ohio. My grandfather was a truck driver, and he wanted his sons to be truck drivers. Two of the three did end up driving truck, including my father, who has spent most of his life on the road. I'll never be a truck driver myself, but due to my family background, I do have a fascination with the lifestyle and enjoy when movies feature truckers. One of my favorite sights to see is a shot of a semi truck in a country setting. I'm always on the lookout for trucks when there's a road in the background of film scenes, and I do some wondering about these drivers whose hauling route just happens to take them past a movie set. Will they ever know that they were in a movie? Will they ever watch it and spot themselves?

The Rossos are independent contractors, and Little Joey's community-minded girlfriend is not happy that their best clients seem to be the family that runs the local roadhouse. She's a member of the Women Against Drunk Drivers group who are demanding that the owner, Tiny Doyle (played by Ned Beatty), take greater care to ensure that people don't drive drunk when they leave his establishment.

Tiny isn't concerned about drunk drivers, but he is concerned about the future of his businesses. Tiny's is a family operation as well, he expects to hand his properties over to his son Vic someday, but the problem is that all five of his sons are out-of-control dimwits.

It's the Doyle boys who bring everything crashing down, when they go out on a drunken joyride of inappropriate behavior, reckless driving, and pelting windshields with beer bottles. Their target on this day: the station wagon carrying Joe Rosso's wife and daughters. The boys terrorize the Rosso girls until they cause them to crash.

This movie does its best to get the viewers rooting for some vigilante vengeance. The Doyle boys are some of most repugnant idiots ever. Mrs. Rosso and the girls are killed in the crash caused by the Doyles and they have no remorse over the deaths. Vic goes to court for the incident and walks away with a suspended sentence and a $300 fine. The Doyles openly celebrate the verdict in front of Joe and Joey and taunt them. And they're not done yet - the Doyles go on to cause another vehicular accident, this one critically injuring Big Joe, they threaten Joey's friend at gunpoint, two of the brothers rape Joey's girlfriend.

His mother and sisters killed, his father near death, his sweet, caring girlfriend brutalized. Of course we're going to cheer for Joey when he decides to turn the monster truck he's been building into an armored instrument of rolling vengeance.

As justice is dealt out, the local authorities are baffled by this sudden jump in "major medical and body bags" and the police Lieutenant who's nearing retirement has some questions: "Who the hell, how the hell, why the hell... and what the hell?"

This is an awesome revenge flick, one that deserves more recognition and a new release. It's only available on VHS, and that was never even available for rent in my town. I had never heard of the movie until catching it on a movie channel in January of 2006. I would love to see Rolling Vengeance get picked up by a company like Synapse and given the special edition DVD/Blu treatment.

1 comment:

  1. I would too! I also thoroughly enjoyed it - and I'm glad to find a kindred spirit! Here's a link to my review: