Joey Rosso (Don Michael Paul) and his father Big Joe (Lawrence Dane) own an independent trucking operation that is occasionally contracted by sleazy bar owner Tiny Doyle (Ned Beatty). This business relationship hits a snag when Tiny’s drunken sons are accused of causing the traffic accident that takes the lives of Joey’s mother and two younger sisters. Having no real proof that the accident was anything more than just that, the judge is forced to let them all go with a small fine. This begins a bit of tit-for-tat as Joey and his father try to get some justice for their lost loved ones. But the level of violence escalates to the point that Joey finds his father in the hospital and his girlfriend raped. This pushes him over the edge, and we witness Joey – during a musical montage no less – using spare parts from a junkyard to build the 8-ton monstrosity he will use to right some wrongs.

It all sounds pretty silly, right? Well, it is – in all the right ways. This Canadian-produced piece of ’80s exploitation really should be watched by fans of the B-movie or films in the revenge genre. For everyone else, be forewarned as you may spend more a lot of time catching glimpses of your ceiling as a result from the number of eyerolls you conduct. But to give you a little bit of comparisons, this film would be like plucking Charles Bronson from Death Wish and plopping him into a much lower-budget Road House. But Bronson’s weapon would not be a gun, it would be a 15-foot high monster truck that shoots flames and is outfitted with an extremely phallic drill protruding from the front bumper.

The film was created and cast primarily with television veterans, and Steven Stern doesn’t bring anything new or exciting in the way of directing any more than Michael  Montgomery brings anything to the table in way of a story. It’s an overly simple revenge film, and aside from some drunk driving preaching that permeates the film, the pins are merely set up for Joey to knock over. Or rather, run over. But really, all you need to do is line up some structures (or people) for a monster truck to crush, then point a camera at it. It’ll be cool. And with that, Rolling Vengeance does not disappoint. Cars are crushed, rednecks run over (some in slow motion), and buildings toppled.

It’s just hard not to get on board with this film if you are a fan of this kind of stuff. Aside from the carnage, you also got bad acting – a real plus being Ned Beatty chewing scenery while doing a hilarious impression of Boss Hog dressed like The Fonz – and a soundtrack of some hilariously bad songs that range from the opening title sequence that sounds like music from Saved By The Bell to the craptacular track used in the musical montage I mentioned earlier titled Coming Up On You This Time. Go ahead, click it. Love it.

The film does have a very apparent anti-drunk-driving slant, even anti-alcohol in general, with the evils of alcohol consumption getting laid on pretty thick. This is evident in the first moments of the film when a group of women are protesting outside Tiny’s bar, and then later when the judge explains to a crowd of onlookers in the courthouse, disappointed by the light sentencing he had to give to Tiny’s boys in relation to the accident they were responsible for, that he just enforces the laws – he doesn’t make them. Anyone who consumes alcohol in the film are represented as a group of hell-raising, moronic, rednecks, not unlike the pair Ned Beatty shared some intimate screen time with in Deliverance. Even the local police decide not to intervene even when they figure out what is going on, in hopes of the vigilante driver taking care of what the court system would not. But not a lot of time is wasted on this; it’s more a theme that lightly runs through the film and provides some unintentionally comedic moments with Tiny and his sons.

Adding to the enjoyment is the fact that even with the ridiculous premise, the film takes itself seriously. No tongues-in-cheek, or winks to the viewer are present. Unfortunately, this is one of those titles that still has not gotten a DVD release. Hopefully Sony, who now owns the rights, will resolve this injustice and unleash their Vengeance on the world. But until then, either break out the VHS or the bootleg DVD, get some of your buddies over with some beer, and take Rolling Vengeance out for a spin. It is 90 minutes of pure, Canuxploitation goodness.

[rating:3/5]

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