February 6, 2017
A monster truck is a pickup truck modified with a custom-built chassis and larger suspension and larger tires. They are used in competitions where drivers race and/or perform stunts like aerial jumps, wheelies and even flips. This film builds on the excitement of these trucks by adding the element of a real "monster" to power them.
Because of a faulty decision made while drilling for oil, a rig explodes and three subterranean grease-guzzling creatures were released to the surface. Meanwhile, high school senior Tripp Coley encounters one of them in his garage where he was constructing his own monster truck. When his new slimy tentacled friend Creech gets himself into his truck to control it, they both get their fill of their need for exhilarating speed and thrills.
In the lead role of Tripp is Lucas Till, best known in his recurrent role as Alex Summers (or Havok) in the X-Men reboot films since 2011. Playing Tripp's nerdy (but pretty) peer tutor Meredith is Jane Levy, whom we knew before from horror flicks like the remake of "Evil Dead" (2013) and the acclaimed "Don't Breathe" (2016). They are both obviously much older than the high school seniors they were supposed to play, not easy to overlook. To their credit, they do inject the film with youthful energy.
There are some veteran actors to beef up the cast, albeit in one-dimensional roles. Rob Lowe plays Mr. Reece Tenneson, greedy oil magnate, overall bad guy. Danny Glover plays Mr. Weathers, Tripp's paraplegic boss at the junk yard, overall good guy. Character actor Barry Pepper plays Rick, the local sheriff who happened to be the new boyfriend of Tripp's mom, mainly comic relief, but also had a piece of the action.
Overall, this film is the fun family film you'd expect from the title, poster and trailer. When I saw Nickelodeon Films in the first frame of the opening credits, I immediately lowered my expectations for this kids film, not that I expected too much in the first place. Creech was one cute adorable critter. Those high-adrenaline (sometimes violent) monster-truck stunts were the main meat of the film, and these exciting scenes were really thrilling for all boys, small and big alike. 6/10.