• Rolling Vengeance

    Released by: Kino Lorber Studio Classics
    Released on: October 17th, 2017.
    Director: Steven Hilliard Stern
    Cast: Don Michael Paul, Lawrence Dane, Ned Beatty, Lisa Howard, Michael J. Reynolds
    Year: 1987
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    The Movie:

    1987’s Rolling Vengeance is an eighties movie that feels like a seventies movie that’s set in Ohio but which was actually shot in Canada. Got it? Good. Now to the plot synopsis.

    A half-dozen drunken assholes with goofy nicknames - Vic (Todd Duckworth – I guess Vic isn’t that great a nickname, really), Moon Man (Michael Dyson), Hairlip (Hugo Dann), Finger (Lawrence King-Phillips) and Four Eyes (A.C. Peterson) - kills the family of a young trucker named Joey Russo (Don Michael Paul) and manage to get away with it too. The trucker’s dad/boss, Big Joe's (Lawrence Dane), speaks up and winds up being put into a coma for his efforts. This pisses said trucker off, and understandably so, and when the law can’t deliver the sweet revenge he craves, he takes it upon himself to even the score. How does he do this? He uses his awesome mechanical skills to build a giant monster truck that can not only drive over pretty much everything in its path but that can also shoot fire and destroy things with a massive mounted drill!

    So, with his new vehicle of vengeance ready to roll, Joey is ready to start paying back in kind – but it can’t be that easy. See, the six drunken assholes are actually the sons of one Tiny Doyle (Ned Beatty), a powerful local business man. As Joey starts crushing cars and driving into buildings, the Doyle clan decides to wage war not just against Joey, but his lovely girlfriend Misty (Lisa Howard) too.

    If you love Ned Beatty like some of us love Ned Beatty (especially when he’s decked out with a sweet pompadour!) and you love giant armored monster trucks like some of us love giant armored monster trucks, then this movie is for you. The story isn’t anything you haven’t seen before – take any ‘man loses his family and gets revenge against the well connected bad guys’ story you’d like and you’re on the right track, but Ned Beatty and that awesome truck make this one well worth your while if you’re in the right frame of mind for it. The film isn’t deep, but it’s efficient, handily earning its R-rating with some solid kills scenes and strong violence.

    The cast? Well Beatty is great here, chewing through the scenery in his own inimitable way and really just going for it. This makes him a lot of fun to watch, he plays the goofy bad guy role well, spitting out his dialogue with plenty of appreciable vitriol and really making the part his own. Everyone else sort of pales in comparison to him, but Don Michael Paul is decent enough as the male lead and lovely Lisa Howard, who some might recognize as Dr. Anne Lindsey from the Highlander TV series, is also decent enough here, if not super memorable. The six supporting players that are cast as Beatty’s spawn are also a kick to watch.

    Director Steven Hilliard Stern spent most of his career working in television but in addition to Rolling Vengeance he was also behind The Devil And Max Devlin, which is kind of odd. The movie was written by Michael Thomas Montgomery, who just a year prior was behind the script for the similarly themed revenge film Eye Of The Tiger (one of Gary Busey’s finest moments) and the Cynthia Rothrock/Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson team-up that was 1997’s Night Vision.


    Rolling Vengeance arrives on Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. There's some miniscule print damage here and there, the odd white speck and what not, but for the most part the image is nice and clean. Detail can look softer than you might want in some spots – this could be an older master – but some scenes do seem to have been intentionally shot and lit in such a way as to result in some softness inherent in the image. The fact that the movie uses a fairly flat color scheme doesn’t do it any favor. That said, there’s no evidence of noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts. This transfer won’t blow you away, but it’s watchable and better than we’d get from DVD.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track sounds just fine. Dialogue and music is a tad flat in spots but otherwise it is clean, clear and easy to follow and whenever the monster truck is being used things perk up with plenty of crunch and power behind it. The levels are properly balanced and there are no audible problems with any hiss or distortion worth noting.

    Extras on this release start off with an audio commentary by Paul Corupe of Canuxploitation.com and film historian Jason Pichonsky. These two do a fine job of detailing the production history of the picture, how the American producers wound up shooting the film in the Great White North, the different supporting players that populate the film (Canadian and otherwise), details of the cast and crew’s history (including some interesting stories about writer (Michael Thomas Montgomery) and quite a bit more. The track is paced well and quite interesting.

    The disc also includes a new ten-minute interview with actor Lawrence Dane in which she speaks about landing the part, his interactions with the different cast and crew members he worked alongside, and his thoughts on the picture overall.

    Kino additionally provides a trailer for the feature, a selection of bonus trailers (Stone Cold Dead, Cop, Steele Justice, An Eye For An Eye, Original Gangstas and Avenging Force), menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Rolling Vengeance is, as far as its plot is concerned, a completely predictable and cliché-ridden revenge picture… BUT it’s got a fucking awesome monster truck in it, so it doesn’t matter. Yeah fine, you know where this is going as soon as it gets started but that doesn’t make it any less fun to watch. It’s goofy, yep, but it’s also really entertaining. Kino’s Blu-ray presentation won’t floor you, but it offers up a decent enough way to enjoy the film with some alright extras thrown in to sweeten the deal.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Matt H.'s Avatar
      Matt H. -
      This one has more laughs than most comedies. So, so good.
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      The sheriff's business card. Is that bone with Silian Rail type?

      Nice review.
    1. JLG's Avatar
      JLG -
      this movie was a bit of a chore for me. the only good bit i remember was when Ned Beatty asked for more potatoes(?). thought that part was pretty funny.

      i should give the commentary a shot
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -
      Paul Corupe is an imbicile who doesn’t seem to pay attention to the movies he reviews for his site.