Rated: PG for action, peril, brief scary images, and some rude humor. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: January 13, 2017 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation
Lucas Till (Havoc of X-Men: Apocalypse) headlines this ill-fated, incongruous mash-up of live-action and CGI directed by Chris Wedge, originator of the Ice Age franchise who has voiced the mischievous Scrat often on the cusp of an acorn.
Monster Trucks has a kid-centric feel to it as some of the targeted demographic may see a little of Cars and Transformers in it, but has limited entertainment value to it in its quipping way. Though it's poised to grab some coin over the crowded MLK holiday weekend at the multiplexes.
Till's teen Tripp (though the actor is roughly the same age as Jennifer Lawrence of Passengers) comes up with spare parts to get the truck he needs to leave his upper Midwest enclave with hardscrabble mom (Amy Ryan, seen briefly) left by a deadbeat hubby for a local sheriff (a brusque Barry Pepper).
But the antagonist turns out to be a fulsome oil mogul (Rob Lowe) who get his drillers going in the junkyard where Tripp toils for his wheelchair-bound boss (Danny Glover). In doing so the eponymous triad of creatures are unearthed with Tripp befriending his Creech who'll act as an engine for his strappingly cool ride. But, the tycoon with his underlings like Dr. Dowd (a drolly welcome Thomas Lennon) have other ideas to make good on his claim.
A delayed "Monster Trucks" (it's been in the can for a couple of years) has been predetermined a major loss by its studio but still somehow merits a theatrical release even if the premise just isn't 21st-Century friendly. Jane Levy of the scary Don't Breathe and the lesser Evil Dead (2013) is a comely science, tutoring nerd Meredith begrudgingly into Tripp's unique milieu with their screen presence together not really as satisfying as it may appear.
Whether a couple of effects involving Creech as mayhem and chases ensue have a little originality like when contact is made with water, the lameness of this endeavor apparently is believable since it was thought up by a four-year-old who may have cost his dad his job. Even with an equivocal ecological notion running counter to the gas guzzlers on view which could be a new way to market those rugged Dodge RAMs.