When you think of monster trucks, you probably normally think of jacked-up pickup trucks with ridiculously large wheels that are able to handle pretty much anything. People were probably wondering when this movie was first announced what they were going to do with it; it would probably be dumb, right? Just a movie about monster trucks? Well, as they found out when the trailers showed up, they should've looked at the word "monster" and taken it more literally. (And then some people decided that was even worse.)
Yes, this film does include "monsters" of a sort. But not really. They're just creatures from a whole different ecosystem that an evil oil drilling company stumbled upon in the midst of their drilling. And they're in the way. And being the typical evil movie oil company that they are, of course they don't care. One of these creatures escapes and a high school kid finds it... and then it gets in his truck. As in, it goes under it and actually becomes/controls the truck. If that makes any sense. So yeah, this movie really is about "monster trucks!" Get it? Because they're trucks and they have monsters in them? It's funny, right...?
Well, at least we can give them credit for a creative idea. It's a bit of a goofy and silly one, for sure. In fact, this almost feels at times like a movie that was made in the wrong era. It might've done better in the 70's or 80's and then *maybe* been a cult classic. Because the general premise isn't unlike E.T. And the goofiness of the whole thing does kind of feel like something that maybe would've been more accepted then.
For a movie that has kind of an interesting (albeit silly) one, it hits a lot of the wrong notes. It tries to be a fun popcorn movie geared towards kids, but it's not really even good at that. The characters are quite uninteresting and have very little development. In fact, we kind of come to appreciate the monsters themselves more than the humans. And a few scenes just feel ridiculous; probably the worst offender is the one where the kid and his monster truck race alongside his love interest on her horse with a country pop (I think?) song in the background. It's just terrible.
Among other issues are some rather illogical moments where you have to suspend your disbelief more than you probably expected from a movie about monsters (mostly regarding how civilians/mercenaries are blind as heck to the monsters in view), and the acting. There's not that much good in there. Lucas Till is actually kind of annoying in his role; and everyone else is just kind of there. Rob Lowe and Danny Glover are in this movie, but they're not given a whole lot to do.
But there's got to be some action involved, right? Well, there is. Most of it just isn't that good. There's a car chase about halfway through, and not much of note happens--except a "driving on rooftop" bit that could've been awesome... but somehow looks dumb instead. They save all the actually cool stunts involving the "monster" trucks for the bonkers and admittedly fun final act, which involves a truck chase on a mountainside with a lot of fender-bending. This climax was actually fun, and it makes me wonder why the rest of the movie couldn't have been like that--especially considering they had a pretty good budget.
It's not a total disaster, ultimately. There's a few decent moments here and there, and it's not really unwatchable (even if there are a couple awful moments). It could've definitely come out worse, but it also could've come out a little better too. This isn't a movie meant to be taken seriously, obviously, but even when you're not doing that, it just isn't fulfilling even in a "stupid fun" way at the end of the day.