Monster Trucks. Man, those were popular in the 80s, weren’t they? Big ol’ trucks with giant wheels, it seems like their entire purpose was to see how many cars they can crush in one jump. In 1987, the cinematic auteur behind Giant Spider Invasion and at least partly responsible for Monster A Go-Go, Bill Rebane, gifted the world Twister’s Revenge! It features Wisconsin, rednecks, and a sentient monster truck named Twister.
Hope you brought your E-Z Pass, because we’re on the turnpike to WACKINESS.
We open with some monster trucks at a state fair, and three rednecks trying to pull off various schemes. They’re Dutch (Jay Gjernes), Kelly (David Alan Smith), and Bear (R. Richardson Luka, who, despite not being a good actor ends up being the most, er, likable of the speaking characters) and they will be our villains today. Kelly has anger issues and Bear gets hit a lot (frequently in the balls) and Dutch sort of gets caught in between the two like Larry, if we’re going for a Stooges comparison.
Our heroes are at the fair as well. Dave (Dean West) is a cowboy mechanic/monster truck driver and his fiancee/new bride Sherry (Meredith Orr) is the computer expert who installed the AI into Twister. This sounds like it would’ve been an awesome 80’s TV show, like “Knight Rider” meets “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Sadly, it doesn’t live up to the promise.
So anyway, the three goons try to steal Twister so they can pawn it, fail, then decide to kidnap the girl and force Dave to give them the truck as blackmail. It takes them several attempts to actually grab her, which involve TWO Scooby-Doo style chase scenes (one on foot and one in cars), the newlyweds deciding to spend their honeymoon in their van (!), and an elderly lady hitting Bear in the junk with her purse after his friends slashed the tires of her van. It’s not nearly as funny as that sentence.
Anyway, our boring, stupid hero goes back to the shop and Twister starts talking to him like a hayseed version of K.I.T.T. Except the audio is so bad you can barely understand the garbled dialogue coming from the truck. And now the “meat” of the story can begin.
One’s an idiot in a cowboy hat. The other’s a condescending monster truck. THEY FIGHT CRIME. Or try to. Dave goes to a bar and the movie nosedives into weirdness. Words can’t really describe it.
What’s with the Bat Guy? That just raises so many questions. Is he a mutant? An alien? A guy in a mask? What’s he doing drinking in a Wisconsin dive bar? Why is his mask so well made, with a working jaw hinge? Is it really a mask?
Anyway, Dave gets beaten up by a biker for going up to him and saying “Excuse me, I need some information.” And then Twister drives over a car. Because that’s really all monster trucks are good for, and rescues Dave.
Bear goes to a slutty woman’s shack to, well, shack up, I guess. She’s girlfriend I guess, and hasn’t had it in a while. Twister & Dave follow. Twister drives over the shack then chases slutty woman through the countryside. For giggles, I suppose. OUR HEROES. (The slutty girl running panicked through the woods becomes a running “gag” at random points of the movie.)
After this the movie wanders from inane “what?” moment to “what?’ moment. Twister and Dave search for Sherry and end up driving over cars and through houses that belong to innocent people, Bear gets hit in the junk, Sherry is tied up in a mine with a ticking time bomb, and the soundtrack limps along halfheartedly while at time riffing on the “Jaws” theme and, for some reason, “Good King Wenceslaus” during an overly long chase/battle scene between Twister and an M60 Patton tank the antagonists call “The Big One.” They drive around, disrupt a small town, destroy some barns (that explode by driving through them), but the movie somehow makes a tank causing havoc in a small town boring and drawn out.
Overly long and painfully not funny. That’s Twister’s Revenge! in a nutshell. And yet… And yet it is incredibly captivating watching the movie steadily sink lower and lower into dull madness. Each new scene leaves you asking the screen “somebody thought this was funny? How??” It leaves you staring in slack-jawed wonder that something like this exists.
Then, when the dust settles of the anticlimactic tank/truck battle, and the lovers are reunited, the movie takes time for one last gag before the credits. It cuts back to the slutty girl, still running through the woods at that cranked up Benny Hill show speed, only now its winter. The implication being that she’s been running in nonstop terror from the monster truck for months now. I don’t know if it was because the movie had finally beaten me down or had somehow managed to deliver an actual, slightly amusing joke, but I chuckled.
That doesn't mean I can recommend it in good conscience, but it is bizarrely watchable.