Maybe it’s a guy thing, maybe it’s my fondness for the Tonka Trucks of old, but I have always loved big trucks. Not the latest Ford or Dodge that anyone can walk into a dealer and buy, but the massive long-haul trucks we see barreling down the highway everyday without a second’s thought. I cannot imagine the training, stress and perseverence that is required to operate one of these monsters on a daily basis, despite having some experience with some military-grade trucks. But the sheer size and power of these beast have lent themselves nicely to the big and small screen over the years and these are just a few of my favorite ones. Enjoy and thanks for reading.
The Green Goblin from Maximum Overdrive
This quirky story of machines not giving a shit about their operators anymore (from Stephen King) show Emilio Estevez and Lisa Simpson struggling to survive this mysterious assault from treacherous mechanical beasts of the road whose maliciousness is personified by a massive semi truck that is characterized with the devilish grin of Marvel Comics own Green Goblin. It has been decades since I have seen this film and the only real reason I remember it is because of the Goblin’s ginning mug mounted to a semi. I think a lot of people remember this film solely because of this and the fact that it was probably a stunt doesn’t matter, you hear the title of this movie and you remember the Goblin.
Rusty Nail from Joy Ride
This high-tension 2001 thriller is a bit of a reach, even for me. While the look and feel of the truck itself is not a factor at all when compared to the person who drives it. While the audience never sees who Rusty Nail actually is, this works in the characters favor as he could be anyone. The story of a truck driver being set up by a couple of random college kids seems, from the outside looking in, like an easily forgettable one. But given actor Ted Levine’s eerie vocal performance as Rusty Nail, the actual truck itself goes on the represent a cage around a wild animal that has since been set free. While this may not be everyone’s favorite movie out there, it goes on to prove the golden rule of don’t start none, won’t be none.
The Dreadnought from Death Race
While this movie looks about as cool as a gray-filtered box of rocks can, somehow, director Paul W.S. Anderson was able to convince the likes of Joan Allen and Ian McShane to star in a remake of one of Sylvester Stallone’s earliest films. While this movie tries looking flashy, the appearance of the Dreadnought, a ridiculiously well-armed oil tanker with a tank turret on it’s backside brings out the best moment in the entire movie…
That little moment of Ian McShane finally losing his composure for a second is hilarious and worth the hour and forty minutes it takes to get through this movie. The Dreadnought is a cool design that ultimately does very little when you realize that a semi truck is not designed with maneuverability in mind. So expecting it to win any kind of race is ultimately stupid and probably is the point of this movie. Don’t watch this movie.
Bonecrusher from Transformers(2007)
At this point, there is very little that can be said about the 2007 Transformers film. While I am not the biggest fan of the films, or even Transformers in general, I have to say that the fight between Bonecrusher and Autobot leader Optimus Prime, is a favorite of mine. While the fight is brief, seeing Optimus completely own an opponent that is as menacing looking as Bonecrusher is incredibly fun and shows you that Optimus is not someone to play around with. Also, the fact that I have operated a variant of the Buffalo Mine Clearing Vehicle that Bonecrusher is based on (I drove an MRAP for a while) probably has something to do with my enjoyment of this character/truck. Bonecrusher’s character, while not overtly expressed in the movie, is on described as an intense hatred of any and all things, something that is always fun to see onscreen.
Honorable Mention: Optimus Prime
You can’t have a list of best trucks in film and not mention the pinnacle of leadership that is Optimus Prime. I think many of us that were and still are Transformers fans (and even those like me that aren’t) remember Prime being the reason we all stuck with Transformers all these years. While he may not be everyone’s favorite, he’s the one we all know, and one whose character has to be done right for your film or TV show to be considered a hit. That being said, the Peterbilt Cab-Over-Engine design is immediately imagined by any fan when discussing Optimus. It’s still a mystery to me why this design was used so sparingly in the last decade of Transformer films, but that doesn’t matter as the design is forever etched in pop culture history when it comes to Prime.
This scary ass thing from Sorcerer
In 1977, director William Friedken’s Sorcerer gave us the scariest looking truck to ever hit the big screen. The movie tells the story of four men (including Roy Scheider!) tasked with delivering explosives to an oil drilling town in peril as they slowly drive the two hundred miles of jungle road that laden with natural traps and disasters. The film shows off a futile and relatable struggle against fate. Fate is uncaring and life bends to it’s will. The demonic characteristics of this truck perfectly show off the monster that is fate and our desperate plight as we ride within it. No matter what, we will all have to deal with fate one day, and it won’t matter what we have done in life, because we all get one shot and then it’s over, fate takes us despite our willingness to keep on living.