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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.76%
Worth A Look: 18.92%
Pretty Bad: 13.51%
Total Crap: 17.57%

6 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Walking Tall (2004)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Typically entertaining action flick with an atypically cool action star."
3 stars

I never would have thought it possible a few years ago, but I now consider myself a big fan of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Ignoring his colorless role in 'The Mummy Returns', Johnson has proven himself perfectly charming and altogether likable during his brief tenure as New Action Star. His latest flick is half-enjoyable and half-tiresome, but again... The Rock is solid!

Remake of a well-known 1973 action drama starring Joe Don Baker, Walking Tall is as predictable and formulaic as an action movie can possibly be. That much of the flick still proves entertaining in many ways is a testament to director Kevin Bray's approach to the material - and an approach in the editing booth that seems best described as merciless.

Walking Tall absolutely flies by, mainly because it's such a short film (80-some minutes all told), but also because Bray (All About the Benjamins) and his two editors (George Bowers, From Hell & Robert Ivison, Stander) have cut this thing to its very essence. To some Walking Tall may seem slight or skimpy; others may see it as expedience in the face of formula. The audience clearly knows where the story is heading, so let's just get down to business and get them there.

As in the original version, Walking Tall is about a noble man who returns to his dinky little hometown after years on the road, only to discover that the local mill has gone belly up, the townsfolk have become a lot less amicable, and that a greedy businessman has exploted his birthplace to a nauseating degree.

It's time for The Rock to start dishing out some payback, and he's got a big fat piece of wood to kick ass with.

Odd that it would take four separate screenwriters to reshape a screenplay both 30 years old and fairly simplistic, but there is a breezy good humor to the remake that allows even the most tiresome of conventions to hold your attention. Take the 'goofy sidekick' for example: as played (surprisingly well) by professional nutcase Johnny Knoxville, the sidekick is both endearingly goofy and convincing as a B-level hero figure. Each successive cliche is dutifully checked off the list, but done so crisply and with a minimum of extraneous stupidity.

Johnson does a fine job of playing Nobility Personified, though it's hard to tell if he's effectively underplaying...or if his character is that sketchily-conceived on the page. He easily coasts by on charisma alone, anchoring a fairly rote project through power of simple screen presence. The always-solid Neal McDonough (Minority Report) plays the sneering villain, though much of his character seems to have been destined for the cutting room floor. The actor sinks his teeth into the devilish role, but there's not enough there for an audience to truly SEETHE with hatred.

Mostly backlogged into Act III, the action sequences are pretty much fantastic. As he proved earlier with the not-half-bad All About the Benjamins, Bray has a knack for quick-cut and effectively enthusiastic action scenes. There are a solid handful of those to be found here; they just show up perhaps a little too late in the game.

"Oh, The Rundown was really cool! How's this one?" is something I've been asked a few times already, and my response has been pretty much the same across the board: "The Rock is cool. Movie's not bad. Matinee-wise, it's worth a look. More likely a solid DVD pickup than a night out with the wife." Obviously if you're 15 years old and dying to see The Rock kick some ass, go get in line right now.

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originally posted: 04/02/04 19:47:33
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User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell walking out boring as fuck 1 stars
1/04/16 Charles Tatum So far removed from orig, I can't believe they call this a "remake." 3 stars
10/23/15 david froman average action flick 3 stars
9/17/12 roscoe one of the rock's worst 2 stars
8/05/10 Eveline not good boring 1 stars
7/28/10 action movie fan silly imitation of much better 1974 film-joe don baker was much better 2 stars
9/20/09 Nifty Swift Lizzy Lame Ass 'Rock For Brainz' really is a joke! Put that eyebrow down jerk... 1 stars
8/13/08 Brenda If your friend owns it borrow it good. otherwise meh 3 stars
4/16/07 johnnyfog The Rock looks silly, but I liked the other characters. 3 stars
2/23/07 Caz Amazing action, great acting! 5 stars
11/19/06 R.W.Welch Not quite up to the 70's schlock classic, but OK. 3 stars
11/16/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
10/16/06 james woooooooo 5 stars
8/14/06 Sharon this movie was pretty good! and Quigley johnny knoxville is not an annoying sidekick! bitch 4 stars
4/02/06 JRE where's the point? 3 stars
9/02/05 Tom Burns A very cool movie. The rock is awesome! 5 stars
5/27/05 Quigley completely devoid of anything good. mindless sex, annoying sidekicks, and bull-crap clique 1 stars
4/12/05 scott einig bull-crap at its highest! it can't get lower, folks 1 stars
4/09/05 B Kniprath It is hard to remake a movie from 30 years ago. 4 stars
3/29/05 indrid cold Actually not that bad if you go in with low expectations. 3 stars
1/16/05 keithers.. The Rock was always a better actor then he was a wrestler 3 stars
12/25/04 Freddy lame ending. like that white dude could give the rock so much trouble 2 stars
10/17/04 Dan Good movie, loved the action sequences, especially the shotgun one with knoxville :D 4 stars
10/04/04 Amy Carter best movie I've seen this year!!! 5 stars
4/28/04 Lona Collins the movie was pretty good a little short but thats alright, because I am a huge rock fan! 4 stars
4/27/04 4x4 Wife dragged me to it instead of 50 First Dates. Can't complain to much. 3 stars
4/15/04 rojo The Rock is better than this. 3 stars
4/10/04 Bob Brady entertaining, lot of action good flick 3 stars
4/08/04 lucas good movie not best but worth a look 4 stars
4/08/04 KingNeutron Rock gets better with each film, but Knoxville almost steals the show 3 stars
4/07/04 PiaHawk the rock is so hot, i dont care wat he does. if he just stood there, i would have loved i! 5 stars
4/06/04 Krysta Buttons the movie was definatley a boys movie, to much violence for me thank you. 1 stars
4/05/04 taohgist The Rock is a wrastler, always will be, the story is good, 20 years ago 4 stars
4/04/04 Randy Blah 2 stars
4/03/04 Jiz Good but forgettable. Rundown had better action, but it also had SWS and that monkey scene 3 stars
4/01/04 Ayatolla of Rockinrolla Not as good as Rundown, but Rock and Knox connection were very good 3 stars
3/28/04 Christina saw a free screening last week. not bad. 4 stars
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  02-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Sep-2004



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