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Total Crap: 17.57%

6 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Walking Tall (2004)
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by Erik Childress

"Coming Soon - The Rock IS...Mitchell!"
3 stars

Some films you can forgive for being unbelievably sloppy. Walking Tall is almost one of those films. It’s the kind of film that earns points just for not falling into the hands of Vin Diesel. In his hands the material would have seemed artificial with just another giant lunkhead dispensing his own brand of justice to a series of baddies. With The Rock filling those shoes, the 80 minutes of the film (sans credits) seem to fly by. So fast, in fact, that you almost forgot you actually watched something.

People do seem to remember the original Walking Tall quite fondly, if the audience I saw it with was any indication. Was it because of the retribution that Sheriff Buford Pusser reigned down upon the evil in his hometown? Perhaps his wooden club is the great weapon of choice that has rarely been duplicated in films since. Or does the public really just have a secret love of all things Joe Don Baker? Whatever the reason is, it seems like a perfect vehicle for our favorite ex-wrestler.

Before we even get to see him, we’re told that the film is “based on a true story” just as the original was. Only not about a guy named Chris Vaughn, who is a former college football player (as The Rock was) and a former soldier (as The Rock probably is in the eyes of WWE fans.) He returns home in one of those Rambo walking montages that have us wondering exactly how far he’s walked without asking for a ride.

Home isn’t exactly what it used to be as the great scourge of drugs, gambling and adult entertainment has become the highest sort of income now that the old mill has closed. David Mamet this certainly isn’t though and soon Chris causes a rumble at the casino owned by old friend, Jay (Neil McDonough), who never seems to know (or care) when there is gunplay and furniture destruction downstairs.

When all attempts at rationale fail, Chris decides to run against the sheriff (Michael Bowen) who has taken a hands-off approach to law. In a span of about 45 seconds Chris has announced his candidacy, been acquitted of an obvious court conviction, elected and fired the entire sheriff’s office. His only deputy hire is close friend, Ray, played by Johnny Knoxville who gets to do all kinds of Jackass things like rip apart jeeps and stab guys with potato peelers.

It’s clear that Walking Tall likely had a “rated R” sensibility that had to be severely cut down in order to earn that “PG-13” and easier ticket sales. That’s a shame because it has the simplistic 70s exploitation feel of “these are your good guys and these are your bad guys.” Senseless violence is supposed to come with the territory. We reach a high point as Chris unabashedly trashes the casino and we’re never quite given that sense of justice again which is what an audience is SUPPOSED to be getting out of it. Moral ambiguity goes out the window once you fuel our need for the villain to get a club to the nuts.

Director Kevin Bray (All About the Benjamins) probably can’t take the brunt of that blame, although his action sequences leave something for our adrenaline to be desired. Too many close-ups, Kevin. After what Peter Berg did with last fall’s seriously entertaining Rock showcase, The Rundown, having characters fall down further than Gandalf and the Balrog doesn’t quite satisfy and only heightens the silliness factor.

The Rock sells most of Walking Tall based alone on his easygoing likability. In the era of two-hour-plus features, there’s something to be said for a movie that seems to know you have things to do. It moves SO quickly though you’ll wonder if they skipped a reel or you fell asleep at some point. But the wooden club is there along with a handful of damage and even a few pretty girls like Ashley Scott running around in their underwear. Sloppy as it is, if you remember you saw it you may just enjoy Walking Tall. Maybe.

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originally posted: 04/02/04 16:37:44
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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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