Saturday, April 23, 2016

Movie Review: "Walking Tall" (2004)

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Movie"Walking Tall"
Director: Kevin Bray
Year: 2004
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Chris Vaughn (Dwayne Johnson) comes back to his hometown after finishing a tour of duty with the Marines. He quickly finds the town he used to love has been overtaken by crime and corruption. He decides to take it upon himself to clean up the city by running for sheriff so he can potentially replace the corrupt cops protecting the criminals in charge.

Kevin Bray's "Walking Tall" claims to be inspired by a "true story," which in this case is used in the loosest sense of the phrase. In reality, this is a modernized and fictionalized remake of a 1973 film of the same name, which was based on the life of Sheriff Buford Pusser. So, this not-so-true story is about a former Marine named Chris Vaughn, played by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, who returns to his hometown to discover it being overrun with crime and corruption. Chris decides he's seen enough and wants to attempt to clean up the town he knows and loves by getting elected as the sheriff of Kitsap County. When he eventually gets into the job, he slowly but surely starts beating the piss out of every single criminal element with a literal giant stick. Joining 'The Rock' is Johnny Knoxville who plays Chris's best friend and former junkie Ray Templeton. Ray helps Chris clean up the town as his deputy, and Knoxville also provides a comedic break from all the ass kicking in the film. Johnson and Knoxville actually have surprisingly good chemistry, playing off of one another like they really were long time pals from a small town.

Though Dwayne Johnson can and will certainly make you smile with his occasional witty one liner and flashy, sometimes brooding smile, "Walking Tall" is the definition of a basic, short, simple action film. There aren't a lot of complex characters and ideas coming out of this material. It isn't exploring any interesting themes, it's basically just a dumbed down version of good cop versus bad cop where the lines are as black and white as they come. It doesn't matter what Chris does to the criminals in his town because, well, they are criminals. This isn't going to serve as a guide for criminal law or constitutional civil rights and proper due process. No no, this is strictly a "a good guy smashes his way through baddies until there are no baddies left" type of cop film. That being said, even with such a silly plot, "Walking Tall" is moderately entertaining, even if it's not all that memorable. Dwayne Johnson was just starting out his career here and really transitioned from wrestling for the WWE to wrestling guys on screen, but with guns and sticks as weapons in addition to his other guns. Johnny Knoxville provides some decent humor, and at the end of the day, this is a rather harmless action crime offering.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 26%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
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One year ago, we were watching: "Iron Man 2"

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