Walking Tall

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: The Rock, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough, Kristen Wilson

Director: Kevin Bray

Not a lot of people outside the US will know this but WALKING TALL is a remake of a 1973 movie that stared Joe Don Baker as the real life Tennessee Sheriff Buford Pusser. The original movie spawned two sequels and starred Bo Svenson. This time round Buford Pusser has been wisely renamed Chris Vaughn but the principle message from the storyline is still in place.

Chris Vaughn (The Rock), a decorated US Armed Forces soldier has returned to his hometown of Ferguson, Washington. He heads straight to the lumber mill to apply for a job but finds that it has closed down. This was once the main industry financially supporting Ferguson and it now explains certain things that Vaughn saw on his way through the town. A casino has now taken over people’s lives there and has brought with it crime and corruption.

Vaughn learns that the casino, Wild Cherry, is owned by one of his old school buddies, Jay Hamilton (Neal McDonough). Chris meets up with some of his old friends, including best friend Ray Templeton (Johnny Knoxville). They all decide to go to the Wild Cherry to celebrate Chris’ return but trouble breaks out when Chris finds that he is being cheated out of his money. The security guards leave Chris for dead but he is not going to leave the situation alone. Chris finds himself being brought up in front of court for criminal damages and comes up with an ultimatum to the jury – find him guilty or set him free to run for Sheriff and end crime in Ferguson.

Anyone doubting The Rock’s acting ability will be pleasantly surprised. Not only can he play the tough guy, he can also be sensitive when he has to be. It is easy to see why The Rock has a huge fan base around the world; his charisma just comes shining through. The other plus is the casting of Neal McDonough as the villain of the piece. Anyone who caught the short-lived but excellent BOOMTOWN TV show will be familiar with McDonough whose need for greed is what drives him. The movie at times plays like a TV movie, due mainly to its running time being less than 90 minutes and the simplicity of the story. This is an enjoyable movie that does not rely on CGI type action sequences and proves that The Rock is the next action hero for the 21 st century.

4 out of 6 stars

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