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Walking Tall

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Walking Tall

Starring: The Rock, Johnny Knoxville
Director: Kevnin Bray
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 87 Minutes
Release Date: April 2004
Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Neal McDonough, John Beasley, Barbara Tarbuck, Kristen Wilson, Khleo Thomas, Ashley Scott, Michael Bowen, Aaron Douglas, Mark Houghton, Ryan Robbins

Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

n this vigilante tale, wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is Chris Vaughn, a solitary, self-righteous U.S. Special Forces soldier who returns home to Kipsat County in Washington State to carve out a new life for himself, only to discover his wealthy high-school rival, Jay Hamilton (Neal McDonough), has closed the once-prosperous lumber mill and focused his attention on a sleazy casino which fronts for a lucrative drug-dealing operation.

Not only has his old high-school girl-friend Deni (Ashley Scott) become a stripper amid the slot machines but the locals have been forced out of business by chain stores and their kids - like Chris's nephew Pete (Khleo Thomas) - are into drugs obtained from the casino's security force. Infuriated by the obvious corruption, Vaughn runs for sheriff, deputizes his recovering-addict buddy (Johnny "Jackass" Knoxville) and sets off to settle some scores.

The original "Walking Tall" (1973) featured Joe Don Baker as the rural Tennessee lawman Buford Pusser - and it's not really accurate to call this current, truncated version a re-make. The buff Rock is certainly bigger, if not better, wielding a cedar four-by-four as his big-stick weapon-of-choice. But it's obvious that cost-control was the key production factor that influenced director Kevin Bray, because the overall impression is cheap, cheap, cheap - filming at minimal cost in Vancouver and casting lesser-known, less-expensive talent. The Rock has a recognizable name but no one else in the cast does. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Walking Tall" is a brutal, fracas-filled 4. And I question the PG-13 awarded by the MPAA; this should be an R-rated film since its explosive violence is quite unsuitable for youngsters.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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