Movie Review
Walking Tall
Walking Tall poster
By Gareth Von Kallenbach     Published April 2, 2004
US Release: April 2, 2004

Directed by: Kevin Bray
Starring: Dwayne Johnson , Neal McDonough , Johnny Knoxville , John Beasley

Running Time: 85 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $45,977,000
An entertaining film that works thanks in large part to the charisma of The Rock.
Action icon The Rock returns to the big screen in the updated version of ?Walking Tall.? Inspired by the 1970?s trio of films, the story centers around one man?s quest to clean up a small town and restore order and community pride.

The Rock stars as Chris Vaughn, a former Special Forces operative who returns to his Washington mill town to discover that the mill has closed down and that a casino and adult bookstore have become the main source of business in town. The casino is run by Jay Hamilton Jr. (Neal McDonough), a former friend of Chris who upon inheriting his fathers wealth, closed the local mill and opened the casino displacing many workers including Chris?s father.

Chris and his friend Ray (Johnny Knoxville) decide to take Jay?s offer of a paid night in his casino to celebrate his return. But things quickly take a turn for the worse when Chris discovers that loaded dice are being used at a table and decided to stand up for those whom he believes were cheated. After a fierce confrontation with the casino security force, Chris is beaten, mutilated and left for dead in the street.

Following his recovery, Chris learns that the local sheriff will not press charges and begins to learn that Jay and his men run the town. When Chris?s nephew nearly overdoses on drugs, Chris decides to end the problem by taking on those who are responsible. Naturally, Jay and his men are not about to let Chris disrupt their control and crooked business schemes and a high stakes battle for supremacy ensues.

?Walking Tall? is an entertaining film that works thanks in large part to the charisma of The Rock. What might have failed in the hands of others works well here, as there is a sympathetic quality to Chris, and a good mix action and humor that keeps the film moving along. The Rock is also making impressive strides, as he is able to convey his emotions without being over the top.

The supporting work of Knoxville is also good, as is the performance of McDonough, who mixes charisma and menace to provide a nice foil to the antagonists. The Rock continues to impress with his film work, as his third starring role continues his knack for finding the right vehicles for his talents. If he continues to maintain quality film choices with parts that stretch his abilities, he could easily become the biggest name in action films. Both the action and the story of the film are solid, which should delight fans old and new.
Gareth's Grade: B-
Gareth's Overall Grading: 50 graded movies
Share, Bookmark
'Walking Tall' Articles
  • Craig's review B
    April 2, 2004    This may be The Rock's most accomplished effort so far. -- Craig Younkin