Walking Tall


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 "...the story moves briskly.  It's this good pacing that elevates this from a ho-hum average small action film to a nice little movie that's worth checking out, especially if you're a fan of The Rock or Johnny Knoxville."



Walking Tall
The Masked Reviewer

"Inspired by a true story."  Hollywood loves true stories.  And why wouldn't they?  They're true!  It lends an automatic air of credibility and seriousness to an otherwise empty piece of eye candy.  Walking Tall is based on a true story.  It must be important then, right?

Sure, they changed a few minor details to make it more marketable.  For one thing, in real life, the main character was horribly disfigured when his face was bashed in and cut repeatedly by evil thugs.  Well, The Rock (also known as Dwayne Johnson (also also known as Rocky Maivia)) stars as the hero, but the tinsel town executives realized that The Rock has an awfully pretty face and to scar it up would be a waste of perfectly good prettiness.  And (not to give any spoilers), the movie version has a happy ending (depending on your point of view) unlike the tragic ending of the real hero's life (why end on a bummer?).  There's also the fact that in the movie, the character's name was changed to Chris Vaughn...originally it was Buford Pusser.  That makes some sense.

This is not the first version of Walking Tall.  There's also a film trilogy from the 1970's, as well as a TV series from 1981.  So, it's got to be good.

The Rock is fun to watch.  His years of experience as a professional wrestler have turned him into a good action star: his fight scenes have a fluid gracefulness that is compelling.  He's built like a tank, and for the ladies (and for the gentlemen's gentlemen (if you know what I mean)) he manages to have some screen time without his shirt on.  He's also charismatic, playing a goodie-goodie who always does the right thing (more or less).  Actually, he's kind of a "baddie-goodie" (or a "goodie-baddie") but in his heart, The Rock's character is out for justice.

Johnny Knoxville co-stars as The Rock's friend.  Johnny Knoxville is also greatly charismatic on screen and he provides the comic relief in the movie.  His character seems very similar to his persona on "Jackass": funny, irreverent, and a tough S.O.B.  He is convincing, too, which is nice to see in an action movie.

The Masked Reviewer thinks Johnny Knoxville may eventually become discouraged by the name of the TV show that brought him fame.  Especially when, during screenings, he appears on screen and people yell "Who's that?" and the response is an even louder yell of "Jackass!"  At least they didn't call the show "A Sucky Actor"...because he's not.

The bad guy in the film is played by Neal McDonough.  He's more interesting than the typical successful evil dude...he's smarmy and intelligent, but we can see a clear history between his character and The Rock's that makes the movie more interesting than it otherwise might have been.

The big thing to mention about this film is the running time.  It's listed at 87 minutes, but the Masked Reviewer believes that that time must include the half-hour of credits at the end.  Good grief...you'll never see such long credits.  The credits are longer than many movies.  Not only do they scroll by exceedingly slow, but they're in a huge font and there's lots of space between the lines.  Someone doing the credits for this film must have been paid by the minute.

The film itself seems quite short -- which is good!  It flies  by, and, as the young people say, "It's tight."  There aren't any long and boring scenes.  There's a lot of talking (there are only a few fight scenes) but the talking isn't drawn out or pointless, and the story moves briskly.  It's this good pacing that elevates this from a ho-hum average small action film to a nice little movie that's worth checking out, especially if you're a fan of The Rock or Johnny Knoxville.

The fight scenes themselves aren't groundbreaking or particularly memorable, but when The Rock goes hand to hand, it's fun to watch.  Not brilliant, but a better than average small action film.


Expectation from the Title: The long awaited sequel to Howie Mandel's Walk Like A Man.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  The Rock seems like a very nice man to help his town the way he does in this movie.

The Pros: Tight editing, brisk pacing, charismatic performances by The Rock and Johnny Knoxville.

The Cons: Nothing new in terms of action, very standard "form movie"; love story feels tacked on (with no nudity). 


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