"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?
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
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
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
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
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).