"Popcorn Movie Justice"
You know you’re in a little bit of trouble when it takes four writers to update a screenplay to a 30-year-old popcorn movie classic. That’s the upshot of WALKING TALL, a 2004 remake of the 1973 “hicksploitation” flick about southern sheriff Buford Pusser.
The remake moves the action to the Pacific Northwest, where, instead of a bootlegging and prostitution ring, the white criminals destroying the hero’s hometown are running a crooked casino and methamphetamine drug operation. Special Forces soldier Chris Vaughn comes home to find that the local mill has closed down as the town’s biggest employer, replaced by the casino. One of his old high school rivals, Jay Hamilton, the heir of the local rich family, owns the casino based on his dubious claim of American Indian heritage.
Hamilton invites Chris and his old football buddies to the casino, but Chris is upset by the seediness behind the scenes, which seem to include prostitution and illegal drug sales. When he notices that the dice game is rigged, Chris causes a ruckus and Hamilton’s henchmen knock Chris out, carve up his stomach, and leave him for dead by the side of the road.
Chris slowly recovers. Then, his sister’s son almost dies of an overdose from the crystal meth secretly sold by Hamilton’s casino. Even the local police are in on the scam, so Chris goes on a rampage with a huge stick of lumber but is eventually arrested. Chris beats the rap, however, when he promises the jury that he’ll run for sheriff and clean up the town, including its crooked cops. The stage is finally set for a big showdown between Chris and the evil villain, Hamilton.
The violence has been toned down a little bit in this remake of WALKING TALL, but the new movie lacks the power of the original, which was a minor popcorn movie anyway. The Rock, however, holds his own on the screen, so this uneven movie should not really hurt his growing movie career. Johnny Knoxville provides some welcome comic relief as The Rock’s goofy friend.
Fighting corruption, criminality, and injustice is the positive moral theme of the movie, but this theme contains some of the vigilante attitude from the original. The movie also has a strong anti-drug message.
WALKING TALL also contains some foul language and implied sexual content. Also, there are bikini dancers in the casino who dance provocatively before the customers. Therefore, parents should be cautious about sending their older children. WALKING TALL is not appropriate for younger children, of course.
(BB, LL, VV, S, N, AA, DD, M) Solid moral worldview about fighting corruption, criminality, and illegal drugs marred by some violence, foul language, and implied sexual content; 14 obscenities, including one “f” word; strong action violence includes fist fighting with kicking and some martial arts, implied scarring of hero’s chest (scar eventually shown after it heals), hitting people and objects with huge piece of lumber, machine-gun fire, shootouts, and fight with hatchet; implied fornication and bikini dancers dance suggestively; upper male nudity, female cleavage, implied wet T-shirts on females (nothing really shown, however), and women in bikinis and bras; alcohol use and man seems inebriated; smoking, implied drug sales, and teenager offered marijuana but no drug use actually depicted; cheating rebuked, corruption rebuked, criminality rebuked, vigilante justice, and sheriff deliberately smashes villain’s car taillights.
WALKING TALL, inspired by a 30-year-old popcorn movie phenomenon from the 1970s, stars The Rock as Chris Vaughn, a Special Forces soldier who returns to his hometown in the Pacific Northwest, only to find that a new casino run by a cheating drug dealer is destroying everything. Chris promises to run for sheriff and clean up the town, setting the stage for a violent showdown between him and the drug dealer, who happens to be his old football rival from high school years ago.
The filmmakers have toned down the violence a little bit in this remake of WALKING TALL, but the new movie lacks the power of the original, which was a minor popcorn movie in the first place in 1973. The Rock, however, holds his own on the screen, so this movie should not really hurt his growing movie career. Despite its moral theme of fighting criminals and fighting corruption, WALKING TALL contains some foul language, implied sexual content, suggestive dancing in the casino, and a bit of vigilante justice. Parents should be cautious, therefore, about sending their older children. WALKING TALL is not appropriate for younger children, of course.