Action Movie Fanatix Review: Walking Tall (2004)

Walking Tall banner

One Man Will Stand Up For What’s Right.

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Ashley Scott, Neal McDonough, John Beasley, Kevin Durand

Director: Kevin Bray

2004  |  86 Minutes  |  PG-13

“You’re wrong. This is my town.” – Chris Vaughn

For me, Walking Tall was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s coming out party.  I wasn’t a huge fan of him as a pro-wrestler and I had seen him in The Mummy Returns and The Rundown but neither of those really did it for me.  Walking Tall was the first movie where I really got into The Rock as an action star.

Chris Vaughn (Dwayne Johnson) is a returning to his home town in Washington after eight years in the service.  He is disappointed to find that the local mill and some of the mom & pop shops have closed down and in their place are XXX video stores and a dirty casino have popped up.

Like I said, THIS was the first time I watched The Rock and got really excited.  All of a sudden I couldn’t wait to see what he did next.  Now I love the guy as an action star.  I can’t imagine him any other way and sometimes forget that wrestles/d.  It’s too bad he went through a spell of bad movies but he is certainly rolling along now.

Neal McDonough is always great.  He can bring such a menacing, cocky demeanor to a bad guy like Jay Hamilton.  He starts out being nice to Chris’ face but YOU know you can’t stand him from the get go.

The rest of the cast plays their parts well.  No complaints.  I got pretty sick of the whole Jackass schtick after a while but Johnny Knoxville is perfect for Chris Vaughn’s best friend.  I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that this role got him cast in The Last Stand.

The action in Walking Tall is great.  Nothing huge or over the top but there are some great throw downs and shoot outs.

The best part about Walking Tall is that it knows how to have fun.  It’s a great action movie with relatively serious subject matter but it never goes down that dark road of self loathing.  You can’t watch Walking Tall for more than a few minutes without smiling and laughing.  Tell me you didn’t laugh the first (and every) time you saw the tail light scene.  I dare ya!

I also love the music that plays throughout the movie.  I am normally not a huge fan of radio hits playing throughout an action movie.  It usually dates a movie and often feels cheesy but in this case we have a really nice mix with Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker, Soul Coughing and others that sound just right.

Walking Tall is just a fun movie with some really great action and comedy that keeps me entertained any time I sit down to watch it.  I guarantee I will make sure I always have a copy of it in my DVD/BR collection.

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