Walking Tall


Directed by: Kevin Bray
Written by:David Klass, Channing Gibson, David Levien, Brian Koppelman
Starring: The Rock, Neal McDonough, Johnny Knoxville, John Beasley, Kristen Wilson
Released: August 12, 2004
Grade: B

There’s not much too it really – it’s a pure and simple good vs. evil story.  The Rock plays Chris Vaughn, a man who is returning home for the first time in eight years.  He grew up in a small Washington town but left to pursue a career in the U.S. Army.  Now, he’s just looking to find work at the town’s old mill and to catch up with close family and long forgotten friends.

Unfortunately, the “old mill” is now closed and the town’s main source of revenue comes from a newly built casino.  The casino is run by Jay Hamilton Jr (McDonough), a childhood friend of Vaughn who seems to be doing rather well for himself.  Vaughn soon understands why when he sees a croupier rigging a craps game and a subsequent fight breaks out between him and the numerous security guards.

On going to the sheriff to press charges against the guards, Vaughn finds the police very uncooperative.  You see, it’s Jay who is running the town and he will continue to do so thanks to his generous donations / kick-backs to the local authorities.  After Chris’s young nephew overdoses on illegal drugs received from the security guards, Vaughn decides to take matters into his own hands.  He becomes the town’s police chief, appoints best friend Ray Templeton (Knoxville) as his deputy, and begins a campaign to bring down Hamilton’s casino and drug empire.

At less than an hour and a half, it’s an ideal length for a movie of this genre.  It’s just fun action and things are trivialised with useless subplots or long winded scenes.  There’s plenty of fighting, an endless stream of bullets, and an ending sure to leave a satisfied look on your face.  The Rock isn’t the most accomplished actor in the world and he isn’t going to win any Oscars (I hope) but here’s a role he is suited to.  If you’re a fan of him, expect to enjoy Walking Tall.