After cleaning up his town, the retired Sheriff, Nick Prescott, tries to make a fresh start in Dallas, as key witnesses against a drug kingpin start dying. Now, he is one man against all. Can he protect his family and make it in one piece?
A surprise hit when it premiered, Walking Tall carried the theme of one man standing up for his sense of right and wrong. Selmer, a small town in southwest Tennessee, served as the authentic background for the bio-pic of the heroic southern Sheriff. Joe Don Baker did an admirable job with the role, and the hugely violent film was a surprise hit. Former Sheriff Pusser himself was set to potray himself in the sequel, but he died in a car crash as he as returning from his contract signing in California. The sequel was filmed using Swedish actor Bo Swensen, and a Final Chapter triquel told of Pussers' demise. While the Walking Tall franchise will never be on any list of Classic Film, the original is a great slice of Americana, Circa '70s. It made Bakers' career and perhaps kicked the 'southsploutation' genre of that decade into gear.Written by
Yes Virginia there really was a man named Buford Pusser. He was a south Tennessee sheriff who was shot 8 times, knifed 7 times, survived a ambush, and even jumped onto a speeding car to make a arrest. The film, which was admittedly given the Hollywood treatment, looks at his exploits in a somewhat routine,somewhat gritty style with some surprisingly stirring moments. Though by the end when Johnny Mathis sings a ill advised syrupy song do you realize how emotionally manipulative it all really is.
Shot right in Tennessee and not some reprocessed Hollywood backlot. The excellent location shooting almost becomes a star in itself. However someone should have told the producers that even in the south the grass is not all green and the leaves aren't all on the trees at Christmas time.
Baker plays the lead role very, very well. Not only does he resemble the real Pusser, but shows some real fiery anger that's just lurking beneath the surface.
The action is intense, bloody, and well staged. Good for those who are game for this type of standard actioner.
It is interesting to note that the real Buford Pusser acted as a consultant to the film and then ended up dying in a very mysterious car crash just a year after the films release.
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