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Walking Tall (2004)

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A former U.S. soldier returns to his hometown to find it overrun by crime and corruption, which prompts him to clean house.

Director:

Kevin Bray

Writers:

Mort Briskin (earlier screenplay), David Klass (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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2,991 ( 918)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Bowen ... Sheriff Stan Watkins
Johnny Knoxville ... Ray Templeton
Dwayne Johnson ... Chris Vaughn (as The Rock)
Neal McDonough ... Jay Hamilton
Ashley Scott ... Deni
John Beasley ... Chris Vaughn Sr.
Barbara Tarbuck ... Connie Vaughn
Kristen Wilson ... Michelle Vaughn
Khleo Thomas ... Pete Vaughn
Kevin Durand ... Booth
Andrew Tarbet ... Jimmy
Patrick Gallagher ... Keith
John Stewart ... Rusty
Eric Breker ... Deputy Ralston
Ryan Robbins ... Travis
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Storyline

After eight years serving the U.S. Army Special Forces, Sergeant Chris Vaughn returns to his hometown seeking for a job in the local mill. He is informed by Sheriff Stan Watkins that the mill was closed three years ago and now the Wild Cherry Casino, owned by his former high school friend Jay Hamilton, is the major source of jobs and income to the town. Chris goes home, and meets his best-friend Ray Templeton, who organized a football game with their friends. After the game, Jay invites Chris and his friends to spend the night in his casino on him, but when Chris finds that the casino crabs dealer is cheating with loaded dice, he fights against the security men and is almost killed by them. When his nephew Pete overdosed on crystal meth sold by the security men at the casino, Chris realizes that the town is dominated by the mobsters and the corrupt sheriff and with a huge piece of wood, he breaks the casino and the criminals. He is prosecuted and in the trial, he promises to the jury ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One man will stand up for what's right. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence, sexual content, drug material and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Con la frente en alto See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$56,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,501,114, 4 April 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$45,860,039, 30 May 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

DVD includes deleted scenes and an alternate ending. See more »

Goofs

Chris scares a thug in the casino and the guy turns around and knocks himself out by running into a object. But he obviously misses it by quite a way. See more »

Quotes

Chris Vaughn: Your tent's gonna take on water. I could show you how to rig it.
Pete Vaughn: It doesn't look like it's gonna rain to me, colonel.
Michelle Vaughn: PETE. Come on, sit down. Have something to eat.
Chris Vaughn: First of all, I was a sergeant. I worked for a living.
Pete Vaughn: Oh, a grunt.
Pete Vaughn: Did you ever smoke anybody?
Michelle VaughnChris Vaughn Sr.Connie Vaughn: Pete!
Chris Vaughn Sr.: Boy!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits begin with a dedication to Buford Pusser, who the story is based on. See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD includes deleted scenes and an alternate ending. See more »

Connections

Featured in Fight the Good Fight (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

The Ant & The Ardvaark
Performed by Doug Goodwin (as Charles Douglas Goodwin)
Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Music, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Walking Tall - The Cliff Notes Version
5 April 2004 | by clydestuffSee all my reviews

After having found Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's last film, The Rundown, a very enjoyable action outing, I was hoping for big things from The Rock. When I discovered his next film was this remake of the 1973 version of Walking Tall I was hoping for great things. The week before the premiere my enthusiasm was tempered by three huge things the film had working against it.

The first disappointment was in discovering it was to be an MGM release. From the studio that once boasted "more stars than there are in heaven" it can now be referred to the studio that makes it as cheap as possible, then throws it on the big screen for a few weeks, and finishes it off by rushing the DVD out to market. As a profitability concept, I can't argue whether the strategy is working or not, but having seen many of their recent films I can say it fails as far as any kind of cinematic achievements are concerned. Oh sure, once in a while they get lucky with one and it's half way decent, but it's not because of any real concern for quality.

The second slap in the face was to discover the running time was a little over an hour and fifteen minutes. Considering that the original Walking Tall with Joe Don Baker ran for over two hours, this was definitely not a good sign. Add to that the fact that I had once seen the running time of the remake listed as one hour and forty minutes, one could only guess as to what footage was now cluttering the cutting room floor.

Then the coup de grace was after reading some of the IMDB comments before leaving for the theater, we find that Vince McMahon, the guy who gave us Wrestling and even worst, the XFL, has his hand in this film some where. Things were not looking good this morning but my mind was made up and I was going to go. So, were my early hopes realized, or did my worst nightmare come true? The answer is somewhere in between.

Whereas the first Walking Tall film was a fictionalized account of Sheriff Buford Pusser of McNairy County in Tennessee, the writers, producers and director of this remake decided it wasn't fictionalized enough. Not only does it no longer take place in Tennessee, it now takes place in Washington. Our hero is no longer Buford Pusser the ex-wrestler he is now Chris Vaughn, ex U.S. Special Forces Sergeant. I guess it wouldn't have looked good to have The Rock talking negatively about wrestling the way Joe Don Baker badmouthed it in the original. Especially since Vince McMahon is a producer. Chris, unlike Buford who had a wife and two kids, is single. But he does have an ex-girlfriend lurking about somewhere. The reason I relate this information to you is because a lot of the original film depended on Buford's home life. In this version it is only slightly needed, which would partially explain the short running time. It also makes this remake a film that lacks the ability to involve us in it's storyline like we should be.

Walking Tall actually does start off well and is relatively faithful to the original. Upon returning home, Buford...err I mean Chris, returns home to find that the Lumber Mill that supported his home town has closed placing his father, Chris Sr. (John Beasley)out of work. Also living at home are his mother, his paramedic sister, and his nephew. Unfortunately, unlike the original film, his family is here for the purpose of supplying a few plot devices that develop later in the film and nothing more.

What is new in town is a corrupt casino, built by the an old buddy,(Neal Mcdonough), who closed the mill putting everybody out of work. On a visit there with his friend Ray (Johnny Knoxville), Chris finds some crooked dice at a crap game. After fighting with the casino's security force, he is subdued, viciously cut and left for dead. Later when Chris's nephew overdoses on drugs (ahh! the plot device I mentioned) supplied by the same people who knifed him, Chris decides to seek revenge. It is at this moment that the film begins to loose it's grip by degenerating into a series of poorly staged fights and even worse shoot 'em ups.

Portions of the film are entertaining, in large part due to the on screen natural charisma that The Rock has. Just as in The Rundown, the role of action hero seems to come naturally to him, and as far as acting ability is concerned, after only three leading roles he is already ahead of Schwarzenegger's capabilities after the same number of films. An even bigger surprise was Johnny Knoxville as his best friend Ray. He has some of the best written lines in the film, and seems to have just the right screen persona for his role. The rest of the cast is basically generic. Neal McDonough's villainous Jay, talks more threatening than he appears and that's a major problem. In the original film, the threat of danger always seemed imminent and except for Chris's initial fight, we never believe he or anyone else is in any real danger. Even a tussle between Ray and some guys holding Rock's family hostage is played partially for laughs, which also indicates how badly the film slips into being just another cardboard action film.

Another gripe I have though, is obviously there are chunks of this film that are missing. I don't know whether it was a studio decision, a McMahon decision, or a decision by director Bray, to cut the film, but the decision was a bad one. At times the film loses what little cohesiveness it has by leaving some scenes unfinished, and jumping inexplicably to others. Go figure.

I suppose there's nothing totally bad about being a formulaic action film, except there is no reason why this film couldn't have been and shouldn't have been so much more. If it had been developed into the same kind of engrossing story that the original was, it wouldn't matter how much they changed it. It was a golden opportunity for The Rock to really shine and strut his stuff, but it is an opportunity now lost. If memory serves me correctly, the original Walking Tall was blasted mercilessly and I think unfairly by some critics. Audiences didn't care though and they flocked to it. This remake has also been blasted by some critics and I won't disagree with them. Unfortunately for The Rock, I don't think the audiences are going to stand in line for this one.

If you want to see more about the original Walking Tall film you must do two things. First, forget that you ever saw Joe Don Baker in Mitchell, and second, get the DVD that is readily available. That's my recommendation, and when I have to recommend another film to people, I have no choice but to give the remake my grade which is a more than generous C-


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