Scott Tibbs
October 31st, 2004

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Walking Tall

"Know your role and shut your mouth!"

I rented Walking Tall starring Dwayne Johnson, who is better known as "The Rock" in World Wrestling Entertainment. It's rather silly, in my opinion, to list Johnson in the credits by his character's name in WWE.

Johnson's acting is not quite as good as it was in The Rundown, and it was not all that good there either. Johnson's best performance was in The Scorpion King. Johnson is a much better actor than "Hulk Hogan", but that isn't saying much. Professional wrestlers seem to think that because they act for a living, they can seamlessly transition into movies, but professional wrestling is a far different type of acting than movies.

In any case, Chris Vaughn (Johnson's character) returns from duty in the Army to find that the lumber mill, the main source of employment in the county for years, is closed and a casino has taken its place. The casino is corrupt, of course, with the workers cheating in order to take money from customers. Vaughn discovers this, and winds up being gutted and left for dead.

He survives, of course, and when he goes to file charges the Sheriff won't help him. Seething over that, Vaughn discovers his nephew overdosed on drugs purchased from the casino's security officers, the same ones that almost killed him. Vaughn proceeds to trash the casino with a 4x4 and "lay the smack down" on the security guards. Then he goes to jail.

In a really dumb scene, Vaughn admits his guilt buts tries to convince the jury that he was justified. He opens his shirt to show gruesome scars from when he was gutted and promises to run for Sheriff if he is acquitted. He is acquitted (naturally) and then cleans up the town.

So we have a jury acquitting the hero of the story after he ADMITS acting as a vigilante. This is by far the least believable part of the movie. If Charles Bronson's character had done that in Death Wish, maybe he would not have had to move around so much to avoid the law.

Overall, Walking Tall is decent for an action film, but it certainly was not anything special. WWE seems to think that WWE fans will go see the movie because "The Rock" is in it, but they forget that the audience of movie fans is much, much larger than the audience of WWE fans. They would be better off working to make a good movie to get movie fans interested in WWE. While Walking Tall is far better than previous WWE/WWF efforts like No Holds Barred (one of the worst movies ever made) it is nothing special.

Grade: C-, barely missing a D+.