Walking Tall (2004)

logoDirector: Kevin Bray

Writer: David Klass, Channing Gibson, David Levien, Brian Koppelman (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Neal mCDonough, Ashley Scott, Michael Bowen, John Beasley


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


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Slick Popcorn action flick


Story: Walking Tall starts when Chris Vaughn (Johnson) returns to his hometown after his time away in the services. Chris learns that the old mill where his family has worked is closed and a casino is the main resource in the town. The family have all gone through hardships because of the change in the town with Chris’ sister Michelle (Wilson) now on the paramedic.

Ray (Knoxville) Chris’ old friend invites him along for a reunion with all the old boys in a traditional game of football the American style. This introduces Jay Hamilton (McDonough) the man who knows runs this town who is one of the old boys who seems to have been a high school rival. Jay’s family owned the mill but when it was left to him he closed it to open the casino. Chris notices there is a drug problem in the town which reaches down to the Chris’ nephew.

The Wild Cherry casino hosts the night for Chris, Ray and the rest of the friends, where a private dance from a high school sweetheart Deni (Scott) and some dodgy dice on the table shows Chris just what has happened to his town. After Chris is involved in a fight in the casino he is taken by Hamilton’s friends and left for dead on the side of the street.

Recovering from his injuries Chris rejects an offer from Hamilton for a job and goes to the Sheriff to press charges, but Chris gets thrown out with the case fully closed. One more personal issue when his nephew nearly dies do to a drug problem, Chris smashes up the casino and taking out the whole security team. In court Chris swears to run for Sheriff is found not guilty leading him to win the election in a landslide. Chris now sets out to clean up the town along with his new deputy Ray one drug dealer at a time.

Walking Tall does tell the true story of a real man who came back to his town to clean it up, this time the story is simple but knowing how accurate it is isn’t as easy to know. We have seen the clean up the drug problems before but I do feel this one loses something by being so very short, the tension never really rises but I would say it is an enjoyable action side to the story. The story offers up the question about what you would do if you town turned out like this one and how you would change it. The reality is that this story was designed to show off Dwayne Johnson’s screen presence and potential push his career off. (6/10)


Actor Review


Dwayne Johnson: Chris Vaughn former soldier who after returning home gets a shock when he sees what the town has become, left for dead Chris decides to go for the Sheriff Job and clean up his town once and for all. Dwayne does a good job in the role that showed off his action star abilities. (7/10)


Neal McDonough: Jay Hamilton owner of the casino and former school rival of Chris’ who tries to get Chris on his team but ends up getting on his bad side. After being caught by Chris selling drugs through the casino his wise talking can’t get him out of this one. Neal is one of my favourite actors and always turns up in villainous roles performing well again here. (7/10)


Johnny Knoxville: Ray Templeton best friend of Chris who helps fill in the blanks with the town for Chris, he is a former con because of his drug problems and is always good for a laugh. Johnny does a good job as the comic relief. (7/10)


Ashley Scott: Deni former high school sweetheart of Chris who now works in the casino to help ends meet. Ashley does a solid job but never really has enough to work with. (6/10)


Support Cast: Walking Tall supporting cast is Chris family that all support him and drive his character on. It also has mostly henchmen for Hamilton that all work well to give Dwayne someone to fight.


Director Review: Kevin Bray – Kevin did a solid job directing this but never really pushing the boundaries the film have pushed. (6/10)


Action: Walking Tall has plenty of action scenes that mix from hand to hand to all out gun battles. (8/10)

Crime: Walking Tall shows how the town has been overrun by criminals and one man takes a stand. (8/10)

Thriller: Walking Tall never lets the tension build up enough to make a serious impact on the story. (5/10)

Settings: Walking Tall uses a small town well to create the changed home environment. (8/10)

Suggestion: Walking Tall is one for the action fans to enjoy but only just to see the action unfold don’t expect anything truly special. (Action Fans Watch)


Best Part: Smashing up the casino.

Worst Part: Very short.

Action Scene Of The Film: Police station attack.


Believability: The idea is based on a real man, but what happens seems too cinematic. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has 2 sequels

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $57 Million

Budget: $56 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

Tagline: One man will stand up for what’s right.

Trivia: At the beginning when Chris Vaughn asks the sheriff what happened to the former sheriff it is said that the guy was a great man but they found one day he had mysteriously skidded off a deserted road and died hitting a tree. This is a reference to how the realBuford Pusser died.


Overall: Walking Tall is a very short action film that does everything you want an action film to do, switch your brain off and what people beat or shot each other.

Rating 60

One comment

Leave a Reply