Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Walking Tall

posted by rkumar
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Strong language
Nudity/Sex:Strippers (in underwear), sexual situation
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters are drug dealers, child takes drugs, drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Intense violence for a PG-13
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:2004

Apparently, the people who stage professional wrestling matches looked for the story that was most like a wrestling match and picked the story of Buford Pusser, the sheriff who cleaned up a small Southern town. That is, if your definition of cleaning up includes smacking the bad guys with a 2×4. This might work as a WWE grudge match, but it does not work as a movie because it undermines the story it is trying (if half-heartedly) to tell.

The original 1973 movie with Joe Don Baker playing the real-life Pusser teetered on the brink of vigilantism. This remake produced by World Wrestling Entertainment unhesitatingly dives in with a triple gainer.

Over the opening credits, a big guy with an army duffel bag comes home to find that the mill has been closed, the old sheriff has died, and the town is now dominated by a casino. We then get about 20 minutes of “Look who’s back in town” moments, with ominous comments like, “I don’t know if you noticed, but this ain’t exactly home any more.” Then we get about an hour of smackdowns as our hero (now named Chris Vaughn and played by The Rock) gets a beating that would kill a normal man and then does a lot of get-well sit-ups so he can take that 2×4 and open up some cans of whup-ass on the bad guys.

Vaughn’s nephew (Khleo Thomas of Holes) has been buying drugs at the casino. So Vaughn takes a cedar plank to the casino and smashes up the slot machines and many of the people who work there. When he is put on trial, he does not deny what he did. But he tells the jury that if they acquit him, he’ll run for sheriff and clean up the town.

Yes, they know how to stage fights, though these are more intense and graphic than the MPAA normally permits in a PG-13. But the story requires a level of credibility and sympathy for the characters that it cannot come close to earning. Instead, it just assumes it, dissipating whatever built-in goodwill any movie about beating the bad guys should generate.

The Rock has a great deal of charm, and Johnny Knoxville brings a wry warmth to the standard best friend role. But in a telling detail about the crude-ifying of this story, instead of the sweet wife in the original movie, Vaughn gets a stripper girlfriend (Ashley Scott), who shows up at the sheriff’s office with a home-cooked meal and fires off rounds while looking fetching in a red lace bra.

We’re supposed to cheer for Vaughn when he breaks the law just because he’s on the side of the good guys. It’s impossible not to like The Rock, but a battle inside or outside the ring has to feel a little bit fair and this one just doesn’t. It’s just not as fun as it is supposed to be when Vaughn smashes the tail-lights of the bad guy’s Porsche or beats someone up while explaining his official sheriff’s office policy of “delicacy and precision.” It’s not a good sign when you start to feel sorry for the bad guys. Maybe it’s not as much fun to have a sheriff recite the Miranda warnings, but there has to be more reason than we are given here for beating everyone up without trying to arrest them. And as for the dialogue — I think “I put down my gun for good” has to be just behind “I’ll be right back” as the top candidates for the “movie words spoken just so they can almost immediately be wrong” award.

Parents should know that this movie is close to an R for extreme and graphic violence and very strong language. Characters are drug dealers and a young boy smokes marijuana and takes crystal meth. Characters drink and smoke. There are scenes in a casino including scantily-clad dancers. There is a non-explicit sexual situation. One of the strengths of the movie is its portayal of a loving and very functional inter-racial family.

Families who see this movie should talk about the difference between being a law enforcer and being a vigilante.

Families interested in finding out more about the man whose life inspired this movie can read about the late Buford Pusser here. Those who will be near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee can visit his museum. Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy seeing The Rock in The Rundown and The Scorpion King.



Previous Posts

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, "Birdman" (subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance") explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of storytelling. Michael Keaton p

posted 5:59:46pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

John Wick
This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people wh

posted 5:44:02pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

23 Blast
23 Blast is the name of a football play, and "23 Blast" is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed teammates, was able to keep playing. The real hero of the movie is the coach, played by "Ava

posted 3:57:18pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Little Hope Was Arson, Story of Church Burnings
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/EYk-EU9Ydyw?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Available in select theaters and nationwide VOD beginning Nov 21! For more info, please visit: http://littlehopewasarson.com. January 2010: In the buckle of the Bible Belt, 10 churches burn to

posted 1:00:10pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.