Walking Tall Review

Inspired by a time in Sheriff Buford Pusser's life and the 1974 film of the same name, Walking Tall tells the story of Chris Vaughn (The Rock) - a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer who is returning home after eight years away in service. Upon arriving he sees that his town has changed, and not for the better. The mill where his father used to work has been closed down for several years and now a casino, run by one of his old friends, Jay Hamilton (Neal McDonough) provides the town's income. Chris soon discovers that the casino is corrupt and sets out with his 2x4 and his best friend, Ray (Johnny Knoxville) to clean up his beloved town.


Walking Tall is a film that doesn't require a lot of thought or analysis - it's simple, predictable, clichéd and briskly paced. But the latter is what goes against it because at just 86-minutes (make that just over 1 hour 10-mins without the end credits) it actually does feel rushed. The shifts from arriving in town, subsequently getting the seven bells kicked out of him, before suddenly becoming the town sheriff leaves the film with little else to focus on. Director, Kevin Bray sacrifices a lot in favour of turning the film into a mind-numbingly simple tale that foregoes any deep characterization but at the same time offers enough fun-packed adventure to endure the ride. For the action itself, it is standard Rock fare. Quick cuts, explosions and predictable bad guys ensure an action film that will make many fans of the genre quite comfortable

No Rock film would be complete without a few healthy one liners and bucket loads of action, performed by one who would be deemed superhuman in any other context. But that is the whole point - it's The Rock doing what The Rock does best and that is getting bums on seats and giving an audience value for money. I still maintain that The Rock is one of the finest action stars to appear on U.S. screens - he has presence, all the charisma that it essential for any action star and he can be a fine actor when he needs to be. It is in the film that he gives a good, well-grounded performance and provides his character with enough charm and likeability to have us rooting for him to the end. With Johnny Knoxville aiding him as a comical counterpart there are plenty of enjoyable moments that raise smiles.


The DVD

MGM present the film on a single disc, with a reasonable amount of supplemental material.

Picture

Presented in its original 2:35.1 aspect ratio, Walking Tall has been anamorphically enhanced but it isn’t all good news. In the past I've been quite laid back about Edge Enhancement when reviewing, if it is kept to a minimal but here it is delivered in spades. Just about every portion of the film has noticeable haloing and I just don't understand why we need this on such recent productions. If it wasn't for the fact that this is such a big problem then the picture would get higher marks, because otherwise everything else is fine - a little soft in the background but colour levels and detail are very good.

Sound

Aside from French and Spanish stereo surround we have a 5.1 English, Dolby Digital surround track. This has been mixed very effectively and a lot of the action delivers a real kick to the surrounds. There are lots of bone crunching moments and loud musical moments to satisfy anyone with the appropriate set up.

Extras

Audio Commentary with The Rock
The Rock gives another one of his typical commentaries - fun in places, with plenty of enthusiasm toward his fellow cast and crew members. He tends to drag out the same jokes for the duration but does point out some of the feature's shortcomings and makes some interesting comments.

Audio Commentary with Director Kevin Bray, Director of Photography Glen Macpherson and Editor Robert Ivison
This second commentary goes deeper into the production of the film and while it isn't as homely and entertaining as The Rock's delivery it does offer plenty of interest with regards to actual shooting processes and conceptualisation. Everyone talks about the characters and what they tried to achieve with them all, giving away far more in the process than the finished film actually offers.

Fight the Good Fight
An 8-minute featurette that takes a look behind the stunts involved. The fight choreography and general stunt work is explained as having a more realistic and raw quality than most productions today can offer.

Deleted Scenes
Three short, deleted scenes are available: "Black Jack", "He hurts people" and "It's not your fault". Running for less than 2-minutes I see no real reason for them to have been removed because they would hardly hamper the already short running time.

Bloopers
About 40-seconds of amusing outtakes but surely they could have fit in more as it is pretty thin.

Alternate Ending: The Porch
This alternative scene sees Chris's father head back to work as Chris and Ray sit on the porch joking around.

Photo Gallery
A very small selection of promotional shots, that is not very interesting.

Sneak Preview for Species 3
A teaser trailer for the third instalment of this franchise.

Theatrical Trailer
The original theatrical trailer that shows off plenty of appealing action.

Other MGM Titles
A couple of trailers for other films in the company's catalogue.


Overall

Walking Tall is an enjoyable film despite its rushed pace. The performances and action are enough to ensure that it delivers what it says on the box - "Rock Solid Action!"... Erm yea thanks for that, U.S. Weekly.

Film
6 out of 10
Video
8 out of 10
Audio
8 out of 10
Extras
6 out of 10
Overall

7

out of 10

Last updated: 02/05/2018 11:21:14

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