Notable Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough, Michael Bowen, Kevin Durand, Kristen Wilson, Ashley Scott, Khleo Thomas, John Beasley, Cobie Smulders
There are some films that seemingly get lost in the shuffle of time. Usually, these are films that run the middle of the road, not bad enough to be spit on and not good enough to make the lasting memories, but sometimes these are films that do eventually find their audiences. 2004’s Walking Tall, starring Dwayne Johnson while he was still credited as The Rock, is one of those films. When it was released, Walking Tall received generally negative reviews, but the film garnered enough of an audience to make two sequels (neither starring The Rock, who was replaced by Kevin Sorbo (?).) Yet, time was not necessarily kind to the film and it eventually disappeared from the mainstream consciousness, despite the eventual mega-stardom that Dwayne Johnson would achieve as an action star. That is, until now. MVD’s newest distribution arm, MVD Marquee, has selected Walking Tall as one of their first releases and rewatching the film for the first time since it’s release was interesting. Although, it’s still obvious why the film was forgotten. It does have its merits as a fun and entertaining little film, but it’s hardly the action classic that The Rock now puts out almost on a yearly basis.
|Shooting the shit. Means two different things to each one.|
From there, Walking Tall is an exercise is running through the mid-budget action film motions. It changes quite a bit from the “true story” that the concept is based on, but that was to be expected. If anything, it probably could have changed more to embrace the ridiculousness of what it has to offer – including a somewhat toned-down role for Johnny Knoxville as the main character’s best friend. The characterizations are all to the blue print and the story itself, where our hero must face off against a corrupt casino owner (played by resident white-collar villain Neal McDonough), is also fairly generic.
|Rock, tree, car is my new favorite game.|
The release itself, the new Blu Ray from MVD Marquee, has plenty of extra features to dig into for those who are already fans of the film (all films have fans, even one that is generally forgotten like this one) and for those new to the film it does add some admirable content to create a more memorable cinematic experience. In particular, after the film, I immediately dug into the stunt featurette. There’s not a ton of material, but it’s enough to get fans investing in this latest release.
Walking Tall may not be the instant classic that getting a new MVD Marquee release would indicate, but the film is much better than initial critical opinions would have audiences believe. It has some decent performances including Dwayne Johnson and Johnny Knoxville (to add humor to the mix) and the action is pretty fun. The rest of the film is rather mundane and by-the-numbers, so it’s also not all that surprising that it ended up being one of those modern forgotten films. For fans of The Rock though, or those looking to perhaps rediscover an overlooked action gem, Walking Tall delivers for them.