I hate wrestling, but when I saw "The Rundown" last year I had to admit, The Rock is one cool guy, and a perfect action star. He's big and tough, but most importantly he's charismatic and has a sense of humor and a certain softness that actually makes him seem somewhat vulnerable. This is what sets him apart from someone like Vin Diesel, who was all set to be the next big action star but never was because he has no personality or sense of humor. "Walking Tall" is a remake of a 1973 based-on-fact film about a man who fights back against corruption in his town by becoming sheriff and waging war on the bad guys. I haven't seen the original, but I'm willing to bet it's closer to the truth than the 2004 "Walking Tall", which is packed with more machine guns, axes, exploding trucks, and gunfighting strippers than anything that's "based on fact" could possibly be. Here, Vaughn returns home after years of being away to find his hometown in shambles and dependent on a corrupt casino run by drug-dealing, knife-wielding thugs. After he receives a brutal beating and his nephew (Khleo Thomas, from "Holes") nearly overdoses on crystal meth bought there, the war is on. My inner 12 year-old says "Woohoo!". Yes, this film is ridiculously over the top. It's also completely predictable. But it's FUN. A lot of fun, in fact. It's extremely fast paced, well-acted, the action scenes are excellent, and at just under 80 minutes, it's exceptionally lean too. Not one unnecessary or drawn-out scene. "Walking Tall" doesn't aim to be anything except old-fashioned popcorn entertainment, and it succeeds, yet it has been made with surprising artistry as well. The cinematography is very good, and there are some interesting things done with sound and unexpected fade-outs. Also, Vaughn is an interestingly complex hero (complex as far as these movie go, anyway). At one point, when he clearly wants to bring a loaded shotgun into a fight with him, he hesitates, and brings a less-deadly 2x4 instead. It's a neat moment. So it's not going to be winning any awards any time soon. But I had a really good time, plain and simple, and the audience I saw it with did too.
Action / Crime
Action / Crime
A former U.S. soldier returns to his hometown to find it overrun by crime and corruption, which prompts him to clean house.
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May 13, 2019