review for Walking Tall on AllMovie

Walking Tall (2004)
by Jason Gibner review

While Walking Tall doesn't exactly break any new ground in the world of action movies, it does manage during its lean and mean 86-minute running time to deliver a solid, yet brainless, good time. A remake of the Joe Don Baker film of the same name, this version's first change is the name of its main character from Buford Pusser to Chris Vaughn. Perhaps the filmmakers thought that Buford Pusser just wouldn't be a fitting hero name for the film's star, wrestler The Rock. It is the onscreen charm of The Rock that makes this film a fun ride. In the hands of any other action star, Walking Tall could have turned out to be as thin as the film's barely there premise. In his portrayal of the avenging sheriff in a small Washington town, The Rock comes off not as a bully, but as a good-natured muscleman who loves his family and is really looking out for the little guy. While watching the über-macho Rock go around cleaning up the town with his trusty weapon of choice, it's hard not to let go and pump your fist as you root for him. Every character is a cliché, much of the dialogue falls flat on the ground, and the film's plot and conclusion can be seen from miles away. However, the director understands how to film action at the brisk pace that so many of today's so-called action films lack. Walking Tall steps past all of its obvious flaws and remains, if the audience lets it, a terrifically entertaining time.