Walking Tall, Part 2 (1975)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Police Detective Film  |   Release Date - Sep 28, 1975 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Walking Tall Part 2 doesn't exactly hedge its bets: it brings back most of the surviving cast from the original and pitches itself as a straightforward revenge opus designed to settle the scores leftover from the first film. Thus, it's a programmer -- but it's a pretty good programmer. Howard B. Kreitsek's script keeps the narrative eventful and works in plenty of crowd-pleaser moments (the most amusing might be the scene where the Sheriff smashes up the car of a villain under the pretense of "searching for contraband"). Director Earl Bellamy's approach isn't as hard-hitting as the style Phil Karlson brought to the first Walking Tall but his sense of craftsmanship is solid and he does well with the action sequences: a stunt near the end involving a boat is eye-popping stuff. He also gets good performances from a cast of vets: Bruce Glover and Robert DoQui add solid support as Buford's loyal deputies, Angel Tompkins vamps it up as a southern-fried femme fatale, Logan Ramsey is deliciously evil in his southern crime-lord role and Richard Jaeckel and Luke Askew add plenty of color as his henchmen. However, the glue that holds Walking Tall Part 2 together is Bo Svenson's performance as Buford Pusser. He wisely avoids copying Joe Don Baker's performance in the first film: instead, he gives the character a subtler, cagier interpretation that shows a man whose experiences have taught him to be cautious. This approach works well, adding a suspenseful edge to the film's drama. In short, Walking Tall Part 2 is a well-made crowd pleaser for fans of Southern drive-in fare that makes up for its low amount of surprises with a well-honed knowledge of how to please its audience.