Directed by Kevin Bray, starring The Rock, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough, Kristen Wilson and Ashley Scott.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger busy, ahem, 'governating', and his contemporaries Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme also beginning to look more comfortable in suits than combat gear, there's a vacancy in Hollywood for a testosterone-fuelled action hero. It's only fitting, then, that a successor to the throne of hard fighting and bad acting be found in the slapstick soap opera that is World Wrestling Entertainment.
In 'Walking Tall', The Rock finds himself cast as Chris Vaughn. A US Special Forces soldier who has decided to retire, Vaughn returns to his home town in the Pacific North West to renew old ties and make a new life for himself. A pity, then, that while he was away, the place has degenerated from a decent blue collar backwater to a crime- and corruption-ridden shell of its former self.
At the centre of this transformation is Vaughn's high-school rival, Jay Hamilton (McDonough), who shut down the town's honest-to-good lumber mill and opened a seedy casino. With the local sheriff in on the scam as well, Vaughn is forced to take matters into his own hands. He's assisted by his old buddy, Ray Templeton (Knoxville, who scarcely seems to realise he's not in MTV Jackass but nonetheless does the film no harm).
So far, so unoriginal. Indeed, the film is based on a 1970s flick of the same name starring Joe Don Baker that was itself loosely based on a true story. The threadbare plot of one man against a whole town reads more like a Western than an action film. However, most of it is dispensed without any consideration to form or narrative worthiness. As an example of this, look out for the courtroom scene, which is particularly hilarious in its absurdity. It's only when the violence begins in earnest that things really start to get entertaining. Not only does this film have the wooden dialogue you tend to expect from the genre, it actually features a piece of wood in a starring role.
To the film's credit, though, the bundle of action scenes are convincing and well executed, without having to resort to bullet-time or any CGI tricks to keep the audience attentive. No surprise, then, that the WWE's Vince McMahon is listed as an executive producer.
Things pan out largely as you expect them to, and in fairly quick time too. It may not have so much as the profundity of an 'A-Team' episode, but then nobody was expecting that anyway. If you're after good action and a good laugh, then 'Walking Tall' certainly won't disappoint.