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"Walking Tall"

Directed by Kevin Bray ("All About the Benjamins").
Written by David Klass, Channing Gibson, David Levien and Brian Koppelman.
Starring The Rock, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough and Ashley Scott.
Release Year:  2004
Review Date:  4/22/04


69 minutes.

That is the total, non-credits running time of The Rock's latest action-adventure "Walking Tall."  How do I know this?  Well, I got to the theater at 12:50.  At exactly 1 PM, the MGM logo came up, and then we got some coverage shots of The Rock--starring as Special Forces Sgt. Chris Vaughn--walking from a boat, to his old town, through his old town to an old chopping mill.  As he got to the mill, the opening credits finished in the bottom left-hand corner.  I would estimate this as being 1:05 PM.

As the film faded to black, I quickly checked my watch.  It was 2:14 PM.  Grand total:  69 minutes.  This, friends, makes "Walking Tall" the shortest film I have ever seen, supplanting "Passenger 57" from its 12-year perch as shortest-ever.  Don't believe that the film's running time is 86 minutes, like they say on; from the start of the FUCKING THEATER COMMERCIALS to the end of the end credits, I was in the theater for 91 minutes.

Oh, but there was another first:  for the first time in all of my moviewatching experiences in a theater, there was no one else in my theater.

Well, that's not a complete truth.  There was a group of four teens in the theater, and myself, when "Walking Tall" got started.  30 minutes into the movie--after having booed and feigned snoring twice--the foursome got up and left.  Which left yours truly alone in the theater to suffer through this flick solo.

Based on some 70s flick of the same name, "Walking Tall" concerns itself with Vaughn's attempt to reclaim the town that was once his home, but now is in the hands of a shady casino owner (Neal McDonough, "Minority Report") and other local goons.  Naturally, the cops and the casino owner try to fuck with Vaughn, but he IS Special Forces, and he makes all of them pay by the end of this bullshit.  Oh, and did I mention that this is supposedly based on a true story...whoops, "based on actual events"??

Possessing neither the style of his last film, "The Rundown", nor its frequent humor thanks to funny co-stars Seann William Scott and Christopher Walken, "Walking Tall" doesn't have much to do in its 69 minutes anyway.  Johnny Knoxville, who seems like he might be funny in real life, is almost totally useless here.  The action is so-so, although it does feel louder and more violent than most PG-13s are allowed to of this film's only saving graces is the Brittany-Murphy-style dirty hotness of Ashley Scott as Vaughn's former flame (and, uh, part-time casino stripper) Deni.

I'm suggesting that you rent this, but that's only if you love The Rock, really need to see a short action film or if your name is Chuck Longer.  Otherwise, this is fairly bad.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09