Summer Film Series – Vol. 2, No. 1: WALKING TALL
June 9, 2004, at Movies Seven in Sherman, TX
In the past, nothing could get me to a film starring “The Rock”. But then Neal McDonough got involved and everything changed.
I’ve never seen the original Walking Tall (I make no apologies), and I might never have seen this remake had it not been for McDonough, but I have to say now that I really, really liked the movie. A lot. DVD-Library-a-lot. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, so I’ll simply say it was a fun movie with enough humor to keep me interested and likable characters to make me care what happened to them. Plus, a few familiar faces that I didn’t expect to see.
Dwayne Johnson, née The Rock, was decent enough in the role of Chris Vaughn, sheriff, and by the end of the movie I was really rooting for him. Seeing a guy beaten to a bloody pulp will often do that. I even found myself almost disliking McDonough’s character, though he’s always so deliciously malicious that I find him great fun to watch. In this movie, I could actually root against him. Despite loving his performance.
There were a couple of special treats in the cast, as well. John Beasley played the senior Chris Vaughn, and I’ve come to really like him from his role on Everwood. Kevin Durand was also featured in a “main baddie” role, and his involvement in this movie cemented a slow-growing curiosity about him. I’ve been watching Durand on the U.S. Touching Evil series, and in the weeks prior to seeing this movie, I was beginning to take notice of him. Suddenly he pops up as a violent bodyguard-type in Walking Tall, and I was hooked. It’s a small interest, granted, but it’s an interest, nonetheless. And that’s half the reason I love movies.
I knew I wanted to own this movie when I found myself torn between McDonough (my favorite) and Johnson (the hero). Occurrences like that make for lifetime love of a film, no matter the quality. [See also: Madsen, Michael; Lundgren, Dolph] With Walking Tall, I look forward to being able to show it to Kolby when he is older, with a reminder that he once LOVED The Rock. For myself, I’ll take whatever McDonough I can get.