Walking Tall (2004) Preview

Having agreed that secrets are for sharing and that what is yours is mine (and ours), Young Mikey leads the whole gang over to his house. He seems quite nervous and understandably so. Young Jamie and Patrick explain that they have been less than nice to Mikey in the past. “We were bullies,” Young Jamie says ashamed. Jamie and Patrick remember. Like the time they put cement on his seat at school. “Ha, right. He was stuck there for days,” chuckles Patrick. Or the time they kept swapping his hat for an identical one a size larger. “Until he was convinced he was shrinking,” Jamie says with a snort. Or the time they put a fish in his overalls and the cats from all across town followed him around. “Yeah, and his dad was allergic to cats,” Patrick says, tears now streaming down his face in laughter. “Right, and then his dad was sneezing all the time and it drove his mom crazy so they started fighting and they almost got divorced,” Jamie finishes, his laughter petering out. “But that wasn’t really all that funny at that point.” Patrick nods. “Yeah, not really funny at all actually and they had other stuff going on… like not just the sneezing part… which you have to admit was funny, but not great given the circumstances of their marriage.” By the time they finish contemplating things that are funny (sneezing, cement, etc.) and things that are definitely not funny (fighting, potential divorce, etc.) they arrive at Mikey’s. Mikey flings open his cellar door and the gang gasps. A full blown illegal casino is being operated in the basement. “See, my parents need me to run the craps table tonight,” Mikey says sadly, but Jamie and Patrick are already halfway down the stairs.That’s right! We’re watching another remake of a classic (of sorts) with the early The Rock vehicle, Walking Tall. The original is more like a smash low-budget hit of the 70’s. The remake? Not so much. Let’s go!

Walking Tall (2004) – BMeTric: 23.8; Notability: 54

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 30.4%; Notability: top 10.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 25.6%; Higher BMeT: Catwoman, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, You Got Served, Torque, Taxi, Soul Plane, Seed of Chucky, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Thunderbirds, Envy, Godsend, Garfield, Fat Albert, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, Exorcist: The Beginning, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, New York Minute, The Stepford Wives, First Daughter, and 56 more; Higher Notability: Shark Tale, Catwoman, The Chronicles of Riddick, Van Helsing, King Arthur, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Alexander, After the Sunset, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Blade: Trinity, She Hate Me, Fat Albert, The Stepford Wives, Man on Fire, Around the World in 80 Days, The Phantom of the Opera, Alien vs. Predator, Along Came Polly, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Meet the Fockers, and 6 more; Lower RT: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, Twisted, My Baby’s Daddy, The Whole Ten Yards, Godsend, Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie – Pyramid of Light, The Cookout, Christmas with the Kranks, Johnson Family Vacation, Envy, Surviving Christmas, First Daughter, Catwoman, Taxi, House of D, Exorcist: The Beginning, New York Minute, Employee of the Month, A Cinderella Story, Against the Ropes, and 42 more; Notes: I can’t believe this has a 6.3 on IMDb. Really high Notability though … for a film that is like 75 minutes long that is impressive I guess.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – I didn’t see the original “Walking Tall.” I was “out of town at the time,” I explained in my review of “Part Two Walking Tall.” Sounds reasonable. But I suspect the earlier film was tilted more toward populism and less toward superhero violence than the new “Walking Tall,” which is “dedicated to the memory of Buford Pusser” but turns the story into a cartoon of retribution and revenge.

(It took me a few times of reading this review to realize exactly what Ebert was suggesting. He had never seen the original Walking Tall, but did end up reviewing the sequel. As this was prior to home video to at least some extent Ebert just reviewed the sequel without seeing the original … and now he’s reviewing the remake without (maybe) having (still) ever seen the original. That’s kind of crazy.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edR_niqKp1Q/

(They are really going for The Rock in the previews, nary a mention of the previous film which I guess for some reason I find interesting. A veritable Who’s Who of early 2000s bad guys though, so that is exciting.)

DirectorsKevin Bray – ( Known For: Linewatch; Future BMT: All About the Benjamins; BMT: Walking Tall; Notes: Directs a ton of television. The Morning Show, The Game, Insecure, Black-ish. There is surprisingly little about him on IMDb, but he hasn’t directed a feature since 2008.)

WritersMort Briskin – ( Known For: Walking Tall; The Second Woman; Framed; A Man Alone; The Magic Face; BMT: Walking Tall; Notes: He wrote the original. He died in 2000, four years prior to this release. He also wrote 30 episodes of U.S. Marshal among other things.)

David Klass – ( Known For: Emperor; Future BMT: Desperate Measures; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Walking Tall; Notes: Hasn’t been credited as a writer since 2012, although he is clearly still working as he was a consultant for Between Two Dawns. Was a producer on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.)

Channing Gibson – ( Known For: Lethal Weapon 4; BMT: Walking Tall; Cradle 2 the Grave; Notes: Was exclusively a television writer until Lethal Weapon 4 (writing on things like L.A. Law and NYPD Blue). Was nominated for five Emmys for St. Elsewhere, NYPD Blue, and Murder One. He won for NYPD Blue.)

David Levien and Brian Koppelman – ( Known For: Rounders; Ocean’s Thirteen; Runaway Jury; The Girlfriend Experience; Future BMT: Knockaround Guys; BMT: Walking Tall; Runner Runner; Notes: Famously wrote Rounders and maybe gambled semi-professionally (I don’t remember). Writers on Billions, I mostly know Koppelman for his appearances on the Bill Simmons Podcast.)

ActorsDwayne Johnson – ( Known For: Free Guy; Red Notice; Jungle Cruise; Moana; Jumanji: The Next Level; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Fighting with My Family; Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw; The Other Guys; Furious 7; Furious 6; The Fate of the Furious; The Mummy Returns; Central Intelligence; Pain & Gain; San Andreas; The Scorpion King; Fast Five; Skyscraper; Future BMT: You Again; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Tooth Fairy; Planet 51; Jem and the Holograms; Reno 911! Miami; BMT: Baywatch; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Game Plan; Be Cool; Doom; Walking Tall; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Doom in 2006; Notes: The Rock! Not quite the last film he was credited as The Rock (that would be Doom). A mega-super-star at this point, but back then he was a mere four years out of bit parts on television shows like Star Trek: Voyager and doing pretty much only WWE stuff.)

Ashley Scott – ( Known For: Jumanji: The Next Level; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; S.W.A.T.; Just Friends; Secret Obsession; The Kingdom; Puff, Puff, Pass; Lost; Future BMT: Into the Blue; 12 Rounds; BMT: Walking Tall; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Incredible she is considered one of the main three actors in this film (uh … where Neil McDonough?). Started as a model, and was married to actor Steve Hart.)

Johnny Knoxville – ( Known For: Mainstream; Polar; Lords of Dogtown; Above Suspicion; The Last Stand; Bad Grandpa; The Ringer; We Summon the Darkness; A Dirty Shame; Big Trouble; Skiptrace; Half Magic; Elvis & Nixon; Small Apartments; Rosy; Father of Invention; Nature Calls; Grand Theft Parsons; Daltry Calhoun; Future BMT: Coyote Ugly; Men in Black II; The Dukes of Hazzard; Action Point; Fun Size; Deuces Wild; BMT: Movie 43; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Walking Tall; Notes: You know Knoxville. Jackass was really how he became famous, another of which (and probably final) came out this weekend. His real last name is Clapp, he was born in Knoxville.)

Budget/Gross – $46,000,000 / Domestic: $46,437,717 (Worldwide: $57,223,890)

(Not really what you want. I’m sure there would have been another one if they could have gotten to maybe $75 million? Instead the series lives on with Kevin Sorbo …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (35/136): The Rock makes a competent hero, but the movie is content to let a 2×4 do all the talking.

(Yeah, and really that isn’t what the original is really about. It is and it isn’t. A huge part of the original was about how his one-man crusade ruined his life in reality. You just know they weren’t going to have that be part of the remake.)

Reviewer Highlight: One mediocre, ploddingly predictable film, loaded down with cheesy Hollywood tactics – Desson Thomson, Washington Post

Poster – Rocking Tall

(No no no no no.. no! No! No!… … … no. No. I don’t accept this. Look at all that white space. No! Look at that dumb font. No no no! No F. It’s an F. I could have made this in high school. The only curiosity here is that The Rock looks like a normal sized human being in it. But otherwise. No!)

Tagline(s) – One man will stand up for what’s right. (D)

(Boooooo. Come on. Sometimes bad posters will have good taglines. This is just generic and not clever and doesn’t even really help with the plot. Oh really? The main character will be the good guy and he’s fighting some bad guys?)

Keyword(s) – sheriff

Top 10: Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021), Scream (1996), Scream 4 (2011), The Unforgivable (2021), Antlers (2021), Wind River (2017), Halloween Kills (2021), Django Unchained (2012), No Country for Old Men (2007), The Little Things (2021)

Future BMT: 90.0 Vampires Suck (2010), 79.1 Shark Night (2011), 77.9 Jeepers Creepers III (2017), 74.8 Psycho (1998), 70.6 Halloween II (2009), 70.1 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 65.4 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983), 63.6 The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), 59.5 Witless Protection (2008), 56.7 Robin Hood (2018)

BMT: The Postman (1997), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Battleship (2012), Friday the 13th (2009), I Am Number Four (2011), Jonah Hex (2010), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), Wild Hogs (2007), House of Wax (2005), Young Guns II (1990), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Walking Tall (2004), Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009), Halloween II (1981), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Raw Deal (1986), Phantoms (1998), Fire Down Below (1997), Alone in the Dark (2005), Hard Rain (1998), Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), American Outlaws (2001), Say It Isn’t So (2001), The Odd Couple II (1998), Bats (1999), Here on Earth (2000), Chill Factor (1999)

Matches: Scream 4 (2011), Antlers (2021), The Little Things (2021), True Grit (2010), Den of Thieves (2018), I Spit on Your Grave (2010), First Blood (1982), House of Sand and Fog (2003), Bone Tomahawk (2015), Winter’s Bone (2010), Planet Terror (2007), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Rango (2011), The Silencing (2020), Robin Hood (2018), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), Red Headed Stranger (1986), The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), The Gift (2000), 30 Days of Night (2007), Cop Land (1997), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), Premonition (2007), Walking Tall (2004), The Last Stand (2013), Life (1999), Powder (1995), Heaven’s Gate (1980), Leap of Faith (1992), The Kid (2019), Shimmer Lake (2017), … (and many more)

(Ah Jeepers Creepers III, the film I will never watch for BMT. I’ll stick with things like Smokey and the Bandit Part 3.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Neal McDonough is No. 3 billed in Walking Tall and No. 3 billed in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => (3 + 3) + (2 + 2) = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – At the beginning when Chris Vaughn asks the sheriff what happened to the former sheriff it is said that the guy was a great man but they found one day he had mysteriously skidded off a deserted road and died hitting a tree. This is a reference to how the real Buford Pusser died.

Johnny Knoxville executed co-star Dwayne Johnson’s signature WWE finisher, “The People’s Elbow”

Dwayne Johnson’s stunt double in this movie was his cousin Tanoai Reed. (I think that’s his longtime stunt double).

Debut movie of Cobie Smulders. (She shows up for about 5 seconds and doesn’t say anything)

The film takes place in Kitsap County, Washington. The Kitsap Penninsula is across Puget Sound from Seattle, and is home to both the Bremerton Naval Shipyards and the Bangor Submarine Base. A large part of the population are military personnel. The movie was actually filmed in Squamish, B.C. The opening scene was filmed on the Bowen Island ferry to Horseshoe Bay

As a young man, Buford Pusser, the real-life sheriff who this remake is based upon, wrestled professionally across the South as “Buford the Bull”. Dwayne Johnson, who plays the character inspired by him, began his acting career as a professional wrestler.

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