Oh here we go again. I’m such a sucker for Neal McDonough that I will pretty much watch anything with him in it, unless it’s a TV show. I draw a line in the sand when it comes to TV shows because it’s far too much work to track down the episode he guest stars in, only to be largely clueless of what’s happening half the time in a show that I have never watched before, just for what is most likely five minutes of a glorified cameo appearance. With movies it’s different because it’s much easier process, you just get the flick that he’s starring in, press play and then sit back and suffer for ninety minutes or so when Neal’s most likely not on screen. This is more or less the story behind as to why I watched this reboot of Walking Tall, by the way.
Because the release year 2004 falls right into what I like to call the Scorpion King era in Dwayne Johnson’s acting career, I wasn’t expecting this to be very good. I mean, come on. It’s a cheap remake of a movie most people probably have never even heard of before. I was here just for Neal’s cameo and the slight possibility that this had some level of kitsch value in it. But color me surprised, this actually turned out to be far more entertaining than I had dared to even dream! Sure, it’s still dumb as hell, but in a fun, brainless entertainment sort of way. The writing is very hammy and corny as hell whenever it tries to be serious, like the godawful token romance bit with the ex-girlfriend turned casino stripper, but the Rock (this was still when Dwayne went by his wrestling name) has enough on-screen presence and charisma to make you forget about most of the awful parts. Oh, and even the action scenes, for the most part, are pretty good for a movie of this caliber.
As to be expected, Neal McDonough is his typical typecast self here as the generic villain of the piece but like always, he does what he can with the material given to him, and he’s entirely alright. He makes even the totally corny Sunday amateur football match against the Riock’s team kinda fun when he and his team act like total douchebags in order to win the match.
I was a bit surprised to realize that Johnny Knoxville was in this, but hindsight it makes perfect sense. And you know, he is pretty alright. You kinda wish he’d play something else besides the wacky comedic relief, which is basically his character in every dramatic role he’s ever done as far as I know, but what can you do. If the fist fits the glove, etc. At least his stunt work in Jackass comes real handy in his big action scene and he doesn’t make you cringe, unlike certain other people in this movie do.
So yeah, that pretty much covers it. The Rock’s Walking Tall remake is actually pretty decent. Who would’ve thunk? Not me certainly. I did find one thing distracting about Dwayne in this movie though: he looks a little bit skinny for some reason. I mean, he’s still a huge block of buff man meat in the movie, but compared to his current day shape, the dude looks weirdly small if you look at him from today’s perspective. Which is actually pretty amusing and ironic given the title of the flick.