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Walking Tall

Starring The Rock
Written by David Klass and Channing and David Levien & Brian Koppleman
Based on a screenplay by Mort Briskin
Directed by Kevin Bray
website: www.mgm.com

IN SHORT: See the box office? Keep walking. [Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence, sexual content, drug material and language. 87 minutes]

After eight years serving his country as a member of the Special Forces, Chris Vaughn (The Rock) returns to his home in scenic Ferguson, Washington. While he was gone, the Hamilton lumber mill, which employed most of the town, closed. It has been replaced by The Wild Cherry, a casino slash stripclub slash nightclub, which is also owned by the Hamilton family who still employ most of the town. The face at the top of that food chain, the bad guy to our returning hero, is Jay Hamilton, Jr. (Neal McDonough) Drenched in money and power, there isn't much that Hamilton cannot get, if he wants it.

But Chris could really care less. He's happy to be home, with family and friends like Ray Templeton (Johnny Knoxville). The sorrows of the town -- there's the human refuse generated by the casino and a small drug problem that is probably linked as well -- aren't of much concern until he discovers old girlfriend Deni (Ashley Scott) lap-dancing in the club and finds his nephew, Pete (Khleo Thomas) experimenting with crystal meth. Chris vows to do something about the problem, and promptly comes us nose to nose with the corrupt law enforcement system in town, where Sheriff Watkins (Michael Bowen) is firmly in Hamilton's pocket.

What he does is totally legal. How Hamilton retaliates is not and it leads to the big blowout that is promised from the get go. To say anything more is to do what little remains of this film's story an injustice, because there's so very little to anything about this story -- story background or character background, it doesn't matter. It isn't there.

The Rock has terrific screen presence, a talent honed by many years in the WWE wrestling ring. He also showed enough talent to carry an action picture in The Scorpion King. We can't tell you why the powers that be didn't give him more than a nugget of character to work with in Walking Tall but they didn't and the net result yields little of interest.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Walking Tall, he would have paid . . .

$3.00

Fans of The Rock (and that includes us) should wait and rent. You'll be better entertained during one of his rare returns to the ring

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