all that I can be"
Chris Vaughn (The Rock) returns home after eight years in
the army to find that his hometown has wasted away to a dilapidated, crime-ridden
shell of its former self. The Mill, which was once main employer in the
town, has long since closed and been replaced by a Casino. Owned by Jay
Hamilton (McDonough), Chris's old High School rival, the casino has given
him power and influence in the town with everything that is happenings doing
so because he wants it to. Seeing this, Chris decides to step up and bring
The Rock tries again to conquer Hollywood like his does wrestling
ring but he isn't getting the right projects to do so.
His career is mimicking Arnold Schwarzenegger's early forays
into the movie business. After both been a superstar in there sports (Wrestling
in The Rock's case and Body Building in Arnie's case) they went on to star
in a high concept action role which brought them instant movie fame (The
Rock = The Mummy Returns, Arnie = The Terminator). They then went on to
star in some movies that, while entertaining, never really set their genre
alight but did increase their profile. Walking Tall is one of those movies
for The Rock.
Based on the true story of Sheriff Buford Pusser (The story
has hit the silver screen before in the 70s), the filmmakers have taken
the main story and tailored it towards The Rock's unique talents. Here he
gets the chance to take on numerous opponents in his own inimitable style,
dispatching them with ease but in Walking Tall we do get to see our hero
take one hell of a beating. Of course this is the catalyst for his character's
fight back against the corruption in the town as this isn't the most original
of premises but the sheer screen presence of the WWE superstar makes it
all the more watchable.
Another personality moving away from his TV roots to become
a thespian is Johnny Knoxville. The Jackass himself is slowly carving a
name for himself in the acting fraternity. As Chris Vaughn's best friend
Ray he portrays him as a very likeable character that has struggle to step
out of his illustrious friend's shadow. Knoxville improves with every performance
and he actually might be on his way to becoming a big screen star.
Their support is also up to the job. Neal McDonough plays
a good villain by portraying him as a real power hungry grease ball. Ashley
Scott is nothing more than eye candy but good eye candy all the same. Kristen
Wilson and Khleo Thomas are fine as Chris's sister and nephew.
Walking Tall is another step on the Hollywood ladder for The
Rock. He has the screen presence and charisma to make it far in the business.
While the inevitable comparisons between him and other movie muscle men
will continue, he does have on major asset in his favour over all that have
gone before him. He can actually act.
Presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a Dolby Digital
5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is very good, as you'd expect from a modern
movie. The sharp picture brings out the best in the Canadian location with
bright colours through out, especially during the casino scenes. The sound
is also good with the surround track coming into its own during the energetic
Audio Commentary by The Rock
The star of 'Walking Tall' provides a chatty and fun commentary track for
the action packed movie. At the beginning he informs you that this will
not be a technical or arty track but just a movie fan chatting about a film
that he really liked been a part and this makes for a good commentary. He
talks about the background behind the story and how he became involved in
the movie. He also reveals the changes that were made to the story to fit
it into his persona. He discusses casting and what it was like working with
the cast but the commentary really comes into its own when The Rock starts
to talk about the fight scenes. This is a good commentary track from the
new action star.
Audio Commentary by director Kevin Bray, director of photography
Glen McPherson and editor Robert Ivison
A more technical commentary than the one provided by the star, the director,
DP and editor tell you about the production of the movie. They talk about
the re-imagining of the original true story on which the film was based
and why the changes where made. They reveal behind the scenes secrets about
the shoot, the Vancouver location, the music, casting and much more. They
also talk about the scenes that where removed and how they want to make
the film look realistic and not over the top like many action orientated
movies. This is a decent technical commentary from a group of filmmakers
that feel passionately about their movie.
Fight the Good Fight (8.22 mins)
Director Kevin Bray, stunt coordinator Jeff Habberstad and stars The Rock
and Neal McDonough take you behind the scenes of the fights in 'Walking
Tall'. The featurette shows you how the production wanted the fights to
be realistic, showing you storyboards, designs and rehearsals, as well as
the finished onscreen brawl.
Deleted Scenes (1.34 mins)
Entitled 'Blackjack', 'He hurts people' and 'It's not your fault' these
three deleted scenes would have added much to the movie but without a director
commentary or introduction, we don't know why these scenes were removed
from the final print.
Outtakes (0.45 mins)
A very short montage of fight mishaps and forgetting lines involving The
Rock and the rest of the cast
Alternative Ending (1.16 mins)
Your chance to see a slightly different ending to the one in the final cut
Photo Gallery (1.24 mins)
A video montage of behind the scenes and publicity shots from 'Walking Tall'
Trailer (2.02 mins)
The final theatrical promotional trailer for 'Walking Tall'
While the commentary tracks are very good the rest of the
bonus material is very poor. The featurette is far too short and the deleted
scenes, outtakes and alternative ending are not even worth bothering with.
This will do nothing to delight fans of The Rock and the movie as this could
have so easily have been a very good package.
to the Jungle
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