Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

At Sixes and Sevens

Walking Tall (2004) on IMDb

Plot Overview

“Walking Tall” was inspired by the true tale of Buford Pusser, the sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee. The overt racism back then has gone under­ground in this telling. Sheriff Pusser a tall white man has been re-branded as returning Army Sergeant Chris Vaughn played by Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) of a racially (B&W) mixed family. Pusser's loyal black deputy has been replaced by Vaughn's white trash side­kick Ray Templeton (Johnny Knoxville.) His white (“salt and pepper”) girl­friend of easy morals is luscious Deni (Ashley Scott.) And his drug-dealing nemesis from high school, blue-eyed, white Jay Hamilton (Neal McDonough) after inheriting his father's lumber mill, shut it down and started the Wild Cherry Casino, claiming he was 1/16th Black­foot. But Black­foot is a confederation of tribes, none of them having to do with Chief Kitsap of the Squamish tribe, after whom was named Kitsap County where Vaughn gets to be sheriff, or with the town of Squamish, British Columbia where the movie was shot. Further­more, the hero's “standing up for myself when the law wouldn't” played well with the hill­billies of Appalachia where the original action took place, but it wouldn't have held water in wimpy Washington State where this movie was set (Sorry.)

high ballIn high school Chris hung out with a group calling them­selves “The Misfits.” After his stint in the army where he could “be all that you can be,” he returned with a military hair­cut, an erect bearing and shades. Neither his sister (Kristen Wilson) nor his once girl­friend even recognized him directly. The boys engage in a Saturday, traditional football game with the other boys, and the action ramps up from there. A dispute over a six versus seven on the dice escalates into a vendetta worthy of the hill­billies in Tennessee, but four writers here churn out a dis­com­bobu­lated plot in Washington.


royal flushOne of Kenny Rogers's songs concerned a chance meeting with “The Gambler” on a train bound for nowhere, who offered the passenger the advice that “the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.” The refrain of the song goes:

You've got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away, Know when to run. You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

This wisdom of the gambling man's repartee is old as the hills and was passed on by a raconteur, Agur in Proverbs 30:1, whose four meta­phors offered the same life advice as did Rogers's Gambler. That we find in, (Prov. 30:29-31) “There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A grey­hound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.”

We have Agur's “lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any,” and we have Rogers's “know[ing] when to hold 'em.” In our movie Chris knows when to fire his defense attorney and plead his own case despite the judge's cautions.

We have Agur's “king, against whom there is no rising up,” and we have Rogers's “Know[ing] when to fold 'em” A king who knows when to give in to his subjects doesn't experience any uprising. Chris knows when to set aside the assault rifle and come out swinging with but a cedar 4x4.

We have Agur's “he goat also” and we have Rogers's “Know[ing] when to walk away.” Deni knows when to walk away from her sexy burlesque number once she recognizes her lone male audience as one she knows.

We have Agur's “greyhound” and Rogers's “Know[ing] when to run.” Chris's bad-boy-wannabe nephew Pete (Khleo Thomas) knows when to make tracks once the lead starts flying (“Pete ran outside.”)

The gambler gave the advice:

You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

As the movie finishes look to spot the mill operating again in the background.

Production Values

” (2004) was directed by Kevin Bray. Its screen­play was written by David Klass, Channing Gibson and David Levien & Brian Koppel­man, with material derived from an earlier screen­play by Mort Briskin. It stars Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Scott, and Johnny Knox­ville. The one view of a buff Rock was presented early in the film, so the ladies can leave for the rest of it if they like. The acting was all adequate for the non-demanding parts with the exception of John Beasley playing Chris Vaughn Sr. whose acting was terrible—very wooden. The director seemed to like him, though, so either he was partial to the one clearly black actor, or he knows something I don't.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for sequences of intense violence, sexual content, drug material and language. The DVD includes scenes deleted to keep the pace up and an alternate ending. The song “Five Feet High and Rising” by Johnny Cash was inserted at just the right spot. It was filmed in the environs of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. It's 86 minutes long.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

One can't dispute that the real story of Buford Pusser was inspirational, but this one is ticky tacky. I won't dignify it with a critique, but the director did move it right along to get to the action scenes. The fighting is brutal rather than balletic. See it if that suits you.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Video Occasion: For Guy Groups. Special effects: Well done special effects. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Rogers, Kenny. Songwriter Don Schlitz. “The Gambler.” Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Pub. LLC. Web.