Walking Tall

Dwayne Johnson — call him the Rock if you want to wrestle — is the real deal in a movie action hero, especially when he doesn't have to play a giant scorpion. He can crack jokes and crush skulls with the best of them. It's the Rock's star quality that gives this headbanger a heartbeat. Back in 1973, Phil Karlson's Walking Tall told the true story of Buford Pusser (Joe Don Baker), a Tennessee sheriff who cleaned up his town by carrying a big stick. In this update, set in Washington state, the Rock wields a massive two-by-four, but the truth is the first thing that gets clobbered. The Rock plays Chris Vaughn, a U.S. Special Forces soldier returned home to find a gambling casino corrupting his neighbors. "Looks to me like it's full of fake boobs and real assholes," says Chris, before he bangs the place up, gets elected sheriff and swears in his screw-up pal (a funny Johnny Knoxville) as his deputy. Gorgeous Ashley Scott co-stars as a stripper with the hots for Chris. Director Kevin Bray, who did music videos for NSync, has her participate in a shootout wearing a tiny red bra. There was a time when guys would grab a six-pack and watch this kind of flick at a drive-in. I mean that as a compliment.

From The Archives Issue 444: March 28, 1985
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