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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is close to an R for extreme and graphic violence and very strong language. Characters are drug dealers and a young boy smokes marijuana and takes crystal meth. Characters drink and smoke. There are scenes in a casino including scantily-clad dancers. There is a non-explicit sexual situation.
What's the story?
This remake begins as hulking Chris Vaughn (The Rock) comes home to find that the mill has been closed, the old sheriff has died, and the town is now dominated by a casino. Vaughn's nephew (Khleo Thomas) has been buying drugs at the casino. So Vaughn takes a cedar plank to the casino and smashes up the slot machines and many of the people who work there. When he is put on trial, he does not deny what he did. But he tells the jury that if they acquit him, he'll run for sheriff and clean up the town.
Is it any good?
The original 1973 movie with Joe Don Baker teetered on the brink of vigilantism; this remake produced by World Wrestling Entertainment unhesitatingly dives in with a triple gainer. Yes, they know how to stage fights, though the battles in this WALKING TALL are more intense and graphic than the MPAA normally permits in a PG-13. The story requires a level of credibility and sympathy for the characters that it cannot come close to earning. Instead, it just assumes it, dissipating whatever built-in goodwill any movie about beating the bad guys should generate.
The Rock has a great deal of charm, and Johnny Knoxville brings a wry warmth to the standard best friend role. But in a telling detail about the crude-ifying of this story, instead of the sweet wife in the original movie, Vaughn gets a stripper girlfriend. We're supposed to cheer for Vaughn when he breaks the law just because he's on the side of the good guys, but a battle inside or outside the ring has to feel a little bit fair and this one just doesn't. It's not a good sign when you start to feel sorry for the bad guys. And as for the dialogue -- I think "I put down my gun for good" has to be just behind "I'll be right back" as the top candidates for the "movie words spoken just so they can almost immediately be wrong" award.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: April 2, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: September 28, 2004
- Cast: Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough
- Director: Kevin Bray
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of intense violence, sexual content, drug material and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.