“Walking Tall” is a story about standing up for what is right in the face of overwhelming corruption. In the original film, our hero Buford Pusser (Joe Don Baker) is an ex-marine / ex-wrestler who returns to his boyhood home, family in tow, only to find the town now corrupted by a group of folks who run crooked gambling facility, a prostitution ring and illegal liquor sales (yes they're quite busy). Pusser survives a brutal attack and decides that becoming sheriff is the only way to fight this evil faction. It’s a solid film that even touches on race relations at the time, but is also tragic considering how much our lead character must sacrifice for the battle to ultimately be won.
In the original film, the character is an ex wrestler, so who better to star in the remake then a wrestler. Enter Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; a WWE wrestling superstar looking to break into the film world with the right acting vehicle. The 2004 remake is a great character piece for him, with the right amount of action and simplified story he’s able to carry. Accompanied by Johnny Knoxville and opposed by Neal McDonough, this cemented “The Rock” as a movie star capable of making more then just your average B film. Although the movie flies by at a brisk 90 minutes, it lacks the conviction and brutality of the original film.
Winner: Walking Tall (1973)