A 1973 pulp action flick starring Joe Don Baker, loosely based
on the story of Buford Pusser
, the Sherrif of McNairy County, Tennessee from 1964 to 1970. Later remade into a 2004 movie starring Dwayne Johnson
. In the remake, Chris Vaughn returns home from the Army to find that things have changed since he left his hometown.
The 1973 original provides examples of:
- Badass: Buford, natch.
- Batter Up: Buford metes out some good old fashioned, bone-breakin' justice with a massive homemade shillelagh.
- Boom, Headshot: Pauline is killed this way, and the effect is surprisingly graphic for a low-budget 70's movie.
- Dirty Cop: The former Sheriff, along with one deputy we later discover to be on the take.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Sheriff Pusser at first refuses to carry a gun because his wife doesn't approve.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: The old Sheriff's car a'splodes from under the hood simply by running off the road into a river bank. Before it crashes, even!
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The bad guys offer Deputy Grady more than his lifetime salary to turn on Buford, but he flatly refuses.
- Let's Get Dangerous: When Mrs. Pusser agrees to let her husband start packing heat, it is on.
- Noble Bigot: Buford has no reservations about referring to the eight innocents poisoned by tainted moonshine as "niggers," but he is determined to punish those responsible for their deaths just the same, something he notes the old Sheriff would have let slide for the victims "not being his favorite color."
- Protected by a Child: After an ambush leaves Buford seriously injured and his wife dead, his young son stands watch in his daddy's hospital room with a .410 shotgun.
- Stuffed In The Fridge: Buford's wife Pauline is suddenly cut down in an ambush meant for him, in a scene tragically mirroring what happened in Real Life.
The 2004 remake provides examples of:
- An Axe to Grind: Hamilton. Appropriate, given that his father used to run the lumber mill.
- Asshole Victim: Booth
- Ax-Crazy: Hamilton at the lumber mill.
- A-Team Firing:
- Watkins's deputies in general during the raid on the Sherrif's office.
- Invoked with Dani, whose job was simply to fire her gun a lot and draw Watkins' attention away long enough for Chris to get the drop on him.
- Bad Ass: Chris Vaughn
- Batter Up: Chris opts against taking a gun into the casino, and instead uses a 4x4 as an Improvised Weapon. He later has it made into a makeshift bat.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Big Bad Jay Hamilton, played by Neil McDonough.
- Bullet Hole Door: Chris fires his shotgun into the floor to weaken it, then stomps a hole in it big enough for him and Dani to escape into the crawlspace below.
- Chekhov's Gun: The shotgun from Chris's dad's garage. Played With, in that Chris elects to use a 4x4 for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and that his dad refuses to use the gun at all until he uses it to save Chris and Ray from one of the bad guys after they invade his home.
- Clean Up The Town: Chris's goal in running for Sheriff. When the townspeople see what Hamilton's men did to him, and learn that Watkins refused to investigate it.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted in Chris's first fight at the casino when the guards overwhelm him. Played straight during his second visit, once he is motivated by a healthy dose of Tranquil Fury. Played straight again during the third fight at the Sheriff's office and the Vaughn residence.
- Cowboy Cop: Chris and Ray. It helps that they're the only cops in town.
- Dirty Cop:
- Fan Disservice: Chris, takes off his shirt in court to show the very nasty scars from when Booth sliced him open with a box cutter. The jury is lamely instructed by the judge to disregard what they saw.
- Fanservice: Dani spends an entire gunfight in a pair of blue jeans and a bra.
- Faux Affably Evil: Hamilton. He pretends to still consider Chris a friend, even after they are clearly on opposing sides.
- Foe Yay: When Ray is frisking Booth.
Ray: You been working out?
- Foreshadowing: We see some kids offering Chris's nephew pot early on. Later in the movie, he overdoses on crystal meth.
- Frying Pan of Doom: Ray takes out one of the bad guys with a cast iron pan ot the face
- Gonna Fly Now Montage: Played With: We get a montage of Chris laid up on the couch watching TV with Ray and his nephew. Eventually we begin to see clips mixed in of him doing situps once he has had time to recover from his injuries.
- Groin Attack: Towards the end of Ray's drawn out brawl with one of the bad guys
- Holding the Floor: Chris makes little attempt to actually defend himself in court for walking into the casino and beating the corrupt security guards senseless, and instead shows off the scars he received earlier and announces his intention to run for Sheriff.
- Hollywood Law: It's remarkable that Chris's case wasn't declared a mistrial after his (relatively minor) Courtroom Antics. It is possible that the judge let it go (despite his protests otherwise) because of how plainly corrupt Sheriff Watkins was.
- His Name Is...: Averted, barely. Booth dies within moments of telling Chris where Hamilton's drug operation is run from.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Not as much as the main gunfight, but the secondary one at the Vaughn home definitely qualifies. Ray and one of Hamilton's mooks have a firefight in the living room that is more comical than intense because it's clear that both guys suck at shooting a gun.
- Improvised Weapon User: Chris, Ray, and Hamilton all end up using whatever they have at hand in fights, ranging from pieces of lumber, to frying pans, to a potato peeler.
- Interesting Situation Duel: The final fight happens in the old wood mill.
- Intimidation Demonstration: Booth, handcuffed to a chair, warns Chris and Ray that things will get... ugly. Then barks at them. Chris and Ray aren't impressed.
- It Works Better with Bullets: Ray's shotgun is loaded, but after he fires the first shot, he forgets that the Dramatic Gun Cock is required after every shot when you are using a pump-action shotgun.
- Knife Nut: Booth
- Lumber Mill Mayhem: The climax takes place in and outside the town's defunct lumber mill, as the bad guy tries to kill the hero with an axe he took out of the workshop.
- Membership Token: The Special Forces medallion that Chris wears. Booth steals it from him during their first fight, and then Chris takes it back during the next one.
- More Dakka: Watkins and his fellow former deputies unload on the sherrif's office with machine guns after Chris arrests Booth. They don't manage to hit anything for most of the several minutes of constant gunfire, aside from Booth. And they didn't even manage to off him quickly enough.
- Mythology Gag: Of a sort. Sheriff Watkins's predecessor died in a car accident, just as the Real Life Buford Pusser was. In Pusser's case, he had a long list of enemies and accusations (never confirmed) were made that he was murdered.
- Perp Sweating: Ray and Chris try to get Booth to talk by forcibly dismantling his pickup truck with a power saw. It doesn't work.
- Pre-emptive Declaration: After pulling him over and having a chat, Chris warns Hamilton that this is his last warning to get his taillight fixed.
- Prison Rape: Played for laughs, as Chris and Ray joke that this is the villain's probable fate.
Ray: I bet he's blowing on somebody's dice right now.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Chris's nephew overdoses on Crystal Meth that his friends got from the casino, Chris tears the place apart with a 4x4, along with the security guards.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: After Chris tears apart Hamilton's casino, the police try to paint him as one of these, rather than address his claims that the staff were selling drugs to minors.
- Town with a Dark Secret
- Tranquil Fury: Chris's second trip to the Casino, where he methodically dismantles Hamilton's entire security staff with a piece of timber.
- Watch the Paint Job: Booth's truck is torn to pieces by Ray and Chris to make sure he doesn't have drugs concealed in it. Chris's truck is blown up the next morning.
- We Used to Be Friends: Chris and Hamilton. Interestingly, it's the Villain who dwells on this rather than The Hero.
Hamilton: Hey Chris, remember when we used to play hide and seek in here?
- Wretched Hive / Bad-Guy Bar: The Casino, although the good guys go there too. It's pretty much the only thing in town going on.