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Film / Walking Tall (2004)

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Walking Tall is a 2004 remake of the 1973 action 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 2004 remake provides examples of:

  • A-Team Firing:
    • Watkins's deputies in general during the raid on the Sherrif's office.
    • Invoked with Deni, whose job was simply to fire her gun a lot and draw Watkins's attention away long enough for Chris to get the drop on him.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Casino, although the good guys go there too. It's pretty much the only thing in town going on.
  • 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.
  • Boredom Montage: Chris recovering from his near-death experience; he struggles to sleep, endures Ray's raucous laughter while watching television, and awkwardly tries to bond with Pete.
  • Bullet Hole Door: Chris fires his shotgun into the floor to weaken it, then stomps a hole in it big enough for him and Deni 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.
    • The cedar mill that Chris found closed upon walking back to his parents home. Turns out Jay is using it as a rug lab and selling drugs through his casino.
    • Sheriff Watkins running for re-election as Sheriff. Chris later runs against him and later becomes the new sheriff.
  • 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, they overwhelmingly vote him in.
  • 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: Deni spends an entire gunfight in 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.
  • 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 to the face
  • Good Policing, Evil Policing: Chris Vaughn becomes a Cowboy Cop after being voted as town sheriff, beating up his way up the ladder of drug dealers in his town towards the Big Bad and the one time he does the "corrupt cop" thing (smashing the big bad's Porsche's tail light after giving him a warning for said tail light) it's Played for Laughs. In contrast, the entirety of the sheriff's department was in the big bad's pocket and they not only didn't investigate Vaughn's near-death at the hands of the big bad's casino enforcers but they also try to assassinate Vaughn and his family in the final act.
  • 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.
  • 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 sheriff'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 in a staged car accident.
  • Plea Bargain: The prosecution offers Chris a plea deal after his rampage in the casino: three months house arrest and some community service. His attorney rightly points out that this is an amazing deal, considering he basically destroyed the place and seriously injured a bunch of people. Chris rejects it after pointing out that the only reason they offered the deal was to keep him quiet.
  • 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.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Ray
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: After pulling him over and having a chat, Chris warns Hamilton that this is his last warning to get his taillights fixed.
    Hamilton: What's wrong with my taillights?
    Chris: *SMASH* They're broken.
  • 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' 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.
  • Title Drop: Chris's speech during the trial:
    “I grew up in this town. People used to walk tall in this town. They wouldn't have traded the mill for a crooked casino and they wouldn't have stood around while drugs were being sold to kids.”
  • Town with a Dark Secret: It's being kept afloat by drugs manufactured and sold by the owner of a crooked casino.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Chris is fond of Chinese take-out.
  • Tranquil Fury: Chris's second trip to the Casino, where he methodically dismantles Hamilton's entire security staff with a piece of timber.
  • Tyrannical Town Tycoon: Chris Vaughn returns to his Washington hometown to find his family's lumber mill is failing, meth-heads roam the streets, and his boyhood buddy Jay Hamilton runs the casino, which is almost the only thriving enterprise in town. Not only is Hamilton fleecing the locals, but he also clandestinely operates a meth lab, and "owns" the town sheriff.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The judge during Chris' speech, especially when Chris shows his scars. He angrily orders the jury to ignore what they've seen and when the courtroom expresses shock over the scars, he threatens everyone with contempt charges.
  • 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: The Casino, although the good guys go there too. It's pretty much the only thing in town going on.