(In theaters, March 2004) Let us be forthwith and say right away that this film’s numerous flaws have few things to do with lead actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He does a rather good job at portraying the wood-packing hero of the story even as the script crumbles around him and the direction can’t keep up to the task. It’s also difficult to say anything bad about the cinematography when Washington State does such a good job at providing gorgeous backdrops. But the script, ow, the script… On the surface, revenge thrillers are a simple thing to write: Beat the snot out of your hero, then have him beat the snot out of the original snot-beaters. But here the script goes everywhere and anywhere, muddling the storyline, lessening the tension, using inappropriate bursts of laughter, transforming characters into plot points and doing nothing with the elements it plays with. Allow me to point out the ridiculous courtroom scene in which The Rock gets acquitted by taking off his shirt; the way a serious drug problem is solved through a funny montage; a no-nudity stripping scene which unexplainably grinds to a halt; a pacifist father who finds inner peace by shooting someone else; a French Connection-inspired car search that serves no purpose; the bare sketch of a romance; a silly mano-a-mano ultimate fight. The list goes on, scarcely helped by overeager “save-this-movie” editing that brings this film under the 80-minutes mark. Ultimately, even if the last half-hour contains a few adequate action sequences, Walking Tall is a mess of a movie whose unblinking apology of vigilantism and police brutality almost acts as a metaphor for American foreign policy. That is, of course, if you believe that “Walking Tall” can be used in the same breath as “metaphor”.