Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kevin Sorbo Week: Walking Tall- The Payback

Hey, you're not Samoan.  When The Rock was cast as the lead in a remake of Walking Tall, people were a bit confused.  He's not white, fat and/or Southern.  What's the deal, yo?!?  The film was pretty good though, maintaining the same basic premise and involving some good board-on-man action.  A few years later, a pair of sequels were made...Direct-to-DVD.  Is The Rock in it?  No.  He just doesn't do sequels often, given that he's turned down two for The Scorpion King and now one for The Tooth Fairy (yes, it's going to happen!). In his place, Kevin Sorbo.  Well, it is his week (save for the next movie) after all!  To be fair, he is a much closer-looking actor to Joe Don Baker or Bo Svenson.  It is kind of random though.  Further mucking the whole scenario up is the fact that both sequels were made and released in 2007, each featuring subtitles alongside the Walking Tall title.  Good luck trying to sort out which one is first.  There's not a huge issue if you get them mixed I did, but my point remains the same.  The first film features Sorbo's quest to become  Sheriff in the wake of a family death.  Will he get his titular Payback?  To find out, read on...
In a small town outside of Dallas, a man tries to take over a gas station.  The wounded owner has only one recourse- blowing the whole thing up!
It's all part of a conspiracy by a group of locals and a businessman- referred to once as the Redneck Mafia- to buy up all the land and take over.  Capitalism!!!
The Sheriff- Sorbo's dad- tries to get the F.B.I. to help him out.  They won't.  As an authority figure in a movie like this, he has to know that he's going to die, right?
Yeah, that happened.  I just hope that his son will take this lying down.  What?  He's not?  I'm shocked!
The gang try to control the town further by getting the leader's brother appointed Sheriff.  That would seem bad, except for the fact that Sorbo is made Sheriff with no election or choice.  How dare what our heroes did.
The businessman tries to escalate things by just shooting the bad guy's brother.  By the way, the businessman is never punished for this- I'm just saying.
The villain takes the death of his brother badly, especially when Sorbo is framed- badly- for the murder.  The danger comes home...since they had to use the house for both films anyhow.
The finale takes place at a truck yard- which also shows up in the sequel- and it ends with a quick-draw of shotguns.  No stick?  The morale- murder is the answer, as long as you're doing it last.  The End.
Eh, it could be worse.  Honestly, this film is not bad.  It's very-generic though.  Sorbo doesn't do a whole lot to give his character, well, character.  It's written in a very basic manner and doesn't do much to make the character all that interesting.  His evolution from outsider to Sheriff is an odd one.  He just suddenly decides to fight back against the bad guys when they won't pay for a beer.  That's all it took?  Other than that, the movie has some decent action in it.  The finale is framed nicely and I can't really complain about much.  Oh yeah, there's a rape scene in the movie...because that was necessary.  The best part- it's never brought up in the sequel.  Dark, random and pointless- a trifecta!  For Direct-to-DVD fare, you can do far worse.  Hell, half of my stuff seems to be that, so I would know.  Take us away, Kevin Sorbo's Horse-Riding Double...
Up next, Mondo Bizarro celebrates a shit ton of posts (actually 1,700).  When in doubt, review a remake that nobody can actually remember exists.  Stay tuned...

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