Stephen Downing

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Walking Tall (1973) Review


Very Good
Joe Don Baker plays the "based on a true story" sheriff of a small Tennessee town, Buford Pusser, who cleans up the burg of gambling kingpins, whores, and murderers with the aid of a four-foot long cudgel and a style of justice not often seen in the days of the ACLU. (Illegal search and siezure? Police brutality? No problem!) Walking Tall spawned two sequels, a TV series, and a remake (30 years later!). Joe Don Baker pioneered the "hixploitation" genre with his performance here, and the film deserves credit for that. But don't forget the exploitation side of the film, which makes for some cheesy fights, cheesy one-liners, and a gaggle of cheesy villains. Still, there's no denying the power of Baker and his club.
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