Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie review

Imagine a WWE match on a movie screen

Published April 5, 2004

Walkin Tall
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s character gets himself elected sheriff to fight crime in his hometown in Walking Tall.

Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

Walking Tall

Rating: PG-13

Summary: This film is loosely inspired by a true story of a small-town sheriff. Chris Vaughn (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is a former Army Special Forces officer who returns to his hometown after a long stint of duty out of the country. His father's cedar mill, once the mainstay of the local economy, has been shut down, and a new casino is serving as the moneymaker. The casino is owned by Chris' corrupt former friend, Jay Hamilton (Neal McDonough), who has hired a crack crew of "security" guards to help him run the place. When Chris discovers drug trafficking, brutality and sex going on behind the casino doors, he sets out to stop it, with his only help coming from a lethal 2 by 4 he wields from the back of his pickup.

My View: This film flies by! It is amazingly short, almost too short, at 75 minutes. Don't look for a lot of depth, because you won't find it. The majority of this film is fast-paced and action-packed, and the action is quite violent. The movie doesn't hesitate to graphically depict brutal fight sequences. The Rock is perfect in this kind of role, though. He is very entertaining to watch. He has great star quality that probably developed during his years as a professional wrestler. It is part comedy and part macho "don't mess with me" attitude. This is a very fun movie, despite the violence, if you watch it the way you would watch a pro wrestling match: cheering on the Rock as if he were about to pile drive his opponent.

Recommendations: This is another film that pushes the limit of the PG-13 rating. Its recurring sexual encounters and gory fights make it deserving of an R, except there is no nudity. It is definitely a film worth catching if you are a teenage guy, but it is not appropriate for those under 14.

Grade: B

Billy Norris, 16, is in 10th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified April 2, 2004, 13:17:24]

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