"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." - Chris Vaughn
release year: 2004
viewing setting: home DVD, 4/19/17 and 12/12/15 and 8/9/12 and 10/1/04
synopsis: A veteran returns to his hometown, finds it full of crime and corruption, and decides to do something about it.
impressions: Pretty good remake. I always thought the original movie was somewhat mired in the "deep South" redneck atmosphere. This version's definitely modernized. The hero is young, a Special Forces veteran who just wants to live a peaceful life in his hometown...but he stands up against a crooked casino and pays a nasty price. Even then, he doesn't get too upset...until the police ignore the crime and then a kid overdoses on drugs obtained from the same people who attacked him before. At that point, we get what we've been waiting for: justice delivered with a 4-by-4 piece of lumber. Oh yeah.
things to watch for: There are four big action scenes, and the first two are good: the initial fight in the casino and then the rage-driven revenge trip to the casino.
something this movie has that no other movie has: bad guys carving a design into someone's chest with a box-opener
acting: The Rock stars in his 4th movie, and I'll repeat what I've said before: he could easily be the next big action star, if he wants. He's got the physique, the fighting skills, the screen presence, and the acting ability. Johnny Knoxville is funny and entertaining as his cocky ex-con friend who ends up being a deputy. Neal McDonough is great as the evil childhood buddy who grew up and took over the town. Kevin Durand is the main evil henchman here, memorable for sneering a lot and being the one who used the box-cutter as mentioned.
early actor appearance alert: the actress who appears for a couple of seconds in the casino, as character "Exotic Beauty", is Cobie Smulders, who went on to become S.H.I.E.L.D. second-in-command Maria Hill in numerous films set i the Marvel Cinematic Universe
final word: Good action/revenge movie and a worthy remake. Ignore all the wimp-written reviews that whine about this movie's simple plot and abundant violence; the movie was intentionally made for people who like simple plot and abundant violence.
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