The gloomy 1970s were a good time for dark, bloody, man-against-tall-odds dramas. Two of the more successful movies in this genre were Phil Karlson’s cult classic Walking Tall and Sam Peckinpah’s controversial (at the time, anyway) Straw Dogs. Now that we live in the Age of the Remake, over the last few years we’ve inevitably gotten shiny new versions of both.
The two films feature loner protagonists, overmatched against hostile forces much better equipped to prevail in a fight. In the case of Walking Tall, Iraqi war vet Chris Vaughn (Dwayne Johnson, or “The Rock” to fans of his pro wrestling career) squares off against an evil casino owner and the minions he’s been able to corrupt with his money. Meanwhile, nerdy Straw Dogs protagonist David Sumner (James Marsden) has to contend with a pack of violent rednecks including both Alexander Skarsgard (Zoolander, TV’s True Blood) and the ever-volatile James Woods, either of whom would be a scary opponent all by himself. […]