I didn't see the original "Walking Tall." I was "out of town at the time," I explained in my review of "Part Two Walking Tall." Sounds reasonable. But I suspect the earlier film was tilted more toward populism and less toward superhero violence than the new "Walking Tall," which is "dedicated to the memory of Buford Pusser" but turns the story into a cartoon of retribution and revenge.
The Rock stars, as a war hero named Chris Vaughn who returns to his Southern hometown and finds that the mill has closed, a casino has opened, and kids are addicted to drugs. His character is named Chris Vaughn and not Buford Pusser, possibly because The Rock, having gone to a great deal of trouble to adopt a name both simple and authoritative, could not envision himself being called "Buford" or "Sheriff Pusser" for any amount of money.
He finds that an old high school nemesis named Jay Hamilton Jr. (Neal McDonough) has closed the mill, opened the casino and manufactures the drugs. We know Jay is the villain because he has that close-cropped curly peroxided hair that works like a name tag that says "Hi! I'm the Villain!" Outraged by the corruption that has descended upon his town, Vaughn picks up the famous Buford Pusser Model Oak Club, smashes up the casino, defends himself in court, and makes such an impassioned speech that he has soon been elected sheriff.
I love those movie trials in which cases are settled not according to guilt and innocence and the law, but according to who is really right and deserves to go free.