Title: Brawl in Cell Block 99
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson
Runtime: 2 hr 12 mins
What It Is: After losing his job Bradley Thomas (Vaughn) begins running drugs for an acquaintance of his Gil (Marc Blucas). When a drop goes awry and leaves an associate of a powerful cartel leader named Eleazar (Dion Mucciacito) dead he also ends up getting caught. Because of this betrayal, Eleazar has captured Bradley’s wife Lauren (Carpenter) and has plans for her and their unborn child. Now Bradley must get into a high-security prison who’s warden lacks a moral compass and murder the man he’s been asked to.
What We Think: S. Craig Zahler once again makes a brutal and visceral piece of cinema that is wholly original and absolutely fantastic to watch. This is the best Vaughn has ever been…literally. His previous film Bone Tomahawk really was a great spin on the Western genre. It was also a film I absolutely gloated upon. Strong acting and enough surprises in the level of violence make this a treat for everyone who likes prison films, and or extreme violence. I know at least one person. I really want Vaughn to do more interesting work like this and Zahler should keep transcending different genres. Perhaps next time a bloody romcom?
Our Grade: A, Certainly a surprise and a film that is ridiculous in quality. It’s a years best but maybe not QUITE good enough for the top ten of the year. With its simple premise and great third act, this one has all the tools to please most audiences. I think that the level of violence may be too much for some and for those I say suck it up there’s a really good narrative in here and you need to pay attention to it!