TROUBLE CITY

Review: ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’

Reviews, Pop CultureAndrew HawkinsComment

Nick wasn’t kidding about the Riki-Oh moments in this movie. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is the newest film from S. “Bone Tomahawk” Craig Zahler. It’s a brutal, harsh and uncompromising look at one man’s struggle to irk out a decent living only to have his world come down around him. That man also just so happens to be played by Vince Vaughn doing some of the best work of his career.

 Such a better pairing than 'Wedding Crashers'

Such a better pairing than 'Wedding Crashers'

Brawl in Cell Block 99 starts off with an average everyday schmo named Bradley getting let go from his job. He goes home to find his wife has cheated on him, and that sets the plot in motion. What happens next involves a drug run gone bad, multiple fights behind bars and a showdown that marks one of the best prison standoffs we’ve seen on screen in years. This is a damn good movie.

S. Craig Zahler’s sophomore directorial effort is fantastic. This is a movie that almost effortlessly draws you into its subdued yet hyper-violent reality. There isn’t a single scene where a character questions the almost super strength of Vince Vaughn’s everyman Bradley. The more I think about how Brawl presents its story and events, the more I appreciate just how real yet fantastic it all is.

 Don Johnson playing THAT kind of prison warden.

Don Johnson playing THAT kind of prison warden.

Vaughn is fantastic here and the story he goes through hits hard. Major props go to Jennifer Carpenter playing Bradley’s wife Lauren, and Don Johnson is perfect as the black glove wearing, churchill cigar smoking Warden Tuggs. This one is getting rave reviews from everyone who gives it a watch and I highly recommend putting this high in the VOD queue. It’s one of the year’s best.

 Out now on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray

Out now on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray