Writer: S Craig Zahler (Screenplay)
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson, Marc Blucas, Tom Guiry, Rob Morgan, udo Keir
Plot: A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.
Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Brutal as They Come
Story: Brawl on Cell Block 99 starts as former addict Bradley Thomas (Vaughn) loses his legit job and learns his wife Lauren (Carpenter) has been cheating on him, after getting through their differences the two are now expecting a baby and Frank is working as a runner for drug dealer.
When a deal goes wrong Bradley ends up in prison serving a 7-year sentence for just trafficking drugs, this is just the beginning of the time in prison when Bradley gets blackmailed by the drug lord which escalates the time Bradley must face and strict warden Tuggs (Johnson) doesn’t make things easy for him.
Thoughts on Brawl on Cell Block 99
Characters – Bradley Thomas is a former alcoholic, he has cleaned himself up trying to live a straight life, but that becomes difficult to make enough money, he starts drug trafficking knowing it can cover the money needed and his build should put off trouble. When he tries to do the right thing during a deal gone bad he ends up in prison, here he must use his boxing training to pay back the man who is blackmailing him. He comes off like a patriot, an honest guy that if you don’t cross he would be a good guy to have around, but you mess with him, he will become your worst enemy. Lauren Thomas is the wife of Bradley, they have been through some rough times, but now they are on better terms expecting a baby, she becomes the victim in the battle between the Bradley and his former employers. Warden Tuggs runs the prison with an iron fist, not willing to let his prisoners have any freedom.
Performances – Vince Vaughn is unlike you have ever seen him before, emotionless while still have moments of wise cracking, but it doesn’t fall into comedy, this could be a career best for Vaughn and easily the right path for a change for him. Jennifer Carpenter is good in her role and it is good to see her on the big screen. Don Johnson enjoys this role where he plays it out wonderfully in the supporting role.
Story – The story follows one of the traditional ones we know, a good guy doing an illegal job ends up having to use his skills to do a job which involves leaving a pile of bodies behind him to get out of the criminal situation he finds himself in. The pacing gives us enough time to develop Bradley to a level we understand each motive he has and the blackmail put on him is the most twisted I think we have ever seen in a film.
Crime – The crime involved is centred around the idea that Bradley does break the law and ends up in prison, here the violence starts as we see how things go from calm to violent in a blink of an eye.
Settings – The settings are used brilliantly because we see the normal life struggle, the illegal life and the two different prisons that Bradley ends up going too.
Final Thoughts – This was a brutally violent movie that checks the boxes for everything he needs to be, Vince Vaughn gives a career best performance and the director follows up Bone Tomahawk perfectly for his fans.
Overall: Wonderful brutal movie people should be seeing.