Sunday, December 24, 2017

Two Paragraph Review: Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Copyright: RLJE Films
I went in with big expectations when I started watching Brawl in Cell Block 99. S. Craig Zahler, its author, and I really mean author because the man wrote, scored and directed the film, completely mesmerized me with his previous film, Bone Tomahawk. Now, the story of a weird Wild West is exchanged for the universe of drug pushers and the things they willing to do to protect their loved ones. Also, it uses Vince Vaughn in his best form as the main character who finally provided his career with the thing he should have gotten from True Detective.

But, while it’s a fun and gritty movie, Brawl in Cell Block 99 is basically a reskinned Bone Tomahawk. Its first half features a long exposition and plenty of character building, which then drastically switch at one point, landing its protagonist in hell (again). From there, he has to fight to find salvation (again). While this is loose setup, it still feels very repetitive and for me, takes away a lot of points for this otherwise promising weird thriller. Zahler needs to mix it up a bit for his next film because this formula is getting a bit stale.