Brawl in Cell Block 99 Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Review

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Tom Guiry, Don Johnson, Marc Blucas.

Director: S. Craig Zahler

Release date: 20th October 2017


Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn) gets laid off from his job and goes home to find his wife sitting in her car. He orders her into the house and proceeds to destroy her car, ripping the bonnet off and smashing the windows. Their marriage is on a knife edge. Time cuts forward to 18 months later and Bradley has become a drug courier. He and his wife have given their marriage another go and she is pregnant with their child. They live in a massive, expensive house and have a few cars. One day, while on an important and very dangerous pick-up job, things go extremely pear shaped and he is arrested and thrown in jail. He ultimately pleads guilty and is sentenced to seven years behind bars. The prison he goes into, affectionately known as ‘The Fridge’, is fairly low risk and relatively comfortable. Unfortunately for Bradley, events are about to take a turn for the worst and his world will be turned upside down very quickly. How will he handle the earthshattering news and yet survive his prison life?

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Vince Vaughn probably wouldn’t have been my first choice for a role like this, but after seeing the movie, I can definitely see why he was chosen for it. Lean, tall and muscular, Vince Vaughn looks every inch the ex-boxer turned convict. With his shaven head and tattoos, he really does look the part.

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So, I had heard from a few people beforehand that ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’ was *extremely* violent and I went in to see it feeling somewhat prepared for whatever I might see. There is a strong plotline and solid characters in the movie and this endeared me to stick with it and see where the story went. I think I would definitely agree with what I’ve heard about this being a ‘career defining role’ for Vince Vaughn. He seems to put his heart and soul into the character of Bradley and you almost feel sorry for him at some points in the movie, particular when he’s been beaten down so much it almost feels like he’s lost the will to go on.

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I did enjoy the movie but I have to say, the violence in the last hour of it was pretty shocking. It’s not very often that I have to cover my eyes while watching a movie, but for this one I definitely did. I think it’s quite possibly the most violent movie I’ve ever seen… Heads being stamped on and a guy’s eyes literally being pushed into the back of his head, made for pretty sober viewing.

A great movie, but maybe too much graphic violence for my liking. I’d say it will probably go on to become a cult movie in the future.


Overall: 7.5/10




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