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One Movie Punch

Jan 3, 2018

Hey, do you like neo-exploitation films that utilize mature themes, brutal violence, and a protagonist in a continuous downward spiral? Well, then I have just the film for you: “Brawl in Cell Block 99” (2017).

Vince Vaughn stars as Bradley Thomas, a former boxer and recovering alcoholic trying to do right by his life and his marriage. After losing his job and learning his wife Lauren (played by Jennifer Carpenter) was cheating on him, Bradley decides to take a job running drugs to make a better life for them, and to hopefully bring a child into this world.”

However, after a drug run goes bad with a new client, Bradley is sent to prison for seven years, just 90 days before the birth of their daughter. Intending to live his life quietly in prison, a representative of the new client visits him in jail, threating his wife and their unborn child unless he gets transferred to a specific maximum security prison and cell block, run by Warden Tuggs, played by Don Johnson, to kill an inmate.”

“Brawl in Cell Block 99” (2017) is a deceptively simple movie full of surprises, both subtle and direct. Writer and Director S. Craig Zahler creates a slow burn, taking his time getting to the prison, building the characters and suspense, and then finally delivering on the carnage, all backed by classic and modern soul tunes.”

I loved nearly everything about this film, but there are some really bad practical effects that made their way into the film, which once seen cannot be unseen. Perhaps this was intended as a further homage to the exploitation genre, and their sometimes gaudy practical effects, but it remains the only major problem with the film, and one I am more than willing to look over. 


Metacritic: 79/100

One Movie Punch: 8.0/10

“Brawl in Cell Block 99” (2017) is available for purchase wherever you enjoy movies.