I finally got around to seeing Brawl in Cell Block 99 after noticing it’s available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. This is director S. Craig Zahler’s follow-up to Bone Tomahawk. I was expecting the same level of extreme violence in this film after seeing the cannibal showdown at the end of Bone Tomahawk, Cell Block 99 lives up to it. Bone Tomahawk is more of a horror film where the heroes are the ones being picked off. Cell Block 99 flips the situation and turns it into something more enjoyable. The sequences play out similar to films like John Wick or Equalizer where we follow an unstoppable hero.
The film stars Vince Vaughn as a stone-faced boxer turned criminal. It echoes back to his performance in True Detective season 2—but with a much better script. His character has a ruthlessly efficient method of disabling anyone who comes in his way. It often results in someone’s head getting smashed in while they’re on the floor. It reminded me a bit of the Drive head smashing sequence—which was supposedly influenced by Gaspar Noe.
I’ll be looking out for Vince Vaughn’s return in Zahler’s next cop film—Dragged Across Concrete—sometime in 2018. I’d imagine there’s going to be some kind of American History X curb stomp.