Brawl in Cell Block 99             review by Bobby Blakey

Vince Vaughn has made a name for himself with his sarcastic comedic roles, but he has showcased his acting chops in some dramas over the years as well. His latest Brawl in Cell Block 99 looks to take him into a new type of role complete with an intense bald new look and co-stars Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson, and Udo Kier, but does it live up to the hype of intensity or will it be a fight not worth trying?

The Brawl in Cell Block 99 follows Bradley Thomas who is a hard working man, but after him and his wife's miscarriage they admit the spark isn't there anymore and decide to have a baby. After being fired from his job, he turns to his friend who hires him as a drug dealer. A trade goes bad and he ends up in prison, the only problem is that a gang has kidnapped his wife and they will do an experimental operation on the baby unless Thomas kills one of the inmates in cell block 99. Bradley will not stop at anything until his wife is safe again. I had heard so many great things about this movie and the trailer looked really good so I was eager to check it out. Going into the movie I was expecting something pretty violent from what I had heard and it does deliver, but you have to wait until the second half of the movie.

The first half of the movie is methodically slow as it builds the character and his situation. There are some interesting choices with the story here and while still really good, it does creep along at a pretty slow pace. Vince Vaughn offers up a a different kind of brooding performance than usual in the best way possible. He is clearly a man with an anger issue and emotional struggle who only knows one way to solve his issues and its with violence. Once we get to the prison portions of the film it shifts gears and offers up a lot more violence and insanity without ever going full action. The fights are far from high octane bad ass choreography, but instead they are simplistic and brutal with a sense to realism which is perfect for this story.

This is a gritty crime action thriller that delivers something a bit different than the norm and I loved it for that. This is the same reason that this film may not work for some, but try to stick it out and enjoy the violence and blood flow.   

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