We all learned from The Wire that you serve two days in a prison sentence: the day you go in and the day you get out. What happens in between doesn’t matter. It’s a fitting metaphor for Vince Vaughn since only two films in his filmography are worth your time: the film that got him in (Swingers) and the film that got him out (Brawl in Cell Block 99).
After watching the perfect movie adaptation of a modern first person shooter, the quick talking character Vaughn has played for the past two decades in every film, including the lack of range that helped turn season 2 of True Detective in to an even more fertile, heaping splatter of diarrhea, is gone. One can almost imagine director S. Craig Zahler reminding Vaughn that he’s not allowed to fucking smile, be cutesy, and that only rookies use guns when they have hands to kill with while he dons a full cross tattoo on the back of his shaved noggin. And it works. And Vaughn is now the star of the best action flick of 2017.
So where is the buzz about this? If John Wick has such a devout following, then I call upon and summon his internet followers to watch this. Vaughn makes Keanu resemble that pussy film by Key and Peele by taking on an every man persona of a tow truck driver named Bradley (don’t call him Brad- seriously) that falls on hard times. He tells his wife (Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter) that he’s sick of picking the wrong side once he’s laid off. After talking to Gil, he’s set up as a driver to transport all manners of drugs. The money let’s Bradley buy a new car and home. Everything is perfect until Gil tries to establish a new partnership to create lines in to Mexico. That’s when things go wrong.
Once jailed, Bradley finds his legal, superior doppelgänger in Warden Tuggs (a brilliant Don Johnson). I won’t say too much more except that Gil’s failed attempt at a partnership gives Bradley plenty of motivation to go on an unrivaled killing spree on the inside. Bradley’s explanation? When Bradley towers over an inmate and says, “I’m a psychotic,” without expression, you’ll believe him. What he goes on to do to those that wronged him is both laugh out loud in shock as well as gruesome to the nth degree of schlock. At one point Vaughn’s Bradley uses a shoe to beat a prison guard beyond life and, at another point, he recalls that some believe that if one is decapitated that one may remember the final 10 seconds of one’s life before he stomps off an inmate’s head and let’s it roll in to a prison toilet. More specifically, Brawl in Cell Block 99 is what would happen if Taken were to be directed by Mel Gibson and Quentin Tarantino while they stayed up all night doing lines of coke off of Margot Robbie’s fart box. The outcome shouldn’t have been this glorious. But after seeing what Vaughn, Johnson, Carpenter, and Zahler came together to perfect, you’ll be clamoring for every director to have Margot drop her drawers to partake of said sweet ass candy.