Wednesday, January 24, 2018

REVIEW: Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)


I watched Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) last night. It starred Vince Vaughan, cast against type IMO, and written/directed by S. Craig Zahler, best known prior as the writer/director of Bone Tomahawk. Vaughan played a character who is hardcore, brutal and uncompromising. He had his own principles/rules/code and he never broke them even when it was prudent to do so for his own good as well as for his wife. His portrayal had this vibe which reminded me somewhat of Javier Bardem's Oscar-winning performance of Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men.

The movie is a throwback to the grindhouse prison/payback films of the 1970s. At a running time of 2:12, it may be a tad long and the beginning was slow but necessary IMO to establish his character.
It's very violent, so for those members with young stickgrapplers, best NOT to watch with them.

Good movie. Won't be for everyone.


  • During a Q & A at TIFF, the producers commented that the destruction of the car was done by Vince Vaughn himself. The car parts were real and were set up in a way that Vaughn wouldn't hurt himself badly.
  • Vince Vaughn put on 15lbs of muscle and trained as a boxer for 3 months prior to walking on set. Vaughn himself stated that this made the fight choreography much easier to learn.
  • The prosthetic effects were made to look like the 70's style grind house effects.
  • Director S. Craig Zahler wrote this screenplay before writing Bone Tomahawk despite the latter being filmed first.
  • Upon first arriving at the prison, two separate prisoners make reference to a prison in Austria. They are most likely referring to Justice Center Leoben which has been recognized as one of the "nicest" prisons in the world due to its modern and luxurious architecture and furniture.



back to top
Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps