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Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 6 October 2017 (USA)
1:42 | Trailer

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A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.


S. Craig Zahler


S. Craig Zahler
2,018 ( 118)
4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Vince Vaughn ... Bradley Thomas
Jennifer Carpenter ... Lauren Thomas
Don Johnson ... Warden Tuggs
Udo Kier ... Placid Man
Marc Blucas ... Gil
Dion Mucciacito ... Eleazar
Geno Segers ... Roman
Victor Almanzar ... Pedro
Tom Guiry ... Wilson (as Thomas Guiry)
Willie C. Carpenter ... Lefty
Mustafa Shakir ... Andre
Fred Melamed ... Mr. Irving
Clark Johnson ... Detective Watkins
Devon Windsor ... Jill
Michael Medeiros ... Man with Mismatched Eyes


Bradley Thomas is a hard working man. 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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

6 October 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

99. Blok See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Writer and Director S. Craig Zahler wrote this screenplay before writing Bone Tomahawk (2015) despite the latter being filmed first. See more »


During the brawl scene, when Bradley returns to his cell, the body of the slain guard is nowhere to be seen. However, Bradley informs the Warden that the guard in question "will not answer," implying that the man has not been moved and is in fact dead. See more »


Cinnamon: I promise I can put a great big smile on each of those nuts.
Bradley Thomas: No thanks. I don't want anyone to see their braces.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A cut version was prepared for broadcast purposes in the UK. 44 seconds of "stronger, sadistic violence and injury detail" were removed to secure a 15 certificate. According to the BBFC, it reduces the level and detail of violence across the two climactic sequences and removes an earlier arm break. The theatrical and video releases are uncut with an 18 certificate. See more »


Buddy's Business
Written by Jeff Herriott & S. Craig Zahler
Performed by The O'Jays featuring Eddie Levert & Walter Williams
See more »

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User Reviews

Not exactly a movie for sissies.
24 January 2018 | by peterp-450-298716See all my reviews

"You said you would never work for Gil. So we're both breaking promises today."

Vince Vaughn in a crime movie where he plays a rough-looking drug dealer? You gotta be kidding me. Although he surprised me with an excellent part in "Hacksaw Ridge", I always associate him with feel-good, romantic crap movies with the kind of humor I never laugh about in most cases. Well, I was totally wrong this time. Vince Vaughn is ruthless, mega calm and ultra-brutal in this extreme violent film. Better yet. He's even funny now. Funnier than whatever comedy he played in before. And this thanks to the dryly, humorous remarks he makes sometimes. The moment someone mentions his name again, I'll see that tattooed cross on the back of a bald skull directly in front of me.

Life hasn't been so good for Bradley (Vince Vaughn). After being fired, he finds out that his wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter) is cheating on him. Next he starts working as a drug runner to bring in some money. Before he knows it, he's facing a long prison sentence because of a failed drug deal. And from that moment on, the movie changes into a higher gear. Indeed, the movie wasn't really fast till that moment. Before you even see anything of a prison, you've been watching the screen already for some time. And then it goes from bad to worse for Bradley. His wife is being kidnapped by the leader of the drug gang (who wants to regain his financial loss) and Bradley has to kill an inmate who's locked up in cell 99 in the heavely guarded prison of Red Leaf.

This is without a doubt Vince Vaughn's best acting achievement ever. Finally his impressive body is being used for the right purpose. Relentlessly beating up opponents and transforming them into a pile of crushed human flesh. Something that'll happen regularly in this ultra-violent film. Every time it looks as if Bradley has to lift his immensely heavy limbs and strike a guard or another criminal with devastating force in the face. The result is always repulsive brutal. Seeing a skull bursting open like an overripe tomato or the awareness of what the Korean is going to do with Bradley's wife, may be a bit too much for some. "Brawl in cell block 99" certainly isn't a film for sensitive viewers. But this sadistic violence serves a purpose. Bradley has a specific goal in mind and is therefore forced to take this violent path.

There were a few things in this film that shocked me. The fact that I didn't recognize Don Johnson baffled me. Was it because of that gigantic mustache? Or was it his age (he's already 67 years old)? Or is it just me? And then of course the fact that I'm speechles about the acting of Vince Vaughn, who clearly deviates from his usual acting pattern. I don't think of Vaughn as being one of my favorite actors. But after his performance here, I have to revise my opinion about him. And finally the impression this film made on me. I'm not easily shocked and got my share of extremities used in movies. But this time I was a little bit out of my depth. Somehow the movie messed me up. And that's not necessarily because of the explicit violence. It's the overall feeling. I do know that next time I come across a movie with Vince Vaughn playing in it, it won't be so obvious to just avoid it. He literally knocked himself to the top of my list of "the better" actors.

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