Critic Reviews



Based on 21 critic reviews provided by
It’s Vaughn’s caged-beast charisma (that bounces off the screen long before he is actually caged) and way with a wink or a pithy putdown that keeps us riveted through the substantial sections of the film where heads remain, for the time being, unstomped.
Equally remarkable and counterintuitive is Vaughn’s performance. He pulls a Bruce Willis here, shaving his head and substituting intimidating stillness for his trademark motormouthed hyperactivity. The transformation suits him surprisingly well.
Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a midnight movie to relish.
It’s the rare movie that truly evokes the grindhouse ’70s, because it means everything it’s doing. It’s exploitation made with vicious sincerity.
Brawl in Cell Block 99 rarely drags, even when delivering exposition, and the economy of the storytelling is as efficiently brutal as the eventual skull-crackings.
Vaughn is so committed and so unrecognizable here, he actually convinces his rapt audience that a murderous rampage through the penitentiary system is a brilliant idea.
While Brawl in Cell Block 99 remains gripping and unpredictable throughout, the two-and-a-quarter-hour running time does feel a tad bloated, and the movie might benefit from being trimmed by 20 minutes or so into a tauter edit.
Brawl in Cell Block 99 unleashes a fascinating gamble, blending the grimy aesthetic of a one-note action movie with undercurrents of blue-collar frustration. It doesn’t quite succeed at fusing those two elements, but it’s further proof of a filmmaking sensibility willing to push beyond the presumed barriers of formula.
Zahler’s film is entertaining, incorrigible and borderline incoherent – it is the violent drunk at the party, liable to lash out.
Vaughn brings a tenderness to the role of a man forced into animal violence for the sake of love and the miracle of birth, and the rangy anarchy of Zahler’s deeply kooky film gets under the skin at times. But in the end, you wish some big bad studio boss had been there to cut this director’s cut.

More Critic Reviews

See all external reviews for Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) »

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Reviews | User Ratings | External Reviews