REVIEW: Brawl In Cell Block 99 (2017) | ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Brawl In Cell Block 99 (2017)

Rated: R
Run Time: 132 Mins
What To Expect: A masterpiece, ‘Bradley Smith’ is now a name that’ll go alongside Paul Kersey, John Matrix and Rambo

This type of movie only shows up once in a decade or so, shit, maybe even once a generation.  A film that fires on all cylinders and never misses a note.  This is, probably, the manliest prison movie ever made.  It may not quite be the best, but it sure as fuck is the manliest.  And that is what we are here for.  I didn’t know if S. Craig Zahler could ever outdo Bone Tomahawk, or if Vince Vaughn could outdo Hacksaw Ridge.  This one is better than both.  Now, ‘Bradley Smith’ is probably going to become legendary, a meme and second nature avatar.

Vaughn is Bradley, a down on his luck mechanic with a short fuse and strong fighting skills.  With a baby on the way with wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter), Bradley has to put some money in the bank and uses his skills as a drug runner.  Obviously, things go south and he gets put in jail, where he must do things against his will, blackmailed.  To say more about the story would spoil it, for those who have not seen this masterpiece yet.

The film is extraordinary, in that each minute is better than the last.  Zahler knows how to not waste a minute of screenplay or film time, and also knows the art of subtlety as well as other masters of the craft like David Chase.  For instance, scenes where Vaughn is simply driving around have tension, because you genuinely don’t know what is going to happen, given the violent lunacy that came prior.  Scenes like this build towards the third act, where Vaughn is in the darkest prison hole in the world, ran by the ruthless warden (Don Johnson).

The film escalates its violence beyond belief, mixed with Zahler’s trademark black humor — Zahler laces the whole thing with wise ass, salty, subtle dialogue that Quentin Tarantino has long since lost the knack for.  And Vaughn delivers with deadpan expertise.  I gotta tell you, the fight between Vaughn and the martial artist at the end of this show was one of the most hilarious fucking things I’ve ever seen in a movie.  All filmed in a lucid manner too, these AAA+ fight scenes, even in awkward places like narrow dark hallways, were completed by a directorial and editing expert.  The fight scenes are so good you won’t even be able to chew food that is in your mouth while watching them, such will be your slack jawedness!

I think we said something earlier this year, that the amazing Shot Caller would not be beaten, especially as a prison movie.  Well, this, for certain, will not be beaten.  Gentlemen, this thing is damned astonishing!


  1. Avatar

    French Predator

    October 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    This flick is fucking awesome, when you think the next Zhaler flick will involve MEL and VINCE ! It’s already the best flick of 2018.

    • The Night Rider

      The Night Rider

      October 20, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      The mind boggles. This Zahler guy is a prodigy.

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        October 23, 2017 at 5:42 am

        This wont make a dent in the box office. They made a cheap film, no ambition!

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      Eric Hutchison

      October 21, 2017 at 6:30 am

      Hell yeah, and Don Johnson is going to be in that one too!

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      Barney Ross

      October 23, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Wow the hype is fucking hardcore need to see it now! I always thought he was great in Wedding Crasher and was awesome in Hacksaw Ridge!! Good to see him in badass films now!

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    October 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I’m in the middle of watching this right now. I didn’t read all of the review but I just looked at the score. It’s got me excited to finish it when I have the opportunity. It’s really awesome to see you give a movie at 10/10!

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    October 21, 2017 at 1:16 am

    And here I was thinking filmmakers and films like these don’t exist anymore…
    Zahler is the real deal.

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      Eric Hutchison

      October 21, 2017 at 6:33 am

      They exist, but Hollywood doesn’t want to give them to the budget or the time of day. They just want to keep rolling out cookie cutter crap full of CGI for the mindless masses.

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    October 21, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Saw this on its final day at my local theater – unforgettable.

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    October 21, 2017 at 1:33 am

    Indie movies and directors are where the art and talent are now

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    October 21, 2017 at 1:36 am

    For this era, it’s a 10/10 masterpiece. Just a shame that we won’t get a sequel

    • Avatar

      Eric Hutchison

      October 21, 2017 at 6:32 am

      That’s fine by me. Sequels are usually crap anyway. Sometimes they’re great, but typically not.

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    Mucho Macho

    October 21, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Great fuckin’ review bro!
    I need to watch this movie.
    Dont know when but I will as soon as I can

  8. Avatar

    Mucho Macho

    October 21, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Vaughn proves good things happen when you hang with Lord Gibson

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      Eric Hutchison

      October 21, 2017 at 6:31 am

      Vince Vaughn has figured it out. I used to not be a fan of his, but he’s winning me over.

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        Mucho Macho

        October 21, 2017 at 8:10 am

        To be honest I always been a fan of the guy, maybe not of everything he has done but I’ve been a fan of his since he started in the 90s. “Swingers” was good.

        The thing is in the 2000s Vaughn started to go Full Tilt into comedies but early in his career he did a lot of interesting projects, even smaller films like the following ones.
        Clay pigeons from 1998

        A former gf of mine used to love this movie.This was ” Heartthrob Vince Vaughn”..LOL
        From 1999, “Cool Dry Place”

        & here is a clip of small independent movie he did with Ed Harris in the year 2001 the movie was titled “Prime Gig ”

        I think recently these past few years he just has been going back to his roots a little bit more that’s all.
        Cuz to a lot of people or most people for that matter, he’s mostly the comedian guy.

      • The Night Rider

        The Night Rider

        October 21, 2017 at 11:56 am

        Same here, never cared too much about Vaughn one way or the other until recently.

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          Barney Ross

          October 23, 2017 at 3:33 pm

          Watch Wedding Crasher hilarious shit man!

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    October 21, 2017 at 3:09 am

    Finished it! This. Movie. Was. Nuts. At the end!

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    October 21, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Wow sounds like I need to see this one! I just got done watching Bernthal’s Punisher waste a bunch of guys in one of the best prison fights I’ve seen in ages in Daredevil season 2. This sounds way better. Thanks for the review Night

  11. Avatar

    Jacob Phillips

    October 22, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    I actually didn’t like it half as much as Bone Tomahawk, but I’m still looking forward to Dragged Across Concrete.

  12. Avatar


    October 27, 2017 at 5:54 am

    4K Blu-Ray is available to preorder, gents:
    Brawl In Cell Block 99 [Blu-ray]