On October 1st, the annual Texan film festival “Fantastic Fest” hosted an early release screening of the action thriller film entitled Brawl in Cell Block 99 at the Alamo Drafthouse theatre in Downtown Brooklyn, both written and directed by S. Craig Zahler, whose most notable for creating Bone Tomahawk, an American Western horror film starring Kurt Russell.
Two years later, Zahler upholds his affinity for exploitation films with the creation of his new film. This film follows the life of a former boxer/auto-mechanic named Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn). Unfortunately, Thomas’s life plummets to an all-time low as he is confronted with the loss of his job and an unfaithful marriage, of which, is gradually descending. Similar to Walter White’s mid-life crisis in Breaking Bad, Thomas reaches a stage in his life where conventionality and living a simple and dandy life just does not cut it. He decides to work for an old friend as a drug courier. Eventually, living the life of criminal yields a more lavish and favorable lifestyle until one formidable night alters his life forever. Thomas finds himself in the middle of a heated gunfight between a group of police officers and his own purported allies.
Almost immediately afterward, he is sentenced to seven years in a maximum security prison. Upon arrival, his enemies challenge him with a mission that will directly determine the fate of his wife and unborn child, Koala. Due to such an ultimatum, he is forced to either eliminate everyone to compensate his debts or deal with the harsh reality of losing both his wife and child. Consequently, Thomas goes on an insatiable rampage and single – handedly transforms Cell Block 99 into a battleground of brutal and abject cruelty. Although the film’s plot is compelling and Thomas’s comic relief is frequent, this film is flooded with gore gags and haphazardly graphic combat scenes that may be difficult to watch for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.