New York Post
VAUGHN WITH BRAWN
BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 ★★★
YOU don’t wanna meet Vince Vaughn in a dark alley. Not after seeing “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” anyway. The actor, who’s lumbered around for years in harmless comedies like “Wedding Crashers” and “DodgeBall” has, for this ultraviolent thriller, transformed into a skullcrushing man-beast. It’s a real fist for the eyes!
Vaughn’s Bradley is a drug lord’s minion who lands in prison after botching an operation with rival thugs.
So their boss kidnaps Bradley’s pregnant wife (Jennifer Carpenter), and threatens to kill the baby unless Bradley whacks an inmate in Cell Block 99, a maximum-security hellhole — of which Don Johnson is warden.
Bradley, with a cross tattooed on the back of his shaved head, accepts his mission. On the way, he pops out eyes, snaps legs like asparagus and breathtakingly demolishes a sedan with his bare hands. Director S. Craig Zahler’s killer flick is basically “V for Vaughn-detta.”
Through it all, the still-lovable actor gives a sympathetic and psychologically complex performance. 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.
Your move, Streep.
Running time: 132 minutes. Not Rated (don’t take the kids). Now playing.