Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017, USA)

Brawl in Cell Block 99 - Vince Vaughn as Bradley Thomas and Don Johnson as Warden Tuggs

The copy-cat phenomenon is not unknown in prison; suicides, escapes, riots. And prison movies, too, it seems. We saw it in 2015 with the close releases of Riot and Vendetta, both featuring cops who go into maximum-security jails to avenge the killing of their wives. Recently, we’ve had two Indian movies, Lucknow Central and Qaidi Band (2017), both with innocent prisoners following their pop-stardom dreams in prison bands. And here, hot on the heels of Shot Caller (2017) – released just seven weeks earlier – is another action flick about a man embarking on a mission of extreme prison violence in order to protect his wife and child.

It kicks off with Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn) having a really bad day. He gets laid off from his tow-truck driving job, and returns home to discover that his wife has been having an affair. His dismantles her car with his bare hands, but then calmly walks inside and – conceding that things haven’t been the same for either of them since she miscarried – commits to staying together and trying once more for a child. Oh, and running drugs for an old buddy.

18 months later and it’s clearly working out well. His wife, Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter) is expecting and they are suddenly living in a big, expensive house. Well, it’s working out well until his boss Gil leans on him to pick up an off-shore drop in company with two goons belonging to a new business contact, Eleazar (Dion Mucciacito). Bradley reluctantly agrees against his better judgement; he’s certain that one of the goons, Roman (Geno Segers) is on the gear. The pick-up goes horribly wrong; Eleazar’s men disobey his instructions and finish up in a gunfight with police. Bradley wades in when he could have waded out. He shoots one of the men and facilitates the capture of Roman who is trying to kill police… yet after his arrest won’t do a deal to give up either of their bosses. He expects to pick up four years on account of saving police officers’ lives. He gets seven.

Life doesn’t look too bad in the modern, clean, medium-security Franklin R James Detention Centre (nicknamed ‘the Fridge’), where he starts his sentence. But soon he is told that he has a visit – from his wife’s obstetrician. That can’t be good news. And it’s not; it’s one of Eleazar’s men, who tells him that his wife is being held hostage and that his act of betrayal cost Eleazar $3.2m, which he wishes to recover. He shows Bradley a picture of Lauren, bound and gagged. But, he says, the debt can be repaid if Bradley wastes another prisoner. Oh, and one other matter: the prisoner is in the maximum-security prison, Redleaf, in Cell Block 99. In the event that he doesn’t succeed in repaying the debt, he’s told, a Korean abortionist – who claims to be able to clip the limbs of a foetus, but leave it still able to be born – is standing by, waiting for instructions.

How does a vaguely pro-social, patriotic prisoner and expectant father with a crucifix tattooed on his shaved head ensure that he gets to maximum-security? A brazen attempt to escape, perhaps? A mad dash for the wall? Incite a strike? Write a manifesto? No, you launch an unprovoked attack on a guard and snap his arm and then take on the responding guards as well. He gets his transfer.

On arrival at Redleaf, Bradley is met by cigar-smoking Warden Tuggs (Don Johnson), and several guns pointed in his direction. Tuggs is more than a little disparaging of the quality of the guards at the Fridge, and a little smug about his own men’s willingness to “deploy some cheap lead” to reduce the cost of looking after prisoners. Bradley gets placed in a horrible old cell with an overflowing toilet, but it’s not in Cell Block 99. No problem; he viciously attacks a number of prisoners and more guards in the exercise yard. And gets to Cell Block 99… a prison within the prison. “I suspect that Amnesty International would frown upon the contents of this room,” Tuggs says. He isn’t wrong.

And that’s where the real fun starts. Amongst the novelty aspects of living in the rustic Cell Block 99 are a ‘stun-belt’ that the Warden, and others, activate spasmodically (and which, being placed over the prison overalls, must impede most bodily excretions; another torture altogether). Bradley is forced to turn Cell Block 99 into a battleground to protect his daughter’s tiny unborn limbs.

Some observations: (1) In other movies, Vaughn’s character would be an ex-Marine, or ex-Special Services, or ex-NYPD. A 6′ 5″ ex-tow-truck driver who can fight is a welcome departure from the usual. (2) Warden Tuggs’ misplaced faith in his testosterone-overloaded staff to combat any prisoner misconduct must disappoint him terribly. (3) The carriage of firearms within reach of prisoners ought not be careless. (4) Bradley comes from a long tradition of action heroes who eschew any unfair advantage. Armed with a PR24 and facing four adversaries, he throws it at the first of them, preferring to fight with fists (and giving his opponents the chance to use the baton themselves). (5) Cartoonish violence can still elicit a decent galvanic skin response. I’m told.

This is pretty standard action movie fare. Which is not to say that’s it’s not entertaining – it’s just nothing new.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 #2 - Vince Vaughn as Bradley Thomas in 'The Fridge' Brawl in Cell Block 99 #3 - Jennifer Carpenter as Lauren Thomas

Brawl in Cell Block 99 #4 - Vince Vaughn as Bradley Thomas Brawl in Cell Block 99 #5 - Geno Segers as Roman and Vince Vaughn as Bradley Thomas

Posted on January 17th, 2018 at 8:48 pm. Updated on January 17th, 2018 at 8:48 pm.

#233 in the Top 500

18 Responses to “Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017, USA)”

  1. August 18th, 2022 at 8:25 pm
    ??????? says:

    Today, I went to the be?chfront with my kids.
    I found a s?a shell and gave it to my 4 year old dau?hter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    ?he placed the ?hell to her ear and scre?med. There was a hermit ?rab inside and it p?nched her e?r.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this i? entirely off topic b?t I had to tell someone!

  2. August 18th, 2022 at 8:45 pm
    xnxx says:

    O? my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks,
    However I am experiencing difficulti?s with
    your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot su?scri?e to it.
    Is there anybody getting similar RSS problem?? Anybody who knows
    the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  3. August 20th, 2022 at 2:56 am
    ????xxx says:

    Hey there! ?’m at ?ork browsing your blog f?om m? new iphone
    3g?! Ju?t wanted to say I love rea?ing your ?log and look forwar? to all you? posts!
    Carry on the great work!

  4. August 20th, 2022 at 3:17 am
    xxx ??? says:

    He?lo there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if
    that wo?ld be okay. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look f?rwar? to new updates.

  5. August 20th, 2022 at 4:38 pm
    ?? ???? av says:

    He?lo! I underst?nd th?s ?s sort of off-topic ?owever I had to ask.
    D?es op?rating a well-established website like yours require a mas?ive amount work?

    I’m brand new to ope?ating a blog but I do write in my journal everyday.

    I’d like to start a blog so I can eas?ly share my personal exper?ence and views online.

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for new aspiring
    blog owne?s. Appreciate it!

  6. August 21st, 2022 at 12:33 am
    ???????? says:

    I read this ?iece of writing f?lly about the resemblance of hottest
    and earlier technologies, it’s aw?some arti?le.

  7. August 22nd, 2022 at 1:18 am
    vk only says:

    I loved ?s much as you’ll receive carried out right here.
    The s?etc? is tastef?l, your authored material stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get bought an impatience over that ?ou w?sh be delivering the following.

    unwell unquestionably come further formerly a?ain sinc? exactly the sam?
    nearly a lot often inside case ?ou shield this increase.

  8. August 23rd, 2022 at 4:13 am
    porn says:

    ?xce?lent put up, very informative. I wonder why the other
    experts of this sector d? not understand this.
    You must proceed your writing. I am confid?nt, you’ve a huge
    readers’ base already!

  9. August 23rd, 2022 at 4:40 am
    ????x says:

    My ?r?grammer is trying t? convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea becaus? ?f the ex?enses.

    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a variety of websites for
    about a year and am worried ?bout switching to another platform.

    I have heard excellent things about
    Is there a ?ay ? can transfer all my wordpress posts
    into ?t? Any help w?uld be greatly appreciated!

  10. August 24th, 2022 at 5:19 am
    ???? av ?????? says:

    Hi ther? colleagues, how is all, and what you ?e?ire to say concerning this arti?le,
    in my view its actually amazing designed for me.

  11. August 25th, 2022 at 8:14 am
    ?? says:

    I ?ove your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did yo? make this website
    ?ourse?f or di? you hire someone to do it
    for you? Plz answ?r back as I’m lo?king to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got
    this fr?m. cheers

  12. August 26th, 2022 at 4:18 am
    ???????? says:

    I just co?ldn’t depart your ?eb site prior to suggesting that I ext?emely enj?yed the u?ual information a
    person supply for your visitors? Is gonna be back stead?ly in order to check
    u? on new posts

  13. August 26th, 2022 at 4:31 am
    porn says:

    Fastidious re?pond in return of thi? matter with sol?d a?gument? and describing all about t?at.

  14. August 27th, 2022 at 12:39 am
    ????av says:

    Heya i ?m for the primary time here. I cam? across
    this board and I in finding It truly helpful
    & it helped me out a l?t. I’m hoping to giv? one t?ing back ?nd ?id oth?rs such as you helped me.

  15. August 28th, 2022 at 11:00 am
    ???????????? says:

    I have be?n exploring for a little bit for any high ??ality articles or weblog posts on this kind of area .

    Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this site. Reading
    t?is information So i am h?ppy to exhibit that I h?ve a very excellent
    uncanny feeling I came ?pon exactly what ? needed.

    I such a lot ?ithout a doubt will make sure to do not
    ?ut out of your mind this web site and provides it a glance
    on a constant basis.

  16. August 29th, 2022 at 12:21 am
    ??????? says:

    magnific?nt post, very informative. I ?onder why the opposite spe?ialists of th?s s?ctor do not realize this.
    You should continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve
    a huge readers’ base already!

  17. August 29th, 2022 at 12:40 am
    xxxjapan says:

    I’m curiou? to find out what blog platform
    you have been working with? I’m having some sma?l
    securit? issues with my latest sit? and I ?ou?d ?ike to find
    something more safe. Do you have any suggestions?

  18. August 30th, 2022 at 3:37 am
    ??????? says:

    I am really impre?s?d w?th your w?iting skill? as well as with t?e layout on your blog.
    Is t?is a paid theme or did you cu?tomize it yourself?

    Anyway keep up the ex?ellent qu?lity writing, it ?s rare to see a great
    blog like this one th?se days.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>