I really don’t know where to start with this movie, I went into it expecting the unexpected and it still managed to wow me.
I just don’t know how to even classify Zahler’s movies, they’re like if David Lynch and Tarantino had a baby raised by David Ayer. His movies sit in this weird place between cartoony violence and absurdity verging on surrealism and gritty hyper realism.
Somehow he manages to catch this almost like documentary level of gritty realism in his movies which is done purely so that he can hit you with a sledge hammer of goofy shit in the third act and it works so well that three movies in I have no idea what to predict from this guy.
It’s film making that just leaves me thunder struck nonstop and I can’t even think to react, I can’t tell if it’s just really good slocky nonsense like Taratino or genius levels of nonsense like Lynch.
His movies just leave me at a loss for words because I’ve just never really seen anything like them before and that’s high praise alone.
This is Zahler’s third movie as I’ve said, I think he did a puppet master movie but I couldn’t give a fraction of a fuck about that. I tried to get into the puppet master movies but even me, someone that loves shitty horror movies couldn’t get into it, the series is pure garbage. They’re just movies made because someone made some cool puppets then thought it would be cool to make a movie about them. None of them have enough stories to fill an episode of tales from the crypt and the characters are just garbage. They’re awful movies and I really tried to like them, I watched like four of them before I just gave up on the series.
Although if anyone can make them good it’s Zahler, so I might have to watch his version.
So his other movies are Bone Tomahawk, which is like Open range meets the hills have eyes, I’m not kidding. It turns from a totally realistic western into a campy grindhouse horror movie and it’s awesome, Kurt Russel, Patrick Wilson and Mathew Fox from lost was especially great in this movie.
Then there’s the instant cult classic Brawl in Cellblock 99, hands down his best movie. Vince Vaugn plays a stone cold mountain of a man bad ass who goes to prison and has to save his family from gangsters from behind bars. Starts off as a gritty crime/prison drama turns into a fucking grindhouse videogame by the end and it’s awesome. Like more awesome than you would think possible in this current generation. Hands down the best action movie for ten years because there’s almost no competition except marvel cape shit and fast and furious and John Wick and those movies don’t really count in my mind. They’re more like post ironic spectacle movies as opposed to actual movies. They’re self referential to the point of parody.
Is it time to discuss this actual movie now? I think so, yeah so I liked it, obviously, The end.
Ok so seriously, it’s a slow boil movie and its pretty long, I see people complaining about that but honestly it could’ve been three hours and I would’ve been fine with that, it uses it’s length really well, it never feels like it drags and you know the pay off is going to be something special, because that’s just a Zahler movie. Long build up to epic pay off, and he doesn’t disappoint.
The story is about, well it’s about three stories colliding (technically four). So the first is about this ex con who gets out of prison and I guess he’s supposed to be the main character because we’re introduced to his story first. But the guy is pretty unlikeable honestly and there was more time spent on the other characters. He’s sort of meant to be a thug with a heart of gold but he just came off as a total asshole to me haha. From one total asshole to the other.
But I guess all the characters are sort of flawed, I just identified more with the flaws of the other characters.
Obviously it goes without saying Mel Gibson is the best character, it’s fucking Mel Gibson, you put him in anything, he’s gonna be the best thing in it hands down. And he’s sort of going through a bit of a resurgence right now in the action genre, between this and Blood Father, he’s doing pretty good and I hope to hell he keeps it up. I personally want to tear down heaven and earth for the travesty of not casting him in fury road over political bullshit cuckery. I don’t give a shit what the dude says when he’s drunk you don’t just take a shit on your movie franchise to avoid ‘bad press’. Obviously dumb people still liked it because it had ‘big splosions and fire breathing guitars’ *soyboyopenmouthsmile.jpeg. I just thought it was ok and Tom Hardy just delivered his standard ‘I’m here for my cheque’ performance tippified in venom. But I mean I was never a huge fan of Mad Mad anyway, there’s like one good Mad Max movie in a list of four, it’s hardly good odds.
Mel plays an embittered old cop who’s been passed over for promotion over and over because he’s too much of an un-pc loose cannon who doesn’t know how to ‘play the game’ of politics, more acquainted with ass kicking than ass kissing. And Vince Vaugn plays his suffering partner, honestly I still want a Brawl sequel, I don’t care, bring motherfuckers back from the dead haha.
Mel gets caught on someone’s phone being a little too rough with a gentleman of colour and he’s suspended. But he’s living in shitty neighbourhood full of dark skinned gentlemen who are harassing his teenage daughter. I mean if anyone is gonna have a teenage daughter pushing sixty it’s the immortal Chad Mel Gibson. The only man to portray my favourite book character with any justice (it still wasn’t perfect but he made it his own, he was ‘Porter’ not Parker), don’t talk to me about Jason Statham’s Parker, he just turned it into a generic action movie like all his others.
He needs money and he stumbles upon plans for some kind of robbery and decides with his partner they’re going to rob the robbers. So that’s the movie basically. I mean fuck, can you imagine making a movie with this premise in 2019. Fuck imagine casting Mel Gibson as a cop suspended basically for manhandling brown people who wants to rob people so he can live away from said brown people, this is anti political correctness they couldn’t get away with in the seventies. Even Charles Bronson had to shoot some white muggers in Death Wish. I mean come on.
So just imagining the set of balls it took to make this movie has me at a loss. And it’s all delivered in a way that makes me feel like it’s not really trying to push a message either way or just trying to be edgy for the sake of it. It just seems matter of fact. The ending was also slightly infuriating, which I won’t spoil.
My main criticism of the movie is that I think it could’ve been longer honestly. I think the bank robber characters were well set up but didn’t have a very satisfying pay off. I wanted them to have more screen time, it just feels like that part was rushed a little and more could’ve been done there with their characters.
Ok well *spoilers* Mel Gibson dies at the end which sucks, it sucks double because the sort of unlikeable main character gets all the money and tosses his family a few gold bars to say like “sorry I killed your old man for basically no reason lol”. But it isn’t delivered in a punitive way. The movie never takes a moral position, he’s not being punished for being a naughty racist which he kind of is and isn’t. He just wants his kid to not be harassed and live in a shitty neighborhood, he never uses the gamer word or comes off particularly prejudiced. But I mean what is Mel Gibson famous for other than Mad Max and Lethal Weapon, it’s for saying crazy racist stuff while drunk off his ass haha. So you have to think his casting and in particular this role is for a reason.
He’s not playing this cuck who has to suck black dick like in some gay Tarantino cuck movie about racial vengeance, he’s just a guy trying to get some money for his family. So I never felt like the movie was political, it’s just a fun cool hard hitting movie that pulls no punches.
I really could talk about this fucking movie for days, there’s just so much there, there’s layers upon layers from the weird fucked up scene with Jennifer Carpenter to the awesome ending shootout. There’s just so much I can get into and I can already see this stretching to the 2k mark so I’ll leave it there and just say, see this movie asap.