Brawl In Cell Block 99 – 4K UHD Review

Brawl In Cell Block 99 is a 2017 American action thriller film that was written, directed and scored by S. Craig Zahler. It stars Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson, Udo Kier, Marc Blucas, and Tom Guiry. It was screened out of competition at the 74th Venice International Film Festival. The film was released into theaters on October 6, 2017, and on Digital HD and Video On Demand on October 13, 2017 by RLJE Films.

The film follows Bradley Thomas (Vaughn) as he is a former alcoholic and drug dealer who is now working as a tow truck driver. One day, he gets laid off and comes one to find his wife, Lauren, sitting in her car and contemplating whether or not she should leave him. He asks to see her phone and as he is scrolling through it, she tells him that she’s been seeing someone else. Bradley asks her to go into the house and then proceeds to physically attack the car. While trying to figure out made her decide to cheat on him, he ultimately forgives Lauren and to make ends meet, decides to go back to drug dealing; which ultimate lands him in a medium security prison.

Principal photography for the film began on August 15, 2016 in New York City. On August 17, 2016, Jennifer Carpenter joined the cast, with principal photography wrapping up on October 17, 2016. According to the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a “certified fresh” approval rating of 93% based on the 43 reviews that have been submitted; with the average rating of 7.3/10. The overall critical consensus reads that it “rises a committed Vince Vaughn performance into a brutally violent — and undeniably entertaining — depths of prison-set grind house genre fare.”

The Film Itself (4.5/5):

I was pleasantly surprised with Brawl In Cell Block 99.  Looking at not only the cover, but the synopsis on the back of the case, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of hesitation when I place the disc into my player.  But overall, the story that we have with this film is absolutely fantastic.  There weren’t any extremely on the edge of your seat sequences, but the story that we’re given with this film is one that starts off with a considerably solid foundation and is carried out very well to the end of the film (trying to avoid spoilers here).  It was rather weird to see Vince Vaughn in a more serious role like this; and I really didn’t find the witty comments or jokes in this film all that funny.  But that aside, this movie was a hell of a lot better than I expected.

Picture Quality (5/5):

Overall, the picture quality of Brawl In Cell Block 99 looked absolutely phenomenal on my living room television.  Presenting an insanely crystal clear picture as it tells us the story of Bradley Thomas and how much of a badass he is both inside and outside of the prison system.  Even in the darker, more lower lit sequences, my wife and I were able to visually and see everything as the movie progressed on our living room television without any additional focus required.  There was just enough ambient lighting during these sequences that not only made what was happening crystal clear; but, it also helped to convey the overall seriousness of what was about to happen.

Audio Quality (4.5/5):

Packaged with a DTS-HD Master Audio track, Brawl In Cell Block 99 offers an absolutely insane immersive experience for its viewers.  While it’s not nearly as immersive as a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, the audio that’s provided in this release does exactly what it needed to do.  The dialogue of the film was clean and clear with the sound effects absolutely more effective, especially with the various sounds of bones breaking during the fight sequences.  There was a musical score that accompanied the feature film, but in all honesty, I didn’t really pay too much attention to it as I was paying more attention to the films dialogue and the sound effects because they were just that good.

The Packaging (3/5):

Brawl In Cell Block 99 comes packaged in your standard two-disc 4K UHD amaray case.  Within that case is the standard 4K UHD copy of the film as well as the standard Blu-ray copy of the film.  Both discs included within this release feature a different piece of artwork that’s not only relative to the film, but also differs from that of the case art.  There are no DVD copies included within this release, nor are there any digital copy redemption pamphlets.  A slipcover has also been provided during the first print run of this release.

  

Special Features (2/5):

Unfortunately, the 4K UHD copy of theBrawl In Cell Block 99 is very barebones when it comes to special features and additional content.  There is a couple of pieces that have been provided that do offer some insight into the work that went into making this release available; but even then, they’re considerably minimal.  Included with this release is:

  • Journey to the Brawl: The Making of Brawl In Cell Block 99
  • Beyond Fest Q&A with the Cast & Crew

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles

English SDH, Spanish, French

Runtime

Original Film: 132 minutes

Final Thoughts:

Holy cow, Brawl In Cell Block 99 really did catch me off guard.  This film is one that I normally wouldn’t have picked up on my own; so with this showing up to my doorstep to review, I am beyond grateful for RLJE for giving me the opportunity to check this out.  It was a little weird to see Vince Vaughn in a more serious role and playing an unlawful badass.  But, the story with this release allows you to quickly look past his awkwardness and continue focusing on the experience that it’s trying to convey.  The visual and audible presentation of the 4K UHD release was amazing, despite the audio track being less immersive than a 7.1 track or even an Atmos track.  The included audio track has to be one of the best 5.1 tracks that I’ve ever experienced since upgrading my setup to utilize 4K.  Unfortunately, the additional content on this release is minimal.  If you’re considering picking up this release for your collection, I would definitely recommend it!  Brawl In Cell Block 99 will be available to the general public beginning on December 26.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.

 

 

Doug

Movie lover, technophile, moderator of /r/dvdcollection and just your average, everyday movie viewer. Haven't heard of our subreddit? Check us out!

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