‘A couple more years and you’ll be human steamroller…’
American director S. Craig Zahler has been quietly producing some of the best… what would you call them… action movies, I guess? Anyway, the best action movies this side of John Wick. He first came to my attention with the incendiary and hugely violent Brawl in Cell Block 99, perhaps one of the most underrated films of the last five years, and his follow up to that minor masterpiece is arguably even better…
Ridgeman (Mel Gibson) and Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn) are a pair of disgraced cops who are suspended after being filmed strong arming a couple of ne’er do wells. Sick of being underappreciated, and struggling with a difficult home life, Ridgeman decides to take the law into his own hands.
In many ways, Dragged Across Concrete is a buddy cop movie, perhaps even a spiritual sequel to Gibson’s Lethal Weapon. Imagine if that franchise had maintained the dark tone of the first movie and you are somewhere close. Gibson isn’t quite suicidal here, but he is on the edge. It’s genuinely exciting to see him tackling a role like this again, and he clearly enjoys working alongside Vaughn, an actor who is currently enjoying the most successful spell of his career.
Away from Gibson and Vaughn, Dragged Across Concrete has an exemplary soundtrack, is visually stunning and contains perhaps the most tense heist scene ever committed to film – and at close to three hours, Zahler’s third movie remarkably never feels dull or overly long. There have always been action/crime films that are more gritty and arty than your average Hollywood fare, but it’s difficult to think of anyone else in the cinematic landscape who is making movies quite like this. Gareth Evans perhaps?
Anyway, I digress, the bottom line is that Dragged Across Concrete, as with Brawl in Cell Block 99, is an example of this genre at its absolute peak. If you like your crime thrillers with a bit of a kick, this should be your next port of call.