Director: S. Craig Zahler
Cast: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles
Release Date: April 30, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Two police detectives (Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn) ﬁnd themselves suspended after a video of their strong-arm tactics is leaked to the media. In another part of town, a felon (Tory Kittles) is released from prison and discovers that his family is about to be evicted. With little money and no options, all three men descend into the criminal underworld, where danger awaits them in the shadows.
From noteworthy filmmaker S. Craig Zahler, the writer and director of ‘Bone Tomahawk’ and ‘Brawl In Cell Block 99′ comes ‘Dragged Across Concrete’ which follows two police detectives that find themselves struggling to survive and provide for those they care about after being suspended following the release of a video capturing their use of excessive force on a suspect. Angry at the system that’s left them in the dust and suffering from desperate times, the generally good pair decides to use their talents for their own benefit in order to acquire what they believe to be rightful compensation for their service. But when their plan to rob an out of town drug dealer explodes into something much more intricate and unexpected, these two will have to decide whether the risk of proceeding is worth it, and whether they can in good conscious let their targets escape after their dark nature is revealed.
Written and directed by the immensely talented S. Craig Zahler (Brawl In Cell Block 99, Bone Tomahawk), Zahler does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘Dragged Across Concrete’ guiding this tense and intriguing thriller along with style and care. The film also owes plenty of credit to the talented folks that comprise the cast including Mel Gibson (Braveheart), Vince Vaughn (Brawl In Cell Block 99), Tory Kittles (Man Down), Michael Jai White (Triple Threat), Jennifer Carpenter (TV’s Dexter), Laurie Holden (TV’s The Walking Dead), Fred Melamed (The Spy Who Dumped Me), Thomas Kretschmann (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Don Johnson (Cold In July) and Udo Kier (Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich) along with more, nearly all providing solid performances in each of their respective roles, with leads Gibson and Vaughn in particular always at top form throughout.
‘Dragged Across Concrete’ is a smart, gritty and unpredictable crime drama that explores just how far generally decent men might be willing to go in the most desperate of times, or when those dearest to them are suffering. Strangely moving and often surprisingly hilarious while exuding a calm, unnerving tension throughout that will cleverly erupt into fits of chaos and blood-drenched violence, often at the most unexpected of times. Wisely never catering to the audience and their familiarity with mainstream film, it dares to continually take things in directions you wouldn’t expect and warm your heart one moment, only to shock you the next; resulting in a tense uncertainty in the viewer similar to that which we imagine our lead detectives onscreen are experiencing. Another remarkable directorial effort from the noteworthy S. Craig Zahler who initially caught my attention with his debut directorial effort ‘Bone Tomahawk’ and only continues to amaze; with ‘Dragged Across Concrete’ marking another impressive notch in his filmography as well as a crime drama masterpiece in itself that you won’t want to miss out on, especially with outstanding performances from the talented cast led by Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn greatly complementing Zahler’s vision every step of the way. I would strongly encourage fans of Zahler’s work and anyone who appreciates a unique crime thriller that is far from the standard outing in the genre to try and make a point of checking out ‘Dragged Across Concrete’ whenever possible; it’s definitely something quite special.
Overall, ‘Dragged Across Concrete’ is yet another masterpiece from talented filmmaker S. Craig Zahler. A brutal, moving and engrossing crime tale that never plays by the rules or follows a familiar formula, calmly evolving into far more than you might expect and taking viewers for an uncertain ride full of twists, tension and blood-soaked violence that will have you glued to the screen until the final moments. ‘Dragged Across Concrete’ earns one of my highest possible recommendations, especially for fellow fans of Zahler’s work and his previous two directorial efforts, as well as for fans of Gibson and/or Vaughn who are both are their finest here. It should certainly prove well worth a few hours of your time and the price of a rental one evening if you’re looking for a tense, unique and unpredictable crime tale to get pulled into.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dragged Across Concrete’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a sharp, smooth and richly detailed presentation with no notable issues to be uncovered throughout. It holds up admirably even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences throughout and never allows anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should more than please fellow fans.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack makes a great compliment to the film and provides a clean, crisp and at times fairly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It regularly takes advantage of all five available channels in order to ramp up the calm tension with subtle and natural effects, while occasionally hitting full force and sending bullets and more whipping throughout the various speakers, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a great 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers from start to finish and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dragged Across Concrete’ includes a couple of noteworthy extras in the way of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that feature interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. Included is the comprehensive 3-Part Featurette ‘Elements of a Crime’ (running approximately 41 minutes in length altogether) and ‘Moral Conflict: Creating Cinema That Challenges in a Blockbuster World’ (running approximately 7 minutes).