Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughan are cops going brutally rogue in Dragged Across Concrete, S. Craig Zahler’s third film after Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99.
Hard Men?by Alexa Dalby
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
Gibson is Ridgeman, a grizzled veteran about to retire, never promoted because of his penchant for violence. Vaughan is Lurasetti, younger, weaker, vacillating about proposing to his fiancée.
When the duo are suspended for an over-enthusiastic assault on a Latino arrestee and his girlfriend, Ridgeman’s need for money to provide for his disabled wife, his daughter, his retirement and to his family a safer neighbourhood leads him to draw Lurasetti into a scheme to hijack a criminal heist, based on information from a shady German mastermind (Udo Keir).
In a parallel plot, released prisoner Henry (Tory Kittles) returns home to find he needs big money for his mother and disabled brother, so he involves Biscuit (Michael Jai White) in the bank robbery planned by another German mastermind (orentz Vogelmann). You know that the two stories are bound to meet at some point – and they overlap with disastrous results, some of which could maybe be predicted and with an intriguing twist that seems to come out of nowhere.
So far, so genre-ish. But a slight deviation amid the action tropes is the character of a female bank employee, returning to work after maternity leave.
It’s a very violent, very male film, it’s sadistic, exploitative, the dialogue is often clunky, the characters aren’t particularly sympathetic and an awful lot of screen time is given to men just sitting in cars, on a stakeout, driving or tailing. It plays with riffs on racism and sexism – or maybe it’s serious. But that said, if this is the sort of action movie someone likes, they’ll probably like it a lot. Oh, and there’s an awful lot of it to like (2 hours 39 minutes).
Dragged Across Concrete screened at the BFI London Film Festival and is released on 19 April 2019 in the UK.