MOVIE REVIEW: Gibson and Vaughn cop it lean and mean

DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE

Three stars

Director: S. Craig Zahler

Starring: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles

Rating: R18+

Running time: 159 minutes

Verdict: Slow and brutally effective

 

Mel Gibson gets down and dirty in this hardboiled crime drama about a good cop who goes bad after spending too much time around crooks and low-lifes.

Veteran detective Brett Ridgeman isn't corrupt, exactly, but he doesn't have much patience for bureaucratic red tape, nor is he averse to using extra force on occasion.

When a nosey neighbour videos Ridgeman's heavy-footed treatment of an Hispanic drug dealer and his girlfriend, the seasoned pro and his loyal partner, Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn), are suspended without pay.

Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn star in Dragged Across Concrete.
Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn star in Dragged Across Concrete. David Bukach

That's the cue for a rather pointed rant from Gibson's character about the limitations of political correctness, particularly in relation to race. (Having resuscitated his career with Blood Father and Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson is apparently ready to risk a bit of a push back.)

With a sick wife and a bullied daughter depending on him, Ridgeway approaches an underworld contact who owes him a favour. Lurasetti, who is struggling to pay off the engagement ring he ordered for his girlfriend, becomes a reluctant accomplice.

Trouble is, neither man knows exactly what kind of heist it is that they are gatecrashing.

Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson in a scene from Dragged Across Concrete.
Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson in a scene from Dragged Across Concrete. David Bukach

And by the time they understand just how merciless these gangsters are, there's no going back. Adding some variation to the theme are the two small-time African American criminals (Tory Kittles, Michael Jai White) who have been hired as getaway drivers and lookouts.

Written and directed by S. Craig Zahler, this dangerously off-kilter buddy comedy trades on the screen chemistry between Gibson and Vaughn, both of whom confidently underplay their hand.

The dialogue is often self-conscious and occasionally sharp and the action is mesmerisingly slow. Lean, exceptionally mean, and oddly compelling, Dragged Across Concrete gets the job done - by whatever means necessary.

 

Opens at selected cinemas tomorrow.


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