• Jack Kolodziejski

Dragged Across Concrete Review

Fans of writer and director S. Craig Zahler’s work have likely come to expect several common elements: startling hyper-violence, witty and wordy scripts, and breathtakingly exciting finales. While Zahler’s latest, Dragged Across Concrete, maintains most of these key ingredients, it’s missing a crucial one. Zahler’s previous works featured charismatic leads that were both memorable and likeable, if not prone to questionable behavior. These empathetic characters made scenes of impending danger that much more thrilling. Dragged Across Concrete, unfortunately, features almost none of this charm, which results in a messy drama where the rest of Zahler’s otherwise winning elements fall apart completely.

Dragged Across Concrete is a noir tale of desperate men who turn to crime to solve their problems. Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn star as Brett Ridgeman and Anthony Lurasetti, partner cops who get caught on video using excessive force during a bust and land themselves a six week unpaid suspension. Feeling the pressures of a wife with failing health, and a teen daughter who is routinely harassed on the street, Ridgeman turns to crime in hopes of earning his family a better life. Lurasetti, also finding himself in a pinch for money, hoping to propose to his girlfriend, reluctantly gets swept along with Ridgeman’s plan. Tony Kittles plays Henry Johns, an apparent foil to Lurasetti and Ridgeman, who returns from a stint in prison to find his mother turning tricks to fund a drug addiction and care for his disabled teenage brother. Similar to the suspended cops, Johns turns to crime in pursuit of a better life for his brother and mother. The intersection of these three characters is the driving force of the film’s plot.