Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.
Dragged Across Concrete
Starring: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles, Michael Jai White, Thomas Kretschmann
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Hey! aging action stars can still get work
Back in 2010, Sylvester Stallone taught us all that there was still cinematic life in the aging ‘80s action stars by gifting us all with the wildly raucous film, The Expendables, wherein a handful of the aging film stars proved that they could still pull in an audience and earn a box office respectable enough to warrant a pair of sequels (with a third sequel — #4 scheduled to be released in 2022 by Lionsgate).
The 5 stages of an actor's career
Now Streaming on the internet
Needless to say, while Gibson hasn’t escaped his racist image, he did put it to good use in Director S. Craig Zahler’s 2018 film Dragged Across Concrete (currently streaming on Vudu, Redbox, and other services.)
Dragged Across Concrete official trailer
There are no good cops in this film
The film itself centers on a pair of crooked cops; an old-timer Brett Ridgeman (Gibson), and his volatile younger partner Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn), who find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics against a perp of Color become the media’s cause du jour. Low on cash and with no other options, the pair of embittered detectives descend into the criminal underworld to gain their just due, but instead find far more than they wanted waiting for them in the darkness of the city.
There are no good guys in this film
From bad to worse
The film starts when Henry (Tory Kittles) returns home from a stint in jail and gets pulled into an operation by his buddy, Biscuit (Michael Jai White). As it turns out, the pair are hired by a criminal named Vogelmann (Thomas Kretschmann) as drivers for a bank job he intends to pull. As stated, as the events of the film start out badly, they quickly get worse as Vogelmann and his crew start gathering what they need for their job and eliminating all lose ends with extreme prejudice.
Everyone is a villain
Everyone is compromised in this film
Concurrent with Vogelmann ramping up his plan to steal gold plates from the bank, we get a glimpse into the tragic lives of the two cops. So sure, Ridgeman is an Old School, dinosaur, aging, racist cop (a role perhaps well-suited for Gibson) whose been at the same rank for the past 20 years while his former partner (Don Johnson) is now Chief (and Ridgeman’s immediate superior) while his wife is an ex-cop on disability with Parkenson’s and teen daughter keeps getting randomly assaulted by the neighborhood kids. While Lurasetti is prepping to ask his Black girlfriend to marry him is (perhaps) not so racist, but more than willing to go along with whatever his partner lays out (an unusual role for Vaughn who is usually the one to edge his partner on, “Buddy, buddy, buddy”).
Everyone pays a price
Everyone is complicit, no one is spared
As the film progresses, we are (seemingly randomly) introduced to various characters (A young girl walking down the street, a new mother suffering with post-partum depression, etc.), who at least initially — don't seem to advance the plot, but then prove to be tragically critical to the forward movement of the story
A waiting game
A visceral neo-noir crime thriller film
Make no mistake about this film, while it most assuredly is a “B” film it is also an amazingly visceral experience as all the players are not only completely amoral, but there are no good guys in this film. Everyone is a self-absorbed villain, on some level, as everyone we meet is — for all intents and purposes — out for their own welfare, which makes for a very interesting (if equally disturbing) viewing. Further, no one really gets what they want, even the character who seems to have wound up with it all, but that would be telling. Ultimately, while this is perhaps not so much the film that you want to watch, as it is one you may very well may want to watch just to see how it all plays out. We did, and simply couldn’t keep our eyes off the screen. Playing now on Vudu and Redbox.
Dragged Across Concrete DVD, BLURAY, Digital
© 2021 Robert J Sodaro