Sunday, July 21, 2019

Review of DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE: Ironically Introspective

July 21, 2019

Brett Ridgeman and Anthony Lurasetti were policemen who were suspended without pay because they committed abusive acts against suspects during an operation. The two desperate cops use their contacts in the criminal world to look for a job to support their families while they were out of work. They were tasked to tail a gold bullion heist by ruthless bank robbers led by Lorentz Vogelmann, with ex-cons Henry and Biscuit as getaway drivers.

With a lurid title like "Dragged Across Concrete," I was almost afraid of the extreme bloody gore which it may be showing in its violent action scenes. However, in a supreme case of irony, this turned out to be a very slow-moving and talky one instead. The glacial pace stretched out over 2 and a half hours of lengthy, many times seemingly off-tangent, conversations in households, during stakeouts or while driving around. 

With his real-life notoriety and involvement in cases of bigotry and misogyny, Mel Gibson is a very bold choice to play the lead role of Ridgeman. The gritty role fit him like a glove, so jaded and cynical, it was all so realistic, as if these were actually his own words he was saying. If you do patiently listen to his lines in his various conversations, there was wry humor and warped wisdom in there to appreciate. 

Vince Vaughn played the younger partner Lurasetti unwillingly and unwittingly carried along the wave of unprofessionalism initiated by Ridgeman. Don Johnson played Lt. Calvert, Ridgeman's ex-partner, now his superior officer. Tory Kittles played the recently-released convict Henry Jones, who had no options but to take another crime-related job. Michael Jai White played his best buddy and partner-in-crime Biscuit. Jennifer Carpenter played an anxious banker on her first back from maternity leave in an incredulously useless detour.

There were occasional scenes of unadulterated violence, but these were too few and far between for action junkies who come to watch. When you think the action will pick up (like in the bank, or in the warehouse), the momentum just dies down right away and dissolves into more contrived conversations. The starkly violent scene in the convenience store committed by a masked criminal which was truly terrifying, but it was unconnected to the main story. 

I think there was an effort by writer-director S. Craig Zahler to be introspective here, so that the audience will get to see deeper into the psyches of the cops and the crooks involved in this caper. While this intellectual approach may impress thinking critics, these scenes come across as needless, meandering self-indulgence for the average mainstream viewer expecting more John Wick types of action entertainment. 5/10. 


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