Can Hollywood’s favourite funnyman reinvent himself in this new movie?
Three decades is a long time to be typecast – and Vince Vaughn should know.
When he first burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced 26-year-old in Swingers (1996) he played the funny, goofy character we’ve all come to know and love.
And that seemed to work well for him in the years to come. From Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) to Wedding Crashers (2005) and Four Christmases (2008), the audience consensus was that Vaughn’s brand of offbeat comedy worked well for them, too. For a time, anyway.
As one decade gave way to another, Vaughn’s once-loved charm began to wear thin, and the actor-producer received scathing criticism in roundly panned films The Dilemma (2011) and The Internship (2013) – with one critic even suggesting he should consult former co-star Will Ferrell on how to get his magic back.
In light of the audience’s dying laughs, perhaps he thought it was time to turn over a new leaf when he signed on for newest flick Brawl in Cell Block 99.
The movie follows Bradley Thomas (Vaughn), a former boxer-turned-dealer who embarks on a mission of brutally violent vengeance after his wife is kidnapped.
Shaven-headed and menacing in an orange jumpsuit (actually, blue in this case) without that affable smile we’ve come to know, Vaughn 2.0, who stands at 6’5”, looks every bit as imposing as you’d hope a grizzled dealer to be.
He might look the part, but can he act it?
“Vince has a naturally imposing presence,” director S Craig Zahler said in an interview
“I’m seeing him do a lot of these comedic things and being told he’s one thing. But if I saw him on the street, that’s not who I would think he would be.”
For Vaughn, change was a conscious thing.
“I had gotten to a place where I wanted to shift towards things that were kind of different,” Vaughn explained. “That move sort of started with True Detective and Hacksaw Ridge, then this came to me and it’s just the best thing I have ever read.”
With an upcoming role in Zahler’s next gritty project, Dragged Over Concrete, the actor’s abrupt about-turn is leading fans to hail this as his ‘Vaughnaissance’, and it seems that the actor has no intention of going back to his old bit just yet – he’s having too much fun.
“It’s definitely fun to play a guy who has to do what he has to do and not apologise for it,” he said. “I don’t know if I have a plan but I certainly hope I get to work with Zahler again. I am hungry for films like the ones he is making.”
Also starring: Dan Amboyer, Jennifer Carpenter and Tom Guiry
Running time: 135 mins
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