Dragged Across Concrete: Mel Gibson is cannily cast in S. Craig Zahler’s thriller.
  • Dragged Across Concrete: Mel Gibson is cannily cast in S. Craig Zahler’s thriller.
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Hollywood is run by Jews, or so the age old anti-semitic trope would lead one to believe. If that’s the case, would someone please explain how it is that Mel Gibson continues to find work in pictures? Was the goal of writer-director S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk) to cast an actual racist to star as one in his 159 minute action-thriller Dragged Across Concrete? If so, who better than Gibson to answer the call?

Three converging storylines commence on a note of unbridled sentimentality; the hooker whose services Henry (Tory Kittles) rents just hours after being released from prison winds up being a former high school classmate. With pipes cleaned, it’s time for the parolee to pay a visit to dear old mom’s pad, where he not only finds a paying customer in her bed, but his wheelchair-bound baby brother living a life of sad neglect. The flowery prose that flows from Henry’s mouth doesn’t always jibe with the character. (Perhaps it was his time spent in the prison library, boning up on Chester Himes.) For Henry, news of a pending score could not arrive soon enough.

With a recent collar gone bad — damn these civilian camera phones — suspended officers Brett Ridgeman (Gibson) and his partner Tony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn) also find themselves in need of gainful, if not honest employment. They put their six weeks off for bad behavior to good use in the service of a simple crime, one that should yield just enough loot to see the belligerent fuzz through the dry spell. (Ridgeman has been on the force three times longer than his partner, yet the two share the same rank.) For most of its gargantuan running time, Dragged Across Concrete keeps the audience teetering on the edge of its collective seat. An exception to that rule: much of the interplay between the two cops takes place in the front seat of an unmarked car, and a stagnant 10-minute discussion of an egg salad sandwich might just as well have been conceived for radio. (Only then did the concept of being dragged across the narrative briefly enter my mind.)

The third plot thread introduces what looks to be an oxymoronic group of dominant submissives, clad in black latex body suits and armed with submachine guns, who get their kicks shooting up convenient stores and/or air conditioning unwitting teenagers. Their trademark consists of riddling corpses with enough ammo to stave off a small army.

If Harvey Weinstein is the father of the #MeToo movement, then surely Mel deserves credit for kickstarting the #MeJew movement. It began with a snockered Gibson on the side of the road, uncorking an invective-laced tirade against his arresting officer. Mad-with-moxie Mel’s defense: “I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime.” Then there were those tapes released by his ex, the ones that further cemented Mel’s reputation as an abusive bigot. Perhaps Trump’s endorsement of the “very fine people” of Charlottesville helped to shove Gibson out of the spotlight.

Add a third, even more incendiary hat to Zahler’s resume, that of king shit-stirrer. Why else assign the lead role of an intolerant cop to easily the most high-profile hater currently finding work in Hollywood? It’s been a long time since Gibson set the box office ablaze, so it’s hard to accuse Zahler of trying to make bank off the actor’s notoriety. Gibson has walked in Ridgeman’s shoes and damn if Zahler doesn’t know how to put his trudging to good use in what amounts to the most inspired bit of casting to hit Hollywood (and Gibson’s career) in ages.

Frankly, if I had to pay to see a Mel Gibson movie, my patronage would have ceased at The Beaver, the first of his films to be released after the fateful DUI stop. What to do? For one of the few times in my moviegoing existence, art and life are at war within me. Dragged Across Concrete just so happens to be a first-rate cop drama that features Gibson’s best performance in years. Still, I’m still loath to ask readers to give their box office blessings to Mel’s bad behavior. Unless there’s a career in need of salvaging, persecutors don’t suddenly awake one day to the realization that maybe the Jews weren’t “responsible for all the wars in the world.” Thinking like this is bred in the bean.

If Al Franken lost his Senate seat for a childish candid in which he pretended to play “Honk! Honk!” with a sleeping woman’s breasts, there’s enough on Gibson to hang him. You could wait until Dragged Across Concrete hits a streaming service near you, but that stands in direct opposition of my eternal quest to urge patrons to get more out of life by leaving their living rooms and going to the movies. As much as I despise endorsing the work of someone as contemptible as Mel, a good movie is a good movie. Do as your conscience dictates.

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Comments

SalULloyd March 21, 2019 @ 11:41 a.m.

C'mon, Mr. Marks, we KNOW you dislike Gibson and that often colors your perception. I'll say this, he KNOWS how to tell a story, something which many current directors, regardless of how technically proficient, are trouble with. He's a good actor, but I think he's an even better filmmaker. I just he DOES NOT remake "The Wild Bunch." "Farenheit 451" maybe, but NOT "The Wild Bunch." Hey, if such political liberals like Andrew Garfield and John Lithgow are OKAY working with Mel, I'm A-OK with Mel. Hey, Scott, after all, Julia Roberts is OKAY working with Case Affleck, NOT SO Brie Larson.

Now, if you will excuse me, I gotta get back to watching "I Am Curious Yellow."

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Scott Marks March 21, 2019 @ 2:09 p.m.

Colors my perception? I said it's a good movie in spite of the participation of the virulent racist POS.

Please, enjoy again Mel's best performance.

http://filthandfun.blogspot.com/2018/10/mel-and-oksana-2010.html

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dwbat March 21, 2019 @ 4:44 p.m.

I would rate his best performance (and directing) in this movie: "The Man Without a Face."

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Scott Marks March 21, 2019 @ 5:07 p.m.

I was ready to swear off Mel after the first 2 "Lethal Weapons" and "Bird on a Wire." From that point on, I don't think I've seen more than 5 or 6 of his movies. Never saw "Man w/o a Face" or "Braveheart," for that matter. For me, he's Mad Max and nothing else.

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dwbat March 21, 2019 @ 7:29 p.m.

Worth streaming, Scott, as it's unlike other movies he's done. It's unique and touching. Definitely not a tentpole flick.

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SalULloyd March 21, 2019 @ 12:04 p.m.

One other thing, Mr. Marks, did you NOT go see "Bohemian Rhapsody" due to pedo Bryan Singer's involvement???

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Scott Marks March 21, 2019 @ 2:21 p.m.

Keep your friends close and Jew-hating racists closer, but do it for free. I would never have paid to see this. Same goes for anything directed by the human stain who brought us "Powder." If you want to pay for one and sneak in to see this on the bottom half of a double-bill, be my guest. As for Bryan Singer, the film landed on my watch, but I saw it for free. It was also the first Bryan Singer film I've see since the first "X-Men." Long before he showed his pedo-hand, I knew this guy was up to no good.

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SalULloyd March 25, 2019 @ 8:02 p.m.

I appreciate that, but NO anti-Semitism here, although nowadays some hardliners will label you that just for being critical of Netanyahoo. But I assure you, no anti-Semitism here. I'm not going to explain Mr. Gibson here who happens to be a very talented filmmaker as well, but do you really think that if he was a real anti-Semite that Jewish-American filmmakers would want to work with him??? And what of his recent movie "The Professor and the Madman" in which he co-stars with Sean Penn??? Do you REALLY think that a political liberal like Sean Penn would agree to act with a known anti-Semite??? I sincerely doubt it unless Penn were a hypocrite. Heck, look at De Niro's crack about the "immigrant" waiters at the 2011 GG, it was called racist, and yet today he is one of the most anti-Drumpf Hollywood actors. No one is calling to boycott his movies and I certainly don't consider De Niro a bigot or racist.

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Scott Marks March 26, 2019 @ 12:21 p.m.

We disagree on Mel's directorial prowess. "The Passion" is a mess!

There are those out there who affiliate themselves with a$$holes if there's a dollar to be made, so yes, I do think people will want to work with him.

And Sean Penn?! He's a sexist, physically abusive pig. His affinity for Mel doesn't surprise me one bit.

I would never label De Niro a racist. I'm too busy calling him a sell out.

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dwbat March 21, 2019 @ 4:26 p.m.

Is Mel trying to do his best Dennis Farina look?

None

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monaghan March 27, 2019 @ 7:55 p.m.

Gosh, "POS" appears in two Reader reviews in the same week and this time I get it. Elsewhere it was presented as "PoS" and I was bewildered. Anyway, Scott, I admire the way you handled Gibson's pretty good movie. Wasn't part of his problem alcohol? Maybe he's made amends. I loved "Braveheart" and that earlier one where he was a crazy white cop with Danny Glover.

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Scott Marks March 28, 2019 @ 1 p.m.

Booze allows the truth to flow.

An hour into "Braveheart" found me snoring at such a high rate of decibels that the stranger seated behind me had to give my chair a "wake up" nudge. I exited quietly and quickly, never to return.

"Lethal Weapon"?! A tetralogy of turds that hovers just slightly above Mel's nadir, "What Women Want."

For me, Mel's career began and ended with the "Mad Max" trilogy.

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