The Netflix Gritty Crime Thriller That Throws Back To The ’80s

By Robert Scucci | Published

2018’s Dragged Across Concrete is streaming on Netflix, and it’s a neo-noir crime thriller that you’ve got to see if you love detectives turned bad, and heists gone wrong. Starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, this film is a unique gemstone of contradictory acclaim. Not only was this film well-received by critics and audiences alike, it was also nominated for a Golden Raspberry award under the “Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property” category.

A Buddy-Cop Movie Like No Other

We’ve all seen buddy-cop flicks like Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour, but Dragged Across Concrete falls into its own unique category, as it is rife with moral dilemmas and questionable motives. Centered on two detectives who succumb to criminal activity after getting suspended from the force for police brutality, this Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn movie shows us exactly what’s wrong with the criminal justice system while simultaneously illustrating the fight-or-flight nature that comes with the territory.

Dragged Across Concrete follows the lives and crimes of Mel Gibson’s Detective Brett Ridgeman and Vince Vaughn’s Detective Anthony Lurasetti. After a video of both detectives committing an act of police brutality on a drug dealer surfaces, both detectives are suspended from the force without pay. Desperate for money, Ridgeman and Lurasetti team up to surveil and rob a professional thief named Lorentz Vogelmann.

Blurred Lines Between Good And Evil

But Ridgeman and Lurasetti bite off more than they can chew when their efforts to surveil Vogelmann lead to a bank robbery and hostage situation that only they can handle. This is where Dragged Across Concrete expertly drags viewers away from their usual expectations. Normally, films like this have a very clear delineation between bad and good, but moral ambiguity takes the center stage when both detectives realize that they need to stop the robbery before there’s too much collateral damage, and they need to act quickly to diffuse the situation.

How Critics Responded

Clocking in at 159 minutes, Dragged Across Concrete offers a unique twist to the genre that keeps its audience engaged despite its lengthy run time. The film garnered a 76 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, and most of the positive reviews were in regard to the character development and storytelling. Though you’d likely go into watching a film in this genre expecting a 90-minute runtime, not a single minute of screen time is wasted.

It’s The Little Things That Count

mel gibson

And it’s the extraneous slice-of-life scenes that make Dragged Across Concrete such an effective film. It goes without question that writer/director S. Craig Zahler knew what he was doing when he allowed seemingly innocuous moments to drag on a little longer than other films in the genre would have allowed. But it’s during the moments when Vaughn’s Lurasetti is enjoying a sandwich in his car, or Jennifer Carpenter’s Kelly Summer is spending time with her kids before heading to work at the bank that’s about to be robbed that seal the deal.

Dragged Across Concrete Is Streaming On Netflix

Through all of these small and somewhat insignificant moments, we learn about the characters. And this kind of character development is what moves the plot along in Dragged Across Concrete. If you’re looking for a morally ambiguous film that provides an exceptional amount of insight into its characters and motives, then Dragged Across Concrete is a must-see.