Vince Vaughn is cleverly cast against type as the shaven-headed, tattoo-sporting protagonist of this brutally gripping prison drama.

Maker of the ferocious horror western Bone Tomahawk, writer-director S Craig Zahler ensures there is more eye-watering violence in store here, as Vaughn’s stoical working stiff-turned-convict goes through a series of hellish ordeals to protect his heavily pregnant wife (Jennifer Carpenter).

The film’s slow-burn build-up means it’s quite some time before Vaughn’s anti-hero comes out swinging, but when he does you may find yourself ducking for cover. This is the kind of pulp fiction where the baddies really do get beaten to a pulp.

Vaughn is terrific, and terrifically convincing, as the film’s surprisingly principled brawler, and there’s a nicely sleazy turn from Don Johnson as a corrupt prison warden.