Bad Ass (2012)
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as Frank Vega
as Mayor Williams
as Amber Lamps
as Officer Malark
as Frank Vega
as Klondike Washington
as Father Miller
as Master Sluggy Cornnuts
Critic Reviews for Bad Ass
It's often difficult to tell what's bad on purpose or just badly handled. The cargo shorts and fanny pack? Purposely funny. The slack pacing? Probably not.
...rarely (if ever) manages to satisfactorily exploit its irresistible setup.
Bad Ass won't be confused with 'Death Wish' or even 'Gran Torino,' but it's superior to Trejo's recent dud 'Machete'
What started as internet shock value turned into a joke, and that joke has been flattened into a humor-impaired bore in Bad Ass.
Audience Reviews for Bad Ass
This film certainly suffers from inconsistencies in tone. Most of the time you're not sure whether you're meant to laugh at the film, or with it. It's a combination of sorts, look at Danny Trejo's ridiculous getup in the poster. He has a fanny pack for fuck's sake. That, very clearly, was meant to be purposely funny. But I get the feeling that the film is just simply much too empty and hollow to really sustain itself. It's an internet skit taken way too far. I would've been entertained if the film would've been 10-15 minutes long. I really do believe that this is a YouTube short film at best. But, unfortunately, they decided to make this into a feature-length film. Look, I love Danny Trejo and everything, the guy is tough and I certainly wouldn't wanna fuck with him given his background, but it's clear that the guy isn't a good actor. But he's got that charm, believe it or not, where it's actually really fun to watch him in a movie, even if he's bad. But even he can't save this movie from just the absolute bottom. It's certainly not the worst action film I've ever seen, it's not even as bad as Transformers 2, but as far as action scenes go, this movie is actually pretty piss poor. At least the hand-to-hand fight scenes, the climactic chase sequence is actually pretty good. The thing with Danny Trejo, while I believe he could fuck me up in a fight any day of the week, and twice on Sunday, he's never really been the most agile. He's never gonna be mistaken for Jackie Chan or Iko Uwais. He mostly does a lot of punching and kicking. Sometimes he uses guns. The point is that there's usually a lot of smoke and mirrors to cover up the fact that Danny, for the most part, is practically immobile. I certainly don't blame him for that as he was 68 at the time of this film's release, but the Machete franchise, because of how over-the-top it is, and Robert Rodriguez in general, has found a way to hide those weaknesses in a way that this film simply doesn't care to do. Because of that Danny, for the first time in all the years I've been watching him, looked old. I KNOW he's old, but in movies they've found a way to work around that and make him look like an unstoppable killing machine. This movie fails miserably at that. Danny still does a lot of ass kicking, but there's no real sense of rhyme or reason to it. He just goes around kicking people's asses just for the hell of it. They try to make it so he discovers, through the death of his friend, whom he's out to avenge, corruption that leads all the way back to the mayor of the town. It's a really piss-poor attempt at a story, if you hadn't noticed. And what's with Ron Perlman only appearing in 2-3 scenes? I realize he was probably cast in order to secure some funding for the film, might not have been much, but still. Or maybe he was just too busy with Sons of Anarchy to be featured more prominently in the film, but it's still disappointing to see him used so little. The film has very severe tonal issues. There's this one scene where Frank tortures a guy for information by sticking his hand in the garbage disposal. It turns into a pretty blood and violent scene, but it somehow doesn't fit with the film's more 'laid back' approach to action. Frank goes ahead and makes a joke about leaving this guy without one hand for the rest of his life, but the scene just feels completely out of place. There's also the requisite romantic subplot. And boy, oh boy, let me tell you that the attempt at creating a romantic attraction between Danny Trejo and Joyful Drake is embarrassingly bad. They just did not click together and their dialogue was just horrendous. And the ending with Frank, finally being accepted into this family, is incredibly gag-worthy. It's not that I felt the age-difference wasn't a big deal, because it really isn't, it's just that there was no chemistry between the two. And you can immediately pick up on it, there's no real pretense about it, I don't think the film really even tries that badly to convince you that this could conceivably be a real couple, so there's that. Its purpose there to give Frank a reason to kick the main villain's ass. The rest of the romantic interactions between Vega and Amber is simply filler. The film is very obviously corny and silly, so for the most part you laugh at it, but this is an example of what happens when you make a full length movie off a 4-minute YouTube video. You get what you get. I plan on watching the sequel though, so hopefully that's a little better. This film offers a few chuckles, but nothing else.
At times it's hard to tell if the director is making another one of his fifty character epic films. While some stuff was intentionally bad, I don't believe he was shooting for something this illogical and cheesy. I had a handful of laughs, but this was mainly just a cheesy disaster. I even was excited for this film, my want to see, reads: "Looks like an even better version of Machete I'm excited for this one". Psh, not even close. At least Trejo is in the crap film.
This action movie is a homage to 1970's Vigilante films such as Dirty Harry & Death Wish... and the director Craig Moss did probably as much as he knows with the really poor screenplay by Elliot Tishman. Starring Danny Trejo - who was very suitable for the role - with Charles S. Dutton and Ron Perlman - who could be replaced by anyone, this was just watchable. The story of a decorated Vietnam vet Frank Vega (Danny Trejo) was done poorly even for an action movie standards! They could do so much better if they finished and polished a little bit work they've started. A war veteran returns home only to be shunned by society, leaving him without a job or his high school sweetheart... ok... sounds familiar... or after forty years an incident on a commuter bus, where he protects an elderly black man from a pair of skinheads, makes him a local hero... heard of that?... his best friend Klondike is murdered and the police aren't doing anything about it... enough! If you like what you've just read - check it out! But do not expect shinning in any department...
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