REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers, Video — April 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm

REVIEW: Bad Ass (2012) + trailer

Frank Vega (Danny Trejo) has had a tough life. After enlisting in the army, he went into the heart of the Vietnam war, and returns home after seven years, only to find out his girl already happily married with children.

Ex Vietnam vet is left alone, without his sweetheart, without job, and any bright future.

Fourty years later, Vega is still alive on the streets, selling hotdogs, while remaining a decent citizen. Later, an incident on a commuter bus turns Frank into a local hero, as he single-handedly knocks out two Neo Nazis who were harassing a black man. However soon, his best friend Klondike is murdered and the police aren’t doing anything about it.

Frank of course is not someone who’s going to forget it, and he decides to take justice into his own hands, and find his friend’s killers. Little does he know, that his friend was connected to the people who rule the streets and to those who wear suits and crave for political power.

2010 – Danny Trejo stars in “Machete”, playing the main part. The tagline for the film was “They just fucked with the wrong Mexican!”2012 – Danny Trejo stars in “Bad Ass” as Frank Vega, also the main protagonist. The tagline for the film was “They messed with the wrong senior citizen”.

Aside from Trejo, we got Charles S. Dutton (Panther, man who owns the streets) and Ron Perlman (suit-wearing Mayor Williams). While both Dutton and Perlman are great additions to any movie, here they are not doing much, especially Perlman, as he appears only in a couple of scenes. Popular Danny Woodburn appears in one scene as a crazy armed neighbor!

Dutton gets a little more action, even some hand-to-hand with Danny Trejo. The film mostly focuses on Trejo, who walks around doing what he does best, less talking – much punching.

BASED ON A TRUE STORY…The story of “Bad Ass” is inspired, or should I say, loosely based on a short Youtube video that first appeared online and went viral in 2010. It shows a footage recorded on a bus in Oakland, where a a 50 year old black man and a 67 year old white man wearing a T-shirt that reads “I AM A MOTHERFUCKER” having a heated argument fueled by racial ignorance resulting in a violent fight.The white man was later called “Epic Beard Man”, his real name is Thomas Bruso. While the original “bad ass” was not all that heroic, according to numerous news reports that came out after the viral video, Danny Trejo’s character “Frank Vega” is nothing short of a local hero in “Bad Ass”. This is how you make a film story out of a small video recorded somewhere.

Aside from Trejo, we got Charles S. Dutton (Panther, man who owns the streets) and Ron Perlman (suit-wearing Mayor Williams). While both Dutton and Perlman are great additions to any movie, here they are not doing much, especially Perlman, as he appears only in a couple of scenes.

Dutton gets a little more action, even some hand-to-hand with Danny Trejo. The film mostly focuses on Trejo, who walks around doing what he does best, less talking – much punching.

While I can accept Trejo as a butt-kicking Vietnam veteran, a script loosely based on a viral YouTube video and some bad fights, there were two things that almost completely ruined the film for me.

One of such things was the absence of Arnold Schwarzenegger… No, I am not crazy, just read on. Towards the end of the film, there’s a “bus-chasing” scene, where Vega (Trejo) gets on a bus and goes after Panther (Dutton), who’s also driving a bus.

Of course we get these two buses going down the streets at mad speed, crushing cars and so on, but guess what? Its a damn footage! Yes, it is a footage from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1988 movie “Red Heat” (scene where Arnie’s Captain Danko follows a crook in a bus).

With a few cuts of Dutton’s, and Trejo’s faces, we get a nice footage, which however shows one shot of Arnold’s head (you remember his idiotic haircut, right?), so I wonder why Arnie wasn’t given a credit… Anyway…

And the other thing is an obvious plot hole. According to the story, Frank’s friend Klondike gets killed because he happens to possess some important information (something we never see, just know its on a flash drive) that could reveal illegal activities of the Mayor himself.

The plot hole here is that we are never told or explained or shown how Frank’s friend got into all this trouble, how get got close to the Mayor himself, and how he got this important information in possession. Based on what Klondike looks like, I’d say he would never be able to steal any important information from any kind of government.

Anyway, if it wasn’t for these two huge, in my opinion, letdowns, the film would have been a lot better. The “bus-chasing scene” frustrated me more than the plot hole, since I’ve seen the very same footage in at least 4 or 5 action movies made years before the “Bad Ass”.

It is a shame that the creators of this Trejo movie thought people wouldn’t notice. See the film if you’re a Trejo fan, otherwise “Bad Ass” may be bad ass, but its forgettable.

 

BZFILM SCALE: 3/10

 



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