Three years after Frank Vega roughed up some hoods in the YouTube-inspired Bad Ass, he’s partnering with a decrepit Bernie Pope to maul local Mexican drug kingpins. But first, they’ll need to unleash an outburst of old man jokes which writer/director Craig Moss cribbed from his childhood days. Depends undergarments are funny because old people use them. And they have bad hips. And they use hearing aids. And they’re slow. And they can’t see. Ugh.
Despite the idiocy of it all, Bad Asses is an unlikely flood of moronic heroics, the type of direct-to-video drivel which supersedes embedded expectations. Dueling Danny’s in Trejo and Glover turn this clunker into something… well, it’s something.
Were Bad Ass 2 a sitcom pilot, one which follows cranky tattooed seniors who beat up carryout thieves with their stunt doubles, NBC would have canned it before air. Structuring this impending disaster with 90-minutes of filler and ludicrous banter flips it into a realm of whole self-awareness so accidentally genius, it justifies the existence of Bad Ass all together.
Trejo’s indifferent performance adds a dopey sheen to this exercise in modern exploitation, painfully executing passe revenge motives in an effort to sic Vega on evil – if well mannered – pill pushers. With six months left to live, Pope joins in because Bad Asses is a better title than Bad Ass 2, and into raw cinematic gibberish we go.
Since stabbing people in the eye with an ice pick alludes to a veil of insanity, Vega is grounded by a woman 22 years younger who still turns into a romantic interest. Between his spats with archetypal locals, Vega turns to supporting a brother-less five year old or swishes around copious levels of vodka throughout a film which embraces unclean lunacy.
Bad Asses fails to carry a sliver of common cinematic sense, devolving to such extremes as to embed its finale with identifiable action movie stock footage – a copied tactic of the first film. Glover and Trejo are appallingly green screened into the fracas, sending their Bronco into a forest tumble while being outgunned by a helicopter filmed sometime in the early ’90s.
This is the low budget video dud invigorated by irrational thinking and a peculiar attitude without any pretense of future critical judgment. A usual surge of criticisms ranging from childish to repetitious are deflected from Bad Asses shield of enjoyable lunacy. It’s a howler, although that could be from pain or laughs dependent on perspective.
Birthed from digital, Bad Asses is often beautiful in its display of intense clarity. Freed from imperfections except one round of noise and focal roughhousing come the third act, fidelity hits an immediate peak. Consistency for such a feature is impressive.
Appealing color patterns swerve from the idea of post-production overhauls until (again) the third act imposes its will with overreaching blues. Primaries boost enough to raise flesh tones and saturate screens without proving intense. Saturation is pleasingly layered.
Peppy contrast and deepened black levels are depth equalizers, managing to avoid washing out fine or shadow detail despite a shared intensity. Night drops a hefty density across the frame, capturing clean depth without side effects.
In close, the disc works miracles in presenting facial definition, Trejo’s aged face hardly a stranger to the format. Exteriors are pulled from stock with visibly less resolution than newly captured materials. By Bad Asses’ close, as it’s slinging film-based stock footage, the AVC encode will prove its worth.
Everything this DTS-HD presentation will be asked to pump out will prove artificial, from the arid and flat gunfire to meek ambiance while taking to the streets. Helicopter work is patched together from better features, if considerate of this 5.1 soundstage.
Perky stereo use will create a decent split between front speakers and where applicable, there is a rush into the surrounds to better place this material. Fired rounds are plastered in each channel with minimal consideration as to why. A warehouse shoot out pierces the rears and fronts equally without logic. Bad Asses sole and lengthy explosion is an aural dud.
Making of Bad Asses gives 10-minutes of routine insight into the characters, spliced between some set footage. Meh.
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