Bad Ass 2: Badasses
A few years ago, I saw movie called “Bad Ass.” It was a movie that starred Danny Trejo as an old Vietnam veteran who gets into a fight on a bus because he wanted to defend an elderly man on a bus from a bunch of young thugs. This prompted him to become a vigilante in the city of Los Angeles, and he defeated some big time gangs in the city. The story was pretty simple in structure, but it was so confident in how it told its story that it was hard for me not to like the film. It felt very much like a direct-to-video movie, but it was fun and it was filled with humor. A fun way to spend a few hours.
I never expected “Bad Ass” to get a sequel, but never say never when it comes to the movies, and low and behold, “Bad Ass” got a sequel. Danny Trejo returns as Frank Vega, the Vietnam veteran who runs his own gym training boxers. When one of his beloved pupils Manny (Jeremy Ray Valdez), dies in a gangland slaying, Frank is primed to gain revenge on Manny’s killers. This time, Frank doesn’t go alone, enlists the help from a store clerk named Bernie (Danny Glover) for help against Manny’s killers. Basically, that is the plot; once again it is not something special in terms of story and character. But the film is also confident in the way it sets up Frank and Bernie as characters and how they build their needs to fight these bad guys. This is not a movie that had any type of awards in mind. “Bad Ass 2: Badasses” just wants to have fun with its audience and once again, it fulfills its quest.
What makes “Bad Ass 2” so confident is how well it creates its characters. Danny Trejo has always been an underrated action figure in Hollywood and I don’t think many directors know just how well to use him. Well director Craig Moss sure does, because Trejo has never been this good in a film ever. Frank Vega is, for the most part, a silent guardian in the first film. In this sequel he is given much more of a personality which I feel the film benefited from. Trejo seemed more than happy to help out and make this character better than he needed to be. Danny Glover maybe a crazy Leftist, but when he comes to a set to act, he still does the trick. I don’t understand what happened, but Danny Glover doesn’t appear in movies as much as he should anymore. I don’t know if he is getting old and thinking about retiring, but this sequel proves he still has it, and that he still has the ability to charm and dazzle.
The rest of the cast includes Andrew Divoff, Jacqueline Obradors, Jonathon Lipnicki, Patrick Fabian, Leon G. Thomas III and Charlie Carver. They do pretty good work in the film, some actors do better than others, but overall they fit the not-quite-serious tone of this franchise. I also love how diverse this movie is. Still, even in 2014, it seems most directors still are afraid that general audiences won’t believe a minority in a leading action role, but these “Bad Ass” movies don’t quell with such ideas and the result is something that feels unlike anything you can watch, even though the storyline is quite basic and familiar.
The action sequences are pretty straightforward. They don’t feature anything epic or crazy or outlandish. They are filled with simple street brawls. The movie isn’t trying to bend the action genre in anyway, it is just telling a fun story, and doing it well. If you sit down and give these movies a chance, you just might like what you see.
FINAL GRADE: B