{2jtab: Movie Review}

Bad Ass - Blu-ray Review


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3 Stars

While it started as an internet sensation, the real life story of an elderly man kicking ass and taking names on a bus has erupted into a full-fledged B movie starring genre geek favorite Danny Trejo.  In Bad Ass, it seems Trejo is humanity’s last best hope for justice on the streets of Los Angeles.  Other than resurrecting the late Charles Bronson, Trejo’s the only face I could ever see carrying this movie.  The movie doesn’t aim for the stars.  It has its fair share of loopy lines and goofy antics, but Bad Ass, tough as it is, isn’t pretending to be anything but a fist-fueling good time and it delivers the whole bloody affair.

Beginning (or should I say embracing) the B-movie cliché of montage, Bad Ass takes a step back from the youtube sensation about to make history upon the violent LA streets to tell the backstory of Frank Vega.  A child of the late 1950’s, we watch Frank (as a young boy) fall in love, jet off the war, return without hope for a job or his love, and reinvent his life as a corner street hot dog vendor.  Fast forward.  Life has indeed passed him by.  Clueless as to what a flash drive is, Vega has only himself and his Vietnam vet buddy Klondike (Harrison Page) to look upon after the loss of his mother.

Klondike has his beer.  Frank has his El Matador.  It gets them through the lonely nights.  Until they run out, that is.  Then, when Klondike does battle with a couple of gun-toting thugs on the payroll of a crooked mayor (Ron Perlman), it’s up to Frank - and not the police – to seek justice and bring his friend’s killers to some Old Testament justice.

Call him “Bad Ass”, folks.  That’s the moniker the media has slapped him with and the neighborhood agrees.  Frank’s neighbors – actress Joyful Drake and kid actor John Duffy – can testify to his protection against a deadbeat husband who beats his wife and is verbally abusive to his son.  They are now under his watch and no one screws with Bad Ass.  No one.  Not even a gang boss (Charles S. Dutton), who likes sending long texts and smiley face emoticons to the mayor, is untouchable.

Written and directed by Craig Moss (Breaking Wind), the film he’s developed doesn’t quite have the smarts to sell the narrative beyond a cliché-per-second genre flick, but – due in large part to Trejo’s commanding charisma – Bad Ass manages to overcome the shortcomings and be an entertaining slice of violent cinema.  It’s got exactly what was missing in Man on a Ledge: energy.  Almost chaotically unexpected with its choice of pick-me-ups, Bad Ass keeps the fire fueled with solid action and offbeat gonzo minutes of carnage and Trejo’s one-liners.

Bad Ass might play like a greatest hits package of Charles Bronson, but Trejo can handle the material like none other.  For those seeking a bit of street justice and random genre goofiness, Bad Ass is a solid choice.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Bad Ass - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for violence, some torture, pervasive language, and some sexual content/nudity.
: Craig Moss
Writer: Craig Moss, Elliot Tishman
Cast: Danny Trejo; Charles S. Dutton; Ron Perlman; John Duffy; Winter Ave Zoli
Genre: Action
They messed with the wrong senior citizen.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I didn't wanna fight."
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Home Video Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Official Site: www.facebook.com/heisbadass
Release Date: April 13, 2012 (limited)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 5, 2012

Synopsis: A Decorated Vietnam hero Frank Vega returns home only to get shunned by society leaving him without a job or his high school sweetheart. It's not until forty years later when an incident on a commuter bus (where he protects an elderly black man from a pair of skin heads) makes him a local hero where he's suddenly celebrated once again. But his good fortune suddenly turns for the worse when his best friend Klondike is murdered and the police aren't doing anything about it.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Bad Ass - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 5,2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Encoding: Region A Locked

Twentieth Century Fox’s 1080p transfer literally kicks ass.  Captured with proactive tools of the Red camera, the gritty Los Angeles locations are exceptionally handled.  Interiors are layered with nice edges and exteriors are gloriously crisp with sunlight.  Night shots are deep in shadows and thick with swirling blue tones.  Imagine trejo’s face in High Definition.  He’s a perfect example of why High Definition is a precise (and exciting) medium.  This might have been a low budget affair but your expectations for the disc should be high and, on this note, Bad Ass is sure to please.  With a dynamically engaged soundtrack – presented here in a 5.1 DTS–High Definition mix – Bad Ass also kicks the speakers into the walls a bit.  While not fully encompassing of the street sounds, the mix is decent enough to keep viewers distracted from the momentary downtime in the movie.



  • Writer/Director Craig Moss is excited about his movie. He should be. Here, on the film’s commentary, Moss discusses the actual event that inspired the movie and the development of the script.  He also discusses working with Trejo, Perlman, and Dutton on the movie and their commitment to making the film work. Of note are the discussions he has about the camera used and the locations they found around a bustling Los Angeles.

Special Features:

If there’s one message Bad Ass leaves you with it’s that you should always respect your elders. The supplemental material is tad bit short on respect for its feature as it contains only featurette. Entitle Birth of a Bad Ass, the featurette covers some of the material Moss discussed in the commentary and features interviews with himself and Trejo. In separate interviews they discuss the making of the movie.  Absolutely nothing new here, but is interesting to hear Trejo talk about his Vietnam experience (something he shares with the character).

  • Birth of a Bad Ass (5 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}