The Search for the Worst Movie Ever: 'Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses'
By Cinesnark | Film | September 3, 2014 |
Based on the title—which sounds like a fake movie-within-a-movie—and the fact that it went straight to DVD in February—so not even good enough for a throwaway February turd release—I expected Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses to be awful. Imagine my surprise when, at about the ten minute mark, I realized that Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses (I am never getting tired of this title) is actually GOOD. “Holy shit!” I said, for real, out loud. “It’s good!”
Well, it’s good for a certain value of “good.” Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses is squarely in good-bad territory. It’s unapologetically dumb, with a ludicrous premise, but it’s competently made so I’m not distracted by obviously bad filmmaking—unlike Ragnarok, which was bad decision after bad decision—and in fact it features some nice camerawork. Fight scenes are clear and well-staged, action is easy to follow, and there’s a solid car chase, too—someone on that set knew how to move a camera. Director Craig Moss (who also directed Saving Ryan’s Privates) set up some good visual gags throughout the movie, too.
I did not see Bad Ass, but the first thirty seconds of Bad Asses recaps that Danny Trejo beat someone up on a bus for being rude to an old man and so was made an honorary member of the LAPD (seems legit). And then we jump ahead three years to now-ish, when Trejo is running a boxing gym and training a young hopeful. Within five minutes, the young hopeful is dead, there’s a link to a Mexican drug cartel, and Danny Trejo is on the case. Like I said, it’s dumb as fuck and completely preposterous—and pretty much plays the same “diplomatic immunity” card as Lethal Weapon 2—but there’s enough working for it to hang together.
Danny Trejo is not a good actor, but he is a charismatic performer, and the movie mostly uses him right. There are a couple scenes where it’s like, Whoa, stop emoting, buddy—do we really need the romantic subplot?—but the scenes he shares with Danny Glover, who is definitely way too old for this shit, are pretty great. Glover really can act, and he delivers some genuinely good moments, obviously enjoying himself and playing the shit out of some pretty thin material for decent laughs. I never laughed at this movie, but I was laughing with it fairly consistently, which is maybe the nicest thing I can say about it.
Trejo and Glover, whose characters had names, I’m sure, but they didn’t stick because they were basically playing heightened versions of themselves, team up to get revenge on the people who killed Trejo’s young hopeful. There’s banter, there’s surprisingly good action, and there’s an appearance by a super-jacked Jonathan Lipnicki. The banter is what makes Bad Asses work—Trejo and Glover have solid chemistry together. And their characters’ relationship is earned; they share a satisfying arc, becoming friends after a couple of exchanges that carry real weight. Actual thought went into the script—the premise is dumb, but the characters are not treated dumbly.
One bad thing, though, is the pacing. The movie is only ninety minutes but it feels a little long. It drags at points, namely when Trejo is trying to emote, but it always gets going again as soon as the next punch is thrown. It also has a hella ridiculous ending, but everything preceding the ending is pretty ridiculous, too, so while my eyebrows went up, it’s not like I didn’t enjoy it in spite of its own ridiculousness. I think this is what Stallone is going for with The Expendables franchise, but he doesn’t understand jokes or emotions. Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses is on Netflix Instant and I would actually recommend it for dumb-fun viewing. Alcohol not even required.
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