Bad Ass Blu-ray Review: A Film that Absolutely Reeks of Mediocrity

For those of you who saw and enjoyed Machete as much as I did, you might have found yourself wondering at one point or another “How does one go about recreating the magic Machete had?” Well, if you’re Robert Rodriguez, all you need do is make another Machete movie with Danny Trejo in the lead. If you’re not Robert Rodriguez, then all you really should do is not try. At all. Case in point: Craig Moss’ inept attempt to make a modern exploitation flick, Bad Ass — a film that is very loosely-based on the infamous viral video of white Vietnam Vet Thomas Bruso (aka Epic Beard Man) delivering a short-but-affirmative ass-whoppin’ on a public bus.

But enough about the non-existent plot. Let’s focus on writer/director Craig Moss’ incorrect title for a spell. Now, for the context this film contains, the title should be “Bad-Ass” or — preferably — the common-accepted spelling of the word, “Badass.” Instead, we have Bad Ass: two separate words that roughly translate to “putrid heinder.” True, 68-year-old Danny Trejo (hey, he wears it well, right?) might be old enough to possess a sagging behind, but that’s really not what the film’s about here: it’s about an old man seeking revenge on the hoods that killed his friend. Actually, Bad Ass’s true purpose is to rip off several other films (and extremely cheaply at that) while posing itself as an actual moving picture.

It’s not, of course. At first glance, you may notice the movie’s tagline, “They messed with the wrong senior citizen,” is a blatant take on the tagline for the original faux trailer of Machete first seen in Grindhouse, wherein the narrator exclaimed “They just fucked with the wrong Mexican.” And it only gets worse. Bad Ass absolutely reeks of mediocrity (and that’s being generous), boasting some of the shoddiest CGI in the last ten years (which is saying something), and even going so far as to steal the epic bus chase sequence from the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jim Belushi film Red Heat for its finale. Nothing like seeing stolen, digitally-altered twenty-seven-year-old stock footage (complete with 27-year-old cars!) to make you feel like you’ve spent your money wisely, eh?

With the exception of an outright incongruous hand-in-the-garbage-disposal scene, I would say the budget on this awful movie was virtually non-existent. Needless to say, I doubt Thomas Bruso received any royalties for “inspiring” Craig Moss (a man who is responsible for such god-awful parodies as Breaking Wind and The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It — honestly, who spoofs comedies) to make this pile of garbage. Danny Trejo probably received a whole $1.50 for his time here, with co-stars Charles S. Dutton (hopelessly miscast as a villain) and Ron Perlman (no stranger to film fare such as this) earning at least half of that for their day’s worth of filming.

Of course, now that I look at the end-result, maybe Craig Moss was being deliberate when he called this one Bad Ass instead of “Badass” — because this film certainly feels like it escaped from someone’s rotten rump. Shame on Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for even picking this one up, let alone for issuing it in High-Def. The presentation here is pretty good, all things considered, though the terrible CGI effects stand out ten times worse than they might in Standard-Definition (nah, I’m pretty sure they’d suck in any resolution). The audio is far better, though nothing contained here is really worth listening to, so we’ve achieved an aural paradox here. Special features include an audio commentary and a brief behind-the-scenes EPK-type featurette.

Yes, Craig Moss’ crowning achievement definitely lives up to its name, because this film is most certainly like a bad ass. It’s a cheap-ass film, you’ll probably feel like a dumbass even watching it, and will most likely rule it to suck ass as well (see how I used those, Craig?).

Avoid it.

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Luigi Bastardo

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