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Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses

2014 | 91 min | R | 1.85:1

Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses


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Theatrical release date

 17 February, 2014

Country of origin

 United States



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Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses


Screenshots from Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses Blu-ray

Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, March 29, 2014

Writer/director Craig Moss fancies himself a funny guy. With pictures like “The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It” and “30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” it’s unlikely the filmmaker has his finger on the pulse of contemporary comedy. Between wretched parody efforts, Moss has been trying to build himself a franchise with 2012’s “Bad Ass,” his cinematic extrapolation of the “Epic Beard Man” meme that was all the rage for 15 hot minutes in 2010. You recall “Amber Lamps,” right? Refusing to let a cruel joke die, Moss continues to develop his thin ideas with “Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses,” which, mercifully, dials down the meme references to plunge ahead as an average DTV actioner, this time teaming star Danny Trejo with Danny Glover, who thankfully doesn’t play a character named Doge.

Reclaiming his life after his first adventure as a vigilante, Frank (Danny Trejo) has opened a boxing gym for troubled youths, with Manny (Jeremy Ray Valdez) his prized pupil, growing into a father figure for the wayward boy. When Manny is murdered, it’s revealed that he had a secret life as a drug dealer, with Frank quick to comfort his mother, Rosaria (Jacqueline Obradors), and little sister, Julia (Melany Ochoa). Determined to nail the punks responsible for the killing, Frank finds an unlikely ally in Bernie (Danny Glover), an agoraphobic, ex-hockey player who owns the local convenience store. Hitting the streets of L.A., Frank and Bernie defy their age with brute force, chasing clues that lead to the wrath of Leandro (Andrew Divoff), an Argentinean ambassador who’s above the law, claiming diplomatic immunity as he floods the streets with pills and violence.

There are positives to “Bad Asses,” with the film immediately doing away with the Epic Beard Man mimicry, content to begin following its own story now that Frank has survived his first experience as a fanny-packed streetwise superhero and pulled his life together, though a touch of alcoholism remains. He’s a decent man, quick to care for Rosaria and Julia when Manny is murdered, and hungry to exact revenge on those who’ve taken the life of a loved one on the verge of turning his life around. Moss displays uncharacteristic patience with the basics of the character and his refreshed world of positivity, refusing most opportunities to inject “Bad Asses” with meme references and assorted humor that sports a short shelf-life. Of course, the helmer is perfectly comfortable with fart jokes, but, you know, baby steps. Moss isn’t exactly enlightened, but it’s safe to report that “Bad Asses” is the best movie he’s directed to date, if only because it feels more relaxed with its limitations instead to pretending there aren’t any.

The plot is minimal, mostly actioner routine that establishes a ruthless, untouchable villain, his various goons, and a mission of justice. The draw here isn’t the story, it’s Trejo and Glover, who are amusing in their roles, each tasked with articulating the difficulties of aging during a violent quest that requires youthful dexterity. The old guys aren’t what they used to be, yet they carry on determinedly, interacting with dismissive youngsters during a frat house interrogation and they make time to slap around Leandro’s arrogant son, Adolfo (Ignacio Serricchio). Clad in their supermen gear (e.g. a track suit, headband, profanity-laden t-shirt, and all-purpose fanny pack), Frank and Bernie hit the streets in search of answers, yet their own physical limitations are nearly as insidious as the enemy, with the former hockey player (oddly, Moss shows no interest in exploiting this bit of backstory) particularly prone to an overactive digestive system. Moss doesn’t offer his talent decent lines, but charisma shines through, making interplay between the partners passable.

Cribbing bits and pieces from “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Lethal Weapon 2,” Moss builds a better “Bad Ass,” though one that’s far from adequate. His insistence on humor deflates the whole production, especially when there’s nothing funny to share (yes, there’s an “Amber Lamps” callback), hobbling the movie with lame gags. This material is more confident as junk drawer cinema, hitting recognizable beats of intimidation and violence with limited fuss, playing up Trejo and Glover’s iconic presence as they throw punches and shoot guns. The lighter stuff comes off as a bad sketch comedy show, blocking the view of two geezers taking the law into their own hands.

Starring: Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, Andrew Divoff, Jacqueline Obradors, Jonathan Lipnicki, Dante Basco
Director: Craig Moss

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