Danny Trejo goes vigilante in a fun grindhouse-style flick, based on a YouTube hit.
When mobile phone footage of a bearded senior citizen beating the snot out of two young punks on a bus went viral as “Epic Beard Man”, it seemed like something from a movie. Soon enough, writer/director Craig Moss took this idea and created the feature length version of the video, doing the only logical thing in the circumstances and adding Danny Trejo as the lead.
The result is a typically high-concept six-pack sort of a film, with heavy parallels to last year’s glorious Hobo with a Shotgun. We have here another slice of grindhouse style vigilante action, with just enough violence and humour to work. Trejo is good fun as usual, and the rest of the cast really play up to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the script.
There are a few genuinely laugh-out-loud moments in here, with Ron Perlman delivering perhaps the zinger of the film in one of his brief scenes, and Trejo’s humbly understated hero proving good value as a comedic presence, with his fanny pack and baggy shorts nailing the film’s vibe straight from the start. The comedy is balanced just right with the violence, which is almost comic in its delivery.
The appeal of Bad-Ass is that it has just enough quality in its street-level photography and charismatic lead to elevate it above the usual grindhouse fare, providing an amusing and often exciting comedy/action movie. The only problem the film faces is the usual high-concept dilemma of just how far the idea can be stretched. 90 minutes feels a little long for what is essentially an homage to a YouTube video, and the last 15 minutes in particular feel a little laboured, as they squeeze in a slightly dull chase.
Not to be seen before watching the video itself, (link HERE), Bad Ass delivers enough fun to be a worthy watch over a few beers of an evening, without ever being too demanding. Lacking the Technicolor splatter of Hobo with a Shotgun, the concept does run out of steam a little towards the end, but there is plenty for exploitation fans to enjoy here.