Bad Ass (film)
|Directed by||Craig Moss|
|Produced by||Ash R. Shah|
|Written by||Craig Moss
Charles S. Dutton
and Ron Perlman
|Music by||Todd Haberman|
|Editing by||Jim Flynn|
|Studio||Amber Lamps, LLC
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films
20th Century Fox (Non-USA, USA DVD)
|Running time||90 minutes|
Bad Ass is a 2012 American action film written & directed by Craig Moss, the film stars Danny Trejo, Charles S. Dutton, and Ron Perlman. It is loosely based on the viral AC Transit Bus fight internet video. A sequel is in the works, entitled Bad Asses.
Frank Vega (Danny Trejo) is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who had led a difficult life. His old girlfriend had married someone else and had two kids while he was fighting for his country, he's unable to get a job anywhere and ended up making a living selling hot dogs for most of his life until a hot dog van took away his job. Frank had practically spent the remainder of his life as a drifter, until one day, he becomes famous on the internet when he beats up two skinheads on a bus, is given the nickname "Bad Ass," and is celebrated by everybody around him; everybody makes T-shirts and graffiti with his face on it, police give him ride-alongs and he ends up on talk shows.
3 months later, Frank's mother (Tonita Castro) passes away and leaves him with her house and dog, Baxter. Frank's best friend, Klondike Washington (Harrison Page) moves in with Frank and entrusts him with a USB flash drive before going for a nightly walk to get a pack of cigarettes. In a dark alley, Klondike is murdered by one of two thugs, leaving Frank heartbroken. Frank meets a boy named Martin (John Duffy), who lives next door to Frank with his mother, Amber Lamps (Joyful Drake) and abusive father, Martin Sr. (Chris Spencer). Officer Malark (Patrick Fabian) assures Frank that the police department are working on finding the men who killed Klondike, but after watching the news and learning that the police solved a different murder in a faster time span, Frank discovers that the police are doing little to nothing about Klondike's murder.
Frank decides to solve the mystery himself, starting with investigating the alley where Klondike died from the gunshot wound. He discovers a spent bullet case and a pendant with a picture of a woman in it. Frank takes them both to a pawn shop where the shopkeeper (Duane Whitaker) tells him it belongs to a man named Terence (Erik Betts), whose wife's picture is in the pendant. After returning the pendant to Terence's wife, he asks for information to his whereabouts, which she tells he's playing basketball with some friends. After beating up some of Terence's friends, they tell him that a man named Renaldo might know where Terence is. Frank goes to Renaldo's apartment and meets Calvin (Larry Richardson), an actor who's playing a priest in a play. Calvin tells Frank that Renaldo is at a bar across town. After beating up some of the customers, Frank finds Renaldo and has him tell Frank that Terence is hanging out with his girlfriend, Lindsay (Jillian Murray). Frank finds her working at a massage parlor but she doesn't give Frank any information, so he follows her after her shift. After breaking into her house, he finds Terence and tortures him for information about his boss (who conspired Klondike's murder) by sticking his hand in the kitchen's garbage disposal. Terence reveals that Klondike was killed by a drug lord named Panther (Charles S. Dutton) for the flash drive he was given earlier that contains information about building oil wells in the town, run by Mayor Williams (Ron Perlman).
Before confronting Panther, Frank saves Amber and Martin from their abusive father/husband and ends up becoming their neighborhood friend. Amber invites Frank over for a home-cooked meal, and Frank gets all dressed up for it. At dinner, Frank asks Amber if he can have a matchbook of hers as a memento, and she gives it to him. They are about to kiss when Martin, Jr. walks in on them, so they don't. Frank insists that Amber and Martin stay at his place until he can repair her front door. The next day, Frank gives the flash drive to Officer Malark and finally tracks down Panther at his hideout, but is knocked unconscious, captured, and then tortured for information about the location of the flash drive by being hooked up to an electrocution device and is shocked multiple times, like he was in the war. Panther even turns the device up to the highest setting built for "the African bush elephant and the Siberian moose", but Frank still refuses to surrender the flash drive. Panther obtains Frank's wallet, learns Frank's address and believes Frank is hiding not only the flash drive there, but a loved one as well due to Frank's insistence that there's nothing to find. Panther leaves his men to continue torturing Frank, but he breaks free from his restraints and throws a lit matchbook (the one he got from Amber) at some oil drums, setting the building on fire and causing explosions. Panther escapes but Frank gives chase. They both steal buses and duel, causing them both to crash. While chasing Panther again on foot, Frank comes across the two skinheads he beat up on the bus earlier. When they try to restore their reputation by recording themselves with their cell phone beating up Frank to put on the internet, Frank overpowers them again, takes their phone, and continues chasing Panther. Panther arrives at Frank's house where Amber is staying, and threatens to kill her for information about the flash drive, but Frank intervenes in time and overpowers Panther. The fight spills out into the front yard, and just as Panther is about to go after Frank again, Amber jumps on his back and slows him down enough for Frank to get up and beat up Panther.
Panther is arrested, as is Mayor Williams when his connection to Panther's scandal is revealed on the news. Frank, Amber and Martin all live happily ever after.
- Danny Trejo as Frank Ryan Vega
- Charles S. Dutton as Panther
- Chris Spencer as Martin Sr.
- Christine Clayburg as News Anchor
- Craig Sheffer as Attorney
- Danny Woodburn as Sluggy Korn-nuts
- Tonita Castro as Juanita Vega (Frank's Mother)
- Duane Whitaker as Rex
- Ezra Buzzington as Feeble Clerk
- Frank Maharajh as Detective Shah
- Harrison Page as Klondike
- Isabella Cascarano as Agata
- Jennifer Blanc as Frances
- Jillian Murray as Lindsay
- John Duffy as Martin
- Joyful Drake as Amber Lamps
- Patrick Fabian as Office Malark
- Patricia De Leon as Marissa
- Richard Riehle as Father Miller
- Ron Perlman as Mayor Williams
- Sam Rubin as Interviewer
- Shalim Ortiz as young Frank Vega
- Winter Ave Zoli as Tatiana
- Craig Moss as a generous bus driver
Bad Ass was very loosely based on the AC Transit Bus fight, which was filmed by a bystander and became a viral video on YouTube. Immediately after the release of the film, the producers began active development on a story for a new installment of Bad Ass with a view toward shooting this installment in 2013.
- I'm a Bad Ass (Kid Frost & Big Tank)
- Amazing (Big L.A., Glasses Malone & Jah Free)
- Llévame Contigo (Pancho & Sancho)
- Six Million Ways To Die (Kid Frost ft. Clika One)
- I'm On My Way (Big Tank, Spirit & Butch Cassidy)
- Coochie Cantina (Pancho & Sancho)
- Stay Ready (Big Tank & Spirit)
- Y Porque Perder (Pancho & Sancho)
- Take Me Down (Pancho & Sancho)
- Take Me Down (Spanglish) (Pancho & Sancho)
- Stay Ready (Clean) (Big Tank & Spirit)
- Blood Sweat and Tears ("Stay Ready" Instrumental) (Chef Raw C Beatz)
Production was completed by May 2011. SC Films picked up sales rights to the film with plans to present it to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival. The film has been sold to Wild Bunch for distribution in Germany and to Pinnacle Films for distribution in Australia. Subsequently distribution arrangements were made with Samuel Goldwyn Films for USA theatrical release on April 13, 2012 as well as Twentieth Century Fox for ancillary rights and international all media distribution.
Reception to the film's premise has been mixed, with some news articles wondering if the film was actually real or a hoax. Vulture's Sarah Benned commented on the preview, saying "This trailer for Bad Ass (loosely based on this viral video) is either a parody, the trailer for a parody, or just an excuse to make Danny Trejo beat people up while wearing a fanny pack. It's your call." Cinema Blend has compared the trailer to Trejo's initially mock-trailer for Machete, saying "This could be a spoof trailer sandwiched in the middle of a Grindhouse sequel. Then again, that worked for Machete, so why couldn’t it kick-start Bad Ass, as well?"
In his review of Bad Ass, Los Angeles Times critic Mark Olsen stated, "It's often difficult to tell what's bad on purpose or just badly handled. Perhaps it is just difficult to compete with the strange spontaneity of something like a viral video; the way it takes on its own momentum may be something that can't be replicated." The film maintains a 42% user rating on the film review website Rotten Tomatoes as of May 13th 2013.
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- Bennett, Sarah (January 26, 2011). "Watch the Trailer for Bad Ass, Decide If It’s Real". New York Magazine. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- O'Connell, Sean. "Danny Trejo Delivers Street Justice In Bad Ass Trailer, Based On A Viral Video". December 26, 2011. Cinemablend. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- Olsen, Mark (April 14, 2012). "Movie review: 'Bad Ass' has rough time extending 'Epic Beard Man'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- "Bad Ass (2012)". RottenTomatoes.com. Retrieved May 13, 2013.