The Bad Ass Series
Bad Ass (June 28/12)
Bad Ass follows Danny Trejo's Frank Vega, a down-on-his-luck Vietnam vet, as he becomes a local hero after beating up a couple of punks on a city bus, with the film subsequently detailing Frank's newfound notoriety and also his ongoing efforts at solving his best friend's murder. Though a boasts a seemingly can't-miss premise, Bad Ass is never quite able to become the mindlessly entertaining bit of violent escapism one might've anticipated - as filmmaker Craig Moss has infused the proceedings with an incongruously deliberate pace that does, generally speaking, prove disastrous. The film's lack of narrative momentum is exacerbated by Moss' curiously tame sensibilities (ie there's far too little action here), and it certainly goes without saying that the romantic subplot between Frank and a much, much younger woman (Joyful Drake's Amber) is, to say the least, creepy and unconvincing. And although Moss has sprinkled the movie with a handful of appreciatively over-the-top sequences - eg Frank tortures a goon by shoving his hand into a garbage disposal - Bad Ass, which builds to a climax that's literally been lifted right out of 1988's Red Heat, primarily comes off as a forgettable actioner that rarely (if ever) manages to satisfactorily exploit its irresistible setup.