Blu-ray Review: Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses

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The roots of the Bad Ass series began with the so-called “Epic Beard Man,” a burly white guy named Thomas A. Bruso who beat up a black man on an Oakland, CA public transit bus in 2010. The disturbing video footage of the fight, in which racial tensions played a role, went viral and Bruso experienced his 15 minutes. Writer-director Craig Moss (known for bargain-basement parody films such as The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It) loosely based his 2012 film Bad Ass on the Bruso incident. Not much of the slim, real-life story made it into the movie, which stars Danny Trejo as Frank Vega, a take-no-guff Vietnam vet who seeks revenge for the death of a friend.

Due largely to Robert Rodriguez’s Machete films, Trejo’s cult popularity is apparently strong enough to have turned the middling Bad Ass into a bona fide direct-to-video franchise. Now we have Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses, which provides more of the same—albeit with the greatly appreciated addition of Danny Glover. It’s another revenge story, this time centered on the murder of a promising young boxer. Frank (Trejo) had been training the prospect at his gym. It’s quickly revealed that the young man was wrapped up with drug dealers. Determined to avenge his death, Frank teams up with convenience store owner (and one-time hockey phenom) Bernie (Glover) and together the old guys prove they can still live up to the film’s title.

Look at it this way: if you’re interested on the basis of the Trejo/Glover team-up, go for it. There’s absolutely nothing else to recommend about this formulaic action flick. Even then, neither Trejo nor Glover deliver particularly inspired performances. But there’s at least a little fun to be had in watching them trade insults. Returning writer-director Moss has conjured up fewer laughs this time around. Those who just can’t get enough, however, should rest easy. Trejo and Glover have already shot the next installment, Bad Ass 3: Bad Asses on the Bayou, which takes them down to Baton Rouge for a friend’s wedding. The great John Amos joins the cast for that outing, due next year.

Bad Ass 2 on Blu-ray, from 20th Century Fox, offers modern, digitally-shot perfection. Paul Marschall’s workmanlike cinematography is as crisp as anyone would expect from a new production. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix does just what it was designed to do, and nothing more, as well. Fidelity is flawless, but surround activity is a bit sparse even during the big shoot-‘em-up scenes.

Special features are predictably light for this cut-rate DTV product. All we find is a ten-minute “making of” piece. The package also includes an UltraViolet digital copy. Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses isn’t very good, but if you saw Bad Ass then you know what to expect.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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