Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bearded Fury

When I was writing about that sub-standard Danny Trejo movie we saw, I completely forgot to mention Bad Ass (2102). I heard about it on the movie podcast How Did This Get Made and had to watch it.

It's got a pretty high-concept premise - the movie is based on a viral Youtube video, known as Epic Beard Man. Basically, an old guy (with a beard) sees some punks acting threatening on a bus and whales the tar out of them. This movie is the story of that man (except completely made up).

Trejo plays Bad Ass, as he is known in the movie version of the viral video: a Vietnam vet who was tortured by Charlie, came back to LA to find his girl was married, couldn't get a job. He wanted to be a policeman, but his war injuries kept him out. So he wound up working as a hot dog guy, and that's where he stayed until he grew old.

Then one day, he's on the bus and sees some punks, etc. The video of the confrontation goes viral, and he gets his moment of glory. But it doesn't really help much. His mom dies and he moves into her old house with her dog with an old army buddy. Then the buddy gets killed by punks and he doesn't start looking for trouble, but when it comes to him, he settles it.

There really isn't much to this - it's pretty much a standard straight to video actioner. It has some cute stuff riffing on viral videos and YouTube. Other than that it has Danny Trejo with a Fidel Castro beard in shorts and a fanny pack. It has him sad and alone and it has him kicking butt. He's great either way.

Other than that, there is a subplot with a whitebread cop who takes him for ride-alongs. I took him for a secret crook or racist, he was so patently honky. But he was just a nice guy.

This is not a great movie, but it is certainly a good one, and let's Danny be Danny even more than Machete. But even if you don't watch it, you've got to listen to the How Did This Get Made podcast. It includes an awesome interview with Danny Trejo, explaining fun facts like:
  • He always has a knife in movies as a joke on the parole board - his parole terms won't let him carry an edged weapon
  • He is an expert at the claw machines, and gives the stuffed animals he wins to children's charities
  • From his time in prison, he learned to judge who was truly dangerous by the look in their eyes. Guess which movie stars he sees as most deadly (not Nic Cage)

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