This is the age we live in: Three years ago, cell phone video of a fist fight on an Oakland city bus went viral across the Internet, spawning the "Epic Beard Man" meme. In 2012, Danny Trejo (Machete Kills) starred in a low budget, direct-to-video action flick titled Bad Ass – a movie with the premise, "What if Epic Beard Man turned into a Death Wish-style vigilante?"
Featuring appearances by Charles S. Dutton (American Horror Story) and Ron Perlman (Pacific Rim), Bad Ass apparently overcame its absurd roots to make a good-enough deal of cash to warrant a sequel. Now, the first trailer for Bad Asses shows off its primary hook: veteran action star Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) joins up with Trejo for an expanded round of geriatric butt-kicking.
Bad Asses looks awful. There may be more gentle ways to state this, but this first preview displays a movie openly trying to ape such "aging action stars run amok" action-comedies as RED and The Expendables (even name-dropping the latter), only to come up considerably short. The jokes feel forced, the action poorly staged, and any sense of parody is rendered anemic by tonal whiplash.
All this said, trailers can be remarkably poor representations of the films they advertise. What comes off as cheesy or tone-deaf in a preview can – in context – end up being genuinely good comedy. If Bad Asses can utilize the able talents of its leads and transcend its queasily ridiculous origin, it might be a minor B-movie classic in the making.
At the very least, we can all agree that Trejo's beard truly is epic.
Directed by Craig Moss (The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It), Bad Asses also stars Andrew Divoff (Lost), Jacqueline Obradors (NCIS), and Johnathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire).
Bad Asses will be released in 2014.