I love a good redemption-gone-wrong film, where the post-bad guy is trying to turn his life around and be a normal part of society. These types of films can be action packed, brutal, and in some cases, quite gory. Now, if you add in a revenge subplot, you should have a formula for an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with BAD FRANK.
Opening a movie with a sex scene can be any easy, albeit generic, way to grasp the notice of the audience. Instead, the love making here is dull. I’m guessing this is to show that our main character, Frank Pierce (Kevin Interdonato), is a normal guy who has boring sex like everyone else. If the tame lovemaking scene wasn’t enough to prove that Frank is boring, then the secluded house that he and his wife Gina (Amanda Clayton) live in will definitely provide the image of somebody who’s settled down, or perhaps is trying to get away from his past.
Initially, it’s not explained why, but Frank doesn’t get along with his father Dash (Nino Bless). Okay, I’m totally involved. I want to know what’s wrong with Frank. Why is he so fucked up? Frank’s walking a tightrope of normalcy, and he’s out of his meds. I suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD, so I can pretty much figure out from seeing Frank operate that without his meds, somebody is going to get hurt. With that said, when is the violence going to start? This is called BAD FRANK, not “Boring Frank.”
The worst place to be for someone that is trying to stay sober is a bar, but Frank accompanies his wife to try and be social and normal. Being in a bar and not drinking sucks. It’s not long before Frank’s buddy Travis (Brandon Heitkamp) asks Frank to join him to run an errand. What Frank doesn’t realize is that it is to be the muscle in a drug deal, organized by Frank’s former boss Mickey Duro (Tom Sizemore). It’s been a while since I’ve seen Tom Sizemore play a badass. He sounds in this movie like a cokehead who just got done doing five minutes at a comedy open mic, but at least he isn’t boring. When Frank shows up on scene, everyone is surprised, and it’s obvious that he has a reputation for fucking shit up. The drug deal goes sour, Mickey and his right hand man Niko (Russ Russo) shoot the dealers, and steal the money and the dope. Ah, so this is the life Frank was trying to leave behind.
Immediately, Frank feels bad, and wants to call the police and tell them everything that happened the night before. This is where things start getting interesting. Somehow Mickey found out that Frank wanted to snitch, Niko shows up at Frank’s house, obviously to send a message to keep his trap shut. The inner and outer conflict that Frank faces, trying to decide whether or not to kill every motherfucker involved or to simply let the authorities take care of the situation reminds me of the same struggle that the main character in KING OF THE ANTS goes through.
Shortly after Niko’s visit, Niko kidnaps Frank’s wife. Holy fuck, I can feel Frank’s fear and anger. Frank’s temper is the real star of the movie. His mental breakdown seems very realistic. As Frank tries to find comfort in a bottle of booze, I feel bad for him. Frank is a character I can sympathize with and care about.
As a bartering tool, Frank kidnaps Mickey’s daughter Crystal (Lynn Mancinelli). Looks like he’s going to torture her to get the information he wants. I always appreciate a good torture scene. Instead, though, they just reminisce about the good old days, get drunk, and fuck. Lame!
The climax of the film culminates in the trade off of Frank’s wife for Mickey’s daughter. There is a shootout, some blood, but really not enough of a pay off for the audience.
For what is basically a revenge film, there isn’t much action. When there is a fight scene, it’s good and bloody. BAD FRANK is a slow burn, and not very captivating. There is a lot of big talk from the characters without very much follow-through. So much more could have been done with this premise. Oh well, the cameo by CLERKS’ Brian O’Halloran gains BAD FRANK some minor nerd points. Unless you are a Tom Sizemore completist, I’d have to say SKIP IT.