Not So Bad Frank may be a more apt title for this low-budget thriller about a construction worker who falls into madness and violence. Thanks to the onscreen prowess and charisma of Kevin Interdonato in the lead role, Bad Frank is actually good despite technical flaws that make pivotal action scenes fall flat.
Bad Frank has a compelling opening, with Interdonato’s physicality and dramatic skills drawing viewers into the story. It opens with a sex scene that shows Interdonato fulfilling his bedroom prowess. But mentally, he is just not that into it. This movie is not about simple domestic doldrums. It turns out that Frank Pierce is plummeting into mental illness and despair.
A subplot involves Frank’s relationship with his father, played by Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, the retired American boxer who is now in his 50s. Frank is struggling to mend his relationship with his dad. Not surprisingly, neither man is that articulate about his feelings. Both are best showing emotion with their fists. It was fun to watch the two tough guys talk and walk around the obvious emotions they seemed to display for each other without saying so. Russ Russo and Tom Sizemore also are convincing in supporting roles.
Interdonato is fine at showing inner conflict. His amazing physical screen presence adds to the film’s appeal. He definitely is no stranger to uber-masculine roles. His other screen credits include An Act of War (2015) and Nacho Mountain (2009). The supporting cast includes retired American boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, who plays Frank’s father, and Amanda Clayton, as Frank’s wife, Gina Pierce. The movie was directed by Tony Germanario, who also co-wrote the crime thriller.
The film has been making the festival circuit rounds, and is garnering attention and some recognition. It was shown May 6th at the Producer’s Club as part of the New York City Independent Film Festival. Interdonato made a star appearance at the film.
Bad Frank tells a well-worn story in the American crime genre – that of the individual taking justice into his own hands. In this film, the lead character has gone mad from grief. Crazed by emotion, Frank’s foray into violence is made to seem more understandable and perhaps justified because of the back story and his mental state. Yet in the end, Bad Frank is just another installment in a way-too-familiar plot.
Perhaps, it is because Bad Frank over-reaches in trying to show why the lead character is not so bad after all. A bad guy with a good heart is beneath those rippling muscles and iron fists. Yet, the overall efforts in Bad Frank to convey a compelling storyline that shows what led to his unraveling moves way too quickly, failing to create dramatic effect or a story that people care about. There’s too much rush to violence.
The story of Bad Frank involves the title character exacting revenge on the gang that abducted his wife after a drug deal gone bad. So, Bad Frank abducts the gang leader’s 20-something hot daughter. The first half of the film is the buildup to his breakdown. The second half unleashes the orgy of violence, a fast-pace release of adrenalin and lust of a different kind. With his buff, tatted body, and menacing good looks, Interdonato more than fills the bill. Likewise, Clayton is convincing enough as Frank’s tough, yet, vulnerable wife. The film itself is developing something of a cult following on the festival circuit.
While the dialogue often is wry, the humor sometimes seems to devolve into frat jokes, or come across as just plain dumb. In a scene involving a drug deal, a cash exchange prompts the dealer to proclaim to Frank’s friend – who has a fistful of cash for cocaine – “Oh, you are sucking d*ick now.” In addition, what is supposed to be a pivotal gun fight misfires. It is all too obviously faked, as the sound effects seemed to be mismatched with the shots themselves.
Bad Frank is not so bad after all, largely because of the sincerity of its cast and the presence of Interdonato in the lead role. But this film, like others that have come before it, will have its strongest following from fans who relish the predictability of B-movie violence.
Movie Rating: 3.5 stars.
Movie Ratings Guide
1 Star = Unwatchable
2 Stars = Cannot Recommend
3 Stars = Will Watch Again/For the Fans
4 Stars = A Solid Movie
5 Stars = Must Own (DVD/Stream Download)
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