4.12.2012

Review: The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day


2009
Directed by: Troy Duffy
Category: Badass Cinema

I've never been a die hard fan of The Boondock Saints. Sure, I like it as much as the next guy, but I don't love it and certainly don't feel it's the game-changer that writer/director Troy Duffy repeatedly claims it to be in the fascinating documentary Overnight, which chronicles Duffy's trainwreck story from bartender to filmmaker to outcast because of his big mouth and overbearing attitude. If you've never seen it, I strongly suggest you do so, it's incredibly fascinating. But in that documentary, Duffy is seen and heard saying over and over that his film The Boondock Saints will change the way films are made forever. Uh, sorry buddy, not the case. Pulp Fiction accomplished that feat 7 years earlier, but not The Boondock Saints. Truth is, I've never understood the fascination with that first film. It had a couple of cool sequences, but for the most part it's so all over the place and utilizes the flashback sequence technique to an annoying degree that you start getting tired of it halfway through the film. It's a cool little film, but not great by any means. And certainly not a game-changer. 

I know it sounds like an asshole thing to say, but I really, really, really did not want to like this film. If you've ever seen Overnight, you'll probably feel the same way. Frankly, I'm shocked that writer/director Troy Duffy was even allowed to make a sequel to be honest. I mean, who the hell would want to work with that guy again? Or give him money to make another film considering he burned every single one of his bridges? But then again, maybe he's chilled out to some degree in the 10 years since the original? Regardless, hell or high water, I actually enjoyed this one for many reasons, and probably more so than the first. 

Part 2: All Saints Day, though just as ridiculous as the first (if not more), plays out a little more cohesive and much more polished than the first one. Duffy utilizes the flashback sequences again, but not nearly as much as he did in the first one which is such a relief. Duffy also seems to nix the overstylized camerawork he used the first time around and tries the slightly more subdued approach with this one, another plus. Unfortunately he still gives us an insane amount of slow-motion shots as with the first one. 

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is basically a revenge film. The MacManus brothers are living in hiding with there father (Billy Connelly) in Ireland, living off the land and tending cattle and shit. News reaches them that there favorite priest has been killed back home with there M.O. all over it and so they head back to Boston with there new friend and partner in crime wannabe Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.) to find this killer, avenge the death of there good friend, as well as clear there name. Enter FBI agent Eunice (Julie Benz), a hard ass agent with a set of brass balls bigger than the detectives she's been assigned to work on the case with who seems to have as much quirkiness as her mentor, FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe), who stole the show in the first film. Hot on the trail of the MacManus brothers, agent Eunice also has a mafia war to deal with, which also ties into the killing of the priest in an attempt to bring the brothers out of hiding. 

I've actually had this film ever since it first hit DVD, but have put off watching it for 3 years for various reasons. But I'm glad I finally did the other night because it's actually a pretty good film. It had a shaky start, and about 15 minutes in I started to worry what kind of film I was getting into because you immediately see the difference in tone and structure from the first film. I think it was a little slower than I was expecting it to be in that first half, but that didn't make it any less entertaining. About half way through though things start kicking into gear, the pace starts picking up and only gets better and better. 

Besides the overuse of slow-motion, I had a few other gripes. Like the techno music in the flashback action sequences. Is it just me or does it just seem completely out of place? I mean, when I think Boondock Saints I don't think of techno music, yet that's exactly what they play in here several times during the action sequences. I also found Judd Nelson as one of the main bad guys to just not be convincing at all. He certainly tried, but no matter how much screaming he did or no matter how crazy he acted, he just didn't convince me that he was or could be a big mafia head. And FBI agent Eunice's annoying southern accent. Annoying, just annoying and unnecessary. I've seen her in a lot of other stuff and she's a very beautiful and talented actress, but trying to do a southern accent is not one of her strong points and found it hard at times to understand what the hell she was saying, but then again that could just be me. 

I found this entry to be slightly more funny than the first one, but not overbearing. Clifton Collins Jr. as Romeo, the Hispanic and slightly stereotypical sidekick was awesome casting. The guy's just a natural talent, whether he's doing drama, action or comedy and here he provides a lot of genuine laughs. As funny as Collins Jr. was in this, I think the guy who steals the most laughs has gotta be Bob Rubin, who plays Gorgeous George, a kind of gofer type character to the mafia. He was so fucking hilarious in almost every scene he was in. He looks funny, he talks funny and for someone who's overweight and hairy as fuck, doesn't seem to be bothered by full on and unnecessary nudity. He reminded me a lot of Will Ferrell. Someone who's just shameless, and he was just plain hilarious. Another bit of genius casting was that they were able to get virtually the entire principle cast from the original film 10 years ago to return for this one, even Rocco (David Della Rocco), who'll you'll remember died in the first one. They still found a way to bring him back for this one. It also had a nice little twist at the end that I did not see coming, which ended up being a nice surprise. 

As much as I did not want to like it, it ultimately won me over by the end. Not because it's a genius piece of filmmaking or anything like that, but because it was funny in all the right places, cool in all the right places with just enough action and creativity to keep me entertained to the very last frame. And sometimes, that's what counts. 

2 comments:

  1. Ingo-Hellford667 Movie ReviewsApril 13, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    I liked this sequel, it was better then expected. Romeo really made me laugh several times. I guess all the talk about Duffy and the "cult" status of the first make people write more negative things than it deserves, or both of them deserve.
    Duffy`s ego surely hasn`t helped there. He ain`t no Tarantino, thats true. But he made two very entertaining movies, with good actors on a snmall scale. There are so much worse films with similar budget. At least he had passion for these two films. To make a sequel ten years after the first part, and wrapping up the story(while expanding it, too)to a satisfying end is good enough for me. People just love it when they are given a target like Duffy...its easy to make him look bad. Great Review!!!!!

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  2. Glad you got around to watching this. I'm pretty much in the same boat as you - I wasn't much of a fan of the original film, it had some nice ideas and scenes but was amateurishly put together.

    I found the documentary highly entertaining and my curiosity was peaked when I heard they were making a sequel. I was expecting the worst but pleasantly surprised how much Duffy had grown as a filmmaker. It was well shot and nicely structured. I couple of bits stuck out like Judd Nelson's rubbish acting and Peter Fonda's bored expression but nothing insurmountable.

    Hats off to Duffy for wrangling a (SPOILERS) cameo from Willem Dafoe.

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