Nov 4 2009

Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day

Boondocks Saints II All Saints Day movie poster

This week, Benn Hadland embarked on a solo review on Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day, which just opened last Friday, 30 October 2009. So far its in limited release, playing in several theaters in Los Angeles (go figure), and a couple places in the Orange County area, such as the Irvine Spectrum, the Edwards Long Beach 26, and the AMC at the Block (in Orange) to name a few.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
Year: 2009
Directed by: Troy Duffy
Written by: Troy Duffy
Starring: Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly
Genre: Crime

More after the jump. Amen.

Ten years after The Boondock Saints opened to an audience of zero, only to become our generation’s cult sensation, writer/director Troy Duffy returns with The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day. Armed with a bigger budget and a built-in fan base, Duffy tries to give his fans what they want, yet falls into the old trap of more being less, and not better.

The film opens with a Boston priest being execution in the same manner in which the brothers McManus (the titular Saints) would execute mobsters in their heyday. Cut to pastoral Ireland, we find Connor and Murphy McManus (Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus, respectively) have been hiding out all these years in a farm with dear old dad (Billy Connelly). After hearing about the murder, the boys return to Boston to track down the killer and wipe out the rest of the re-established criminal element that gets in their way.

The original film thrived on its simple story and high-octane execution. Now, with more money in his pocket, Duffy wants to give his loyal fans more of what they loved, which turns out to be the films greatest downfall. Yes, we have quirky characters and blazing, Woo-esque shoot outs, but the film spends so much time with local Mafia boss Yakevetta (Judd Neilson) and his crew, who speak in clichéd Sicilian slang and faulty accents, that the action sequences feel rushed and thrown in without anything really leading up to it.

Aside from its attempt to include a Mafia crime drama element, the film also deals with betrayals and interwoven conspiracies surrounding the priest’s murder that lead to Poppa “Il Duce” McManus’ past, and his relationship with the mysterious Mafia strategist known only as “The Roman” (Peter Fonda). The entire back-story and related conspiracy is wholly unnecessary and convoluted, and detracts from the film’s central plot and characters rather than add anything new or of real interest.

The characters, luckily, make enough of an impression that saves the film from being a complete disappointment. Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery (who, due to reconstructive surgery, is virtually unrecognizable) have a chemistry that keeps the film afloat, yet both are used more as a means to an end and are not given enough screen time to show any real conviction, or rise beyond being vengeful, yet flat characters. All the same, it is good to see the boys back in action after so long.

The film’s best characters are, oddly enough, the two newcomers to the film series. Clifton Collins Jr. delivers an electric performance as Romeo, an eccentric Mexican drifter and honorary Saint. Although he could have played into simple stereotypes, Collins Jr. brings a wide-eyed enthusiasm and intrigue to the character, making him the most exciting character to watch.

Actress Julie Benz had, possibly, the most difficult task ahead of her in taking her role as FBI Special Agent Eunice Bloom. Taking the place of the unforgettable Willem Dafoe from the first film, Benz’s casting was controversial and universally hated by fans. Benz, however, proves herself to be more than “that chick from Buffy” and fills Dafoe’s shoes perfectly. As the insightful, Southern spitfire, Benz steals nearly every scene she’s in, and holds her own with the boys nicely.

Of course, it’s the familiar references and throwbacks from the original that are the highlights of the film, and feel like a real nod from Duffy in the fans direction. The three returning detectives Greenly, Duffy and Dolly (Bob Marley, Brian Mahoney, and David Ferry) bring the humor of the film front and center, and act as the glue that really holds the film together. David Della Rocco returns as Rocco, the Saints fallen ally from the previous film in the form of an opening voice over and dream sequence. This sequence is the most enjoyable scene in the movie because it exhibits the old school machismo and glorious, prideful working class spirit that was ever-present in the first film, and severely lacking in this sequel. You can tell Duffy invested the most emotion in this scene; due to his fall from Hollywood’s grace, this scene serves as a mantra of triumph and, as a result, is the film’s most soulful moment.

Above all else, The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day is for the fans. One cannot deny its faults, and it is certainly not the underground masterpiece that fans have been hoping for. Nonetheless, Duffy gives the audience their fair share of flash-bang, Catholic iconographic shoot ‘em up violence that they have been waiting for all these years. If this is your first pilgrimage to the Saints, hold off until you see the first film. In fact, buy it; it costs less that a ticket of admission and its way easier to track down (the sequel is in limited release). This second coming is not what it was the first time around, but it is nice to see the Saints one more time.

2 Responses to “Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day”

  • Boondock Saints Poster | The OriginalUnOriginal.Com Says:

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  • Kristy Harmon Says:

    I’m a huge fan of a the first and just a fan of film in general. I thought the second one was a sad display of a sequel stripping it of everything that made the first one work. I was so disappointed that I actually shut it off before it ended. I had been waiting years to see it and it was a blow to the system. The whole movie teetered on jokes that fell flat relying too much on the 3 cops and Collin Jr’s animatronic actions ( which i’ll admit are funny, majority of the time) but overall the movie is full of forceful humor. Which in the first one led the movie along but it did not consume it. What happens when you support an action movie on humor that isn’t funny? Its just another movie disgrace that falls in between the cracks like all the others that comes out. All its originality and style that I held so dear to the first I’ll have to keep holding to because you cannot find it here…

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