- Troy Duffy
- Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Clifton Collins Jr.
- 118 min.
- Release Date
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is the sequel to the original direct-to-video hit from 1999. Having upgraded to a limited theatrical release, its appeal will extend only to those now-adult college crowds that made the first one a cult hit. But with any luck, those audiences have grown-up and will see right through this transparent, redundant, unbelievably bad experience. Written and directed by Troy Duffy, who was ousted by Hollywood after butting heads with Harvey Weinstein prior to production on The Boondock Saints (as detailed in the 2003 documentary Overnight), the movie tries much too hard to live up to its predecessor. Not that it’s something to aspire to…
Badly aged versions of Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus return as the Irish McManus brothers, who have been laying low for the last eight years on an Ireland farm with their father (Billy Connolly). They’re summoned back to Boston when they learn someone has killed their hometown priest using their assassination signature—two shots in the head and two coins over the eyes. So they shave their ridiculous, Jesus-like beards trim their hair back into trendy haircuts and hop on a boat to the United States. On the freighter there, they allow a Mexican fighter named Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.) to join their clan because of his underground ties. When they arrive in Boston, they snoop out Concezio Yakavetta (Judd Nelson), the vengeful son of the crime boss the “saints” took out at the end of the first movie. Meanwhile, they resume their work of killing the unsavory types in their neighborhood, while managing to be complete hypocrites in the process.
In the first movie, watching Willem Dafoe’s bizarro cross-dressing FBI investigator Agent Smecker was enough to keep his scenes interesting, even if the rest was barely watchable. But Dafoe made the right decision and opted not to reprise his role for this sequel. He was replaced by Julie Benz (from TV’s Dexter), who plays Smecker’s southern-fried protégé. She secretly protects the McManus brothers from the law, along with three wisecracking cops Dolly (David Ferry), Duffy (Brian Mahoney), and Greenly (Bob Marley). Their humor never reaches beyond race and sex jokes, with the occasional bout of homophobia for good measure.
Indeed, Duffy is just giving us more of the same— introducing a new theatrical audience to what they were lucky enough to have missed ten years ago and reintroducing the material to those of us up to speed as a refresher. There are more scenes of the heroes walking toward the camera in slow-motion, sporting guns and sunglasses and dark coats, which again remind us of Reservoir Dogs. They light up cigarettes, because smoking looks cool, and then behave like drunken fools when they’re not offing urban scum. The movie is filled with more mindless violence set to heavy metal and techno music. And there’s again so much swearing that even the most foul-mouthed of viewers will get tired of hearing the F-word.
Continuing his reign of rip-off terror, Duffy lifts scenes here and there straight from filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Francis Ford Coppola and John Woo. Consider the flashback sequences detailing the sordid past of Papa MacManus, which look and feel like a direct derivation of The Godfather: Part II. Or consider the ‘70s music preplan sequence all but stolen from Kill Bill. And then there’s the over-stylized action. Doesn’t Duffy realize it’s a cliché now for double-pistol-wielding scenes shot in slow-mo? Why not make the theft complete and insert a couple of doves for good measure? Duffy is a non-filmmaker who’s apparently incapable of being inspired by his favorite movies, as opposed to just stealing their ideas.
Made exclusively for white college fratboys angry at the world, Duffy’s mean-spirited sequel takes casual racism and general homophobia and tries to make it hip. His characters have a good laugh at the expense of Mexicans, Italians, and other groups, which does little but give the Irish community he’s depicting a bad name. His script is filled with gross stereotypes, and instead of making such behavior a character flaw, he glorifies his characters’ conduct, trying to solidify them as too-cool-for-school. Funny thing is, he also showcases his heroes’ bare bottoms in a shower scene screaming of homoeroticism, which should lend some nice sexual confusion for the angry fellows that get off on watching this small-minded dribble.
Aside from assuring its fans that the McManus brothers will probably be back to make their low-grade adventures into a trilogy, All Saints Day is completely forgettable. It’s contrived and violent in the ugliest ways possible. Duffy continues to prove himself a hack, one eager to ransack other directors’ good ideas because he doesn’t have any of his own. And though Tarantino and Woo are capable of recycling and freshening up their own material, Duffy doesn’t have that ability. Maybe because he’s only made two movies. Perhaps a few years down the road, this sequel will be followed by a much more entertaining making-of documentary that portrays Duffy in a similar light as Overnight did. If not, this movie will have had no purpose whatsoever.