A Review of the Boondock Saints II

I am going to surrender right now-I did not really like the original Boondock Saints.  My biggest problem was just how seriously it took itself.  A film like this should not have tried to be a political commentary and an endorsement of vigilante justice.  No, it was nowhere NEAR smart enough to do that.  Much better would have been to make it a sort of Rodriguez tribute to 70s action films.  Indeed, the elements for that were there (the action scenes were very well done) but it never came together.  But Troy Duffy was a first time director and probably had not learned everything he needed to.  Maybe a sequel is what he needed-its all a learning process.

Well, I do not like The Boondock Saints II. My biggest problem is just how seriously the film takes itself.  A film like this should not be a political commentary and an endorsement of vigilante…..oh.  Oh my.

Troy Duffy didn’t learn a thing in the ten year interim between the first film and this.  And he desperately needed to do so.  The documentary Overnight showed a man who would not be able to survive as any sort of artist-he was one angry alcohol binge away from alienating everyone in Hollywood.  He also appeared too arrogant to realize it. Surely he realized that this was not the way to go with making his follow up.  Yet I have a feeling he didn’t.  And he managed to get much of the same cast back (with the glaring exception of Willem Dafoe-well for the most part).  Maybe  he felt people still liked him.

I am not sure.  I hope there is an Overnight II floating around somewhere.  I would be fascinated to see a wounded dog like Duffy trying to redeem himself.  But I have a feeling, considering this film is exactly the same as his previous one-well, it does not instill me with great feelings of confidence.

The film takes place eight years after the first.  The Saints have been living with their father (Billy Connolly)  in Ireland.  In the interim, they have forgotten how to shave.  They get word of a murder of a Catholic priest back in Boston that was made to look like a killing by the Saints.  They ride back over to clear their own names and, with the help of Special Agent Bloom (Julie Benz).  Eventually, they find the new kingpin, known as the Roman (Peter Fonda…..I have no idea what to say about that) and exact their brand of justice.

Yes, the plot does sound intriguing to those who only care about gratuitous violence.  And for you, there is plenty.  The action scenes are well done in the style I was hoping for.  But they try too often to have an opinion on the Saints.  The Saints are said to be the righteous anger of Boston.  No-they are simply the protagonists with access to a very large arsenal.  Oh sure, they COULD have turned into a sort of call for vigilante justice.  But it does not work for the director to simply tell me that.
I’ll show you what I mean.  One dream sequence has the Saints trying to figure out if they can go on.  One character from the first film, Rocco, shows up to console them.  What follows is one of the most….bizarre sequences in film and I do not mean that as a compliment.  The boys yell their way to clarity comparing themselves to people like Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson (they reference a lot of films from the 1970s in this.  It kind of became annoying-couldn’t I have been watching them instead?) and by the end, wee are told they can continue.  Well, of course not.  Nothing was shown about their true feelings, their guilt, their elation.  It was merely an excuse to reference machismo garbage.

Again, there are ways in which this COULD have worked.  The Crank films actually do this fairly well, mostly because it is never taken seriously.  The Boondock Saints are taken all to seriously. Even if the action scenes are competently done (more than competently done-downright masterful) it’s all for nothing because Troy Duffy had no idea what he was trying to do with them.  It’s like a child finger painting-he may be able to produce a great work of art someday.  But for now, it is just smudges on a paper.  What’s worse is the kid has been exalted and seems to think he is a wunderkind; no need to develop any further.  How wrong he is.

Whatever; this film already probably has a cult following amongst frat guys who simply like watching things explode.  Also shiny objects and cheap liquor.  You want my advice?  John Woo’s The Killer was just re-released on DVD in the United States.  Go check that out.  It does everything Boondock Saints fans think The Boondock Saints does.

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One Response to A Review of the Boondock Saints II

  1. Peter says:

    Great review, very well written.

    I’m yet to see the sequel, nor do I intend too either. I did have the misfortune to see the original though and it really was dirgefully self-regarding, particularly the end credits sequence with vox pops from ‘the man on the street’. Are they are force for good? Are they dangerous criminals? Are they bad stereotypes penned by a boorish prick? Food for thought certainly…

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