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Saturday, March 5, 2011

THE BOONDOCK SAINTS II (2009) - REVIEW


I was actually pretty enthusiastic about the sequel to “The Boondock Saints”. A long time in the making, it was initially rumored to be a direct-to-video flick, yet somehow, Troy Duffy managed to get his movie straight to the multiplexes. The original was quite a disaster at the box office, but managed to achieve cult status later when the DVD came out. The snowball effect led to the return of the Saints in what is, unfortunately, a lazy, pointless rehash of what made the original so cult-status-worthy.

After the events in the first film, which culminated with the assassination of italian crime syndicate don Joe Yakavetta, the MacManus brothers (once again played by Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery), reunited with their father, The Duke (Billy Connolly), abandon their life of vigilantism and hide out in Ireland for eight years. The murder of a priest bearing the Saint’s calling card (double tap to the head, coins on the eyes) shakes things up in Boston, and the two decide to get back to their usual business. On the way they team up with Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.), basically a comic-relief replacement for the departed Rocco of the original movie. In Boston, the underworld is boiling. Concezio Yakavetta (Judd Nelson) wants the death of his father avenged, a hitman with a Napoleon Complex is hired to kill the Saints, a new FBI investigator, Eunice Bloom (Dexter’s Julie Benz), is hot on the trail of bodies, and a mysterious figure from The Duke’s past is somehow involved in all of it. Expect plenty of dead bodies. In fact, according to IMDb.com, the body count in this movie is 59, compared to only a modest 33 in the first.

The heart might be in the right place here, but the execution is poor. Duffy clearly wants nothing more than to please the fans and give them a new chance to reunite with their favorite mix of crime drama, religious zeal and silly humor that has become a brand of sorts. The result however is shallow. Firstly, it’s like the director made a checklist of things he wants back from the first film, and the result came back : EVERYTHING. For example, the crime scene investigation that always precedes the actual depiction of events was an original element the first time around, but now it comes off as a self-ripoff. Same goes for the manic sidekick and the eccentric FBI investigator character. While Benz is simply terrible, I thought Collins Jr. was actually more fun as far as comic-relief characters go, than the obnoxiously loud Rocco. Then, there’s the action scenes. Less imaginative than the first film, they were supposed to distract us from the dull script, but they are so few and far between that we end up being smothered by endless dialogue scenes that only deepen an unnecessarily bloated plot, with no hope left for what I think should have been entertainment value : crazy blood-soaked action. Sure, fans might find all of it entertaining if they're into the whole Boondock mythology, but that’s a pretty big if and a pretty narrow mythology to begin with.

Ultimately, it’s the fans who form the core of movie-goers this film is intended for, and they will probably find something redeeming in it. For everyone else, this is a wildly uneven proposition, that will test your patience and your sense of humor.





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