Written by: Bryant Dillon, Special to CC2K
Fanboy Comics President Bryant Dillon looks back at Troy Duffy’s second attempt with the Saints.
There was a time when the rumor of a Boondock Saints sequel was something that seemed both impossible and f—ing amazing. It was very similar to the feeling that the Star Wars prequels had before they came into existence. Geeks would spend hours imagining possible story lines and assuring each other how “bad-ass” these films would be. Much like Phantom Menace, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is heartbreaking in its failure.
Actually, Menace might be better. At least it gave us Darth Maul and that bad-ass lightsaber battle. Something, even if it was miniscule, improved in Menace, whereas BS II failed to improve on anything from the first film.
At this point, I’m going to let you know that MAJOR SPOILERS are contained below.
In all honesty, I loved The Boondock Saints. I have a tradition of watching it every St. Patrick’s Day while pounding the black stuff, and it always amazes me how brilliant and artistic the film is in every single scene! The sequel has nearly none of this, and, therefore, I really don’t feel there is anything that I can ruin for you. You’ve been warned.
Now, I tried hard to find things to like in this film, and, while there were not many, there were a handful of gold nuggets, if you dug through the crap. It was a joy to see the McManus brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) once again with Poppa McManus (Billy Connely) hiding out in the thick of Ireland.
There were also a number of well-scripted moments with the brothers. The scene where they impulsively shaved the long beards that they had grown while in hiding was meant to show them returning to their criminal roots, only to realize days later that they are, of course, still wanted by the law and probably should’ve kept the beards as a disguise. Both Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.), the McManus brothers’ new partner in crime, and Crew Cut (Daniel DeSanto), the mafia hitman on their tales, were interesting additions to the Boondocks world, but neither was given a compelling background or motive. They just showed up to kill people. This was especially frustrating with Crew Cut, the height-obsessed hitman who seemed to be begging for an interesting back story. Instead, we got an easily-forgettable and disposable villain. Romeo provided a number of funny, ball-busting moments for the two McManus brothers to play off, but writer/director Troy Duffy kept the character completely comedic, instead of ever giving him the true moments that made Rocco (David Della Rocco) from the first film such a realistic and lovable character.
Rocco did make an appearance in a flashback/dream sequence, and, while it was a joy to see and hear that old friend of ours, he at one point went on an arbitrary, man-power speech which just ended up feeling like Duffy masturbating to how tough and bad ass his characters (and by extension, himself) were. Ugg!
There was a similar feeling when Special Agent Smecker (Willem Dafoe) shows at the end of the film. The moment I heard his voice, a ray of hope entered my heart! Surely, Dafoe could pull this film back from the brink! And, honestly, the sequel Smecker set up in the final moments was probably the best thing about this film. At the end of the film, The Saints turned themselves over to the police and were in a federal prison. Smecker, who’s officially “dead” at this point and being funded by the church, was planning to break The Saints out and go global with the whole operation. In the same instant, I felt the excitement of Smecker and The Saints unleashed upon the world and the disappointment that the third Boondocks film has the plot of a Boondocks fan-fic.
The rest is just pretty much awful! The plot made little sense, boiling down to an old grudge held by a former friend of Poppa McManus . Flashbacks filled in a back story that you wanted to be cool but turned out to be a weak and predictable revenge story. The bone-head cops (Bob Marley, Brian Mahoney, and David Ferry), who were hilarious in their believable character flaws, were reduced to a Three Stooges act. Greenly (Bob Marley) got a moment to shine in his last moments on camera, but he had been so reduced to a joke that it was hard to muster genuine feeling for him. It left a bad taste in your mouth that tainted the deaths of all other beloved characters in the film. There were differences between these deaths and Rocco’s in the first film. Back then, we cared because death wasn’t a joke. In this film, everything was a joke.
To sum it up, I don’t know if Duffy was a one hit wonder or if he has just gotten lazy and content from the cult success of his first film. It doesn’t matter. The film was a mess. Everything was a cheap rehash of the first film, including Julie Benz’, Judd Nelson’s, and Peter Fonda’s characters. All three of these actors were wasted in my opinion. Not even the gun fights can save this pic. What was cool and edgy in the first film has been replaced by repetitive slow motion combined with techno. Kudos, Duffy!
At least we still have the first Boondocks! Stop by on St. Patrick’s Day, and we’ll pretend it begins and ends with that film.
Bryant Dillon is the President of Fanboy Comics, an independent comic book publishing company based in Los Angeles, CA. For more interviews, blogs, and reviews by Bryant and the FBC staff, check out the Fanboy Comics website or sign-up for the daily e-newsletter, The Fanboy Scoop, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.