Sunday, March 14, 2010

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009) - Gratuitous Included

On the Menu: BOONDOCK SAINTS II: ALL SAINTS DAY (2009)

Ingredients: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Julie Benz, Judd Nelson, Peter Fonda and Clifton Collins, Jr. Directed by Troy Duffy. Run time: 118 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: BOONDOCK SAINTS is easily in my Top 25 when it comes to my favorite movies, but I never thought it needed a sequel. I found out about the new installment back in late September or early October, and watched the trailer around the same time. It looked all right. I wasn't necessarily excited to see the movie based on the trailer since Willem Dafoe was absent, but his replacement, the hot Julie Benz, did grab my attention.

The movie opens up in Ireland where the fully-bearded McManus clan has apparently been hiding out for the last 10 years being shepherds. They're drawn back to Beantown after someone, imitating their style, kills a priest.

Bringing the brothers back is all a ploy by Concezio Yakavetta (Nelson), the son of the Italian mob boss from the first film. The FBI gets involved again, but this time there's no Smecker (Dafoe). Instead, his protégée Special Agent Eunice Bloom (Benz) takes the case and teams up with the three local policemen from the original.

So, the brothers return to clean house, but another mob boss has been pulling the strings on the entire plot.

Second Helping: With two commentary tracks on the DVD, I was pretty much forced to watch the movie three times.

You won't really learn anything from the first commentary that includes the actors, which they recorded the night of the premiere. As the closing credits start to roll, they end the commentary and are headed to opening night. Anyway, they spend the whole movie cracking gay jokes and doing impressions. At one point about halfway through, someone asks, "Are we supposed to talk about the movie?" Well, it would have been nice.

The second commentary is more informative. Duffy provides some insights into casting and storylines. He spends the first hour by himself, but then is joined by one of the actors for the last hour. It's funny because Duffy has stories from the first film involving the actor, but the actor doesn't remember ANYTHING that happened on or off the set 10 years ago.

Tough to Swallow: It's All Saints' Day. There's an apostrophe.

After an Oscar-nominated performance in THE WRESTLER, Joan Rivers was just mediocre in this one. Wait. That was Sean Patrick Flanery?! Oops. My bad. Seriously, the years have not been kind to him... and neither have the plastic surgeons.
Also, Benz's Southern accent is awful, she tends to mug for the camera during her Paul Smecker moments (the crime-scene reenactments), and I'm still not sure why she is taken off the case later in the movie. Fonda as an Italian mob boss didn't really work for me either. Oh, and Collins is too over-the-top.

There's a grooming montage while the boys are in Ireland. Music plays and the shots shift as the brothers cut their hair, shave their beards and take showers. There's also a drinking montage that is said to be a nod to fans who have told Duffy they'd like to have a drink with the brothers. Regardless, both montages are dumb.

During the big shootout in the hotel, the brothers are attached to rope and swing through the windows from outside. However, as they bust through they're shooting as they continue to slide across the floor on their knees, the rope magically disappears.

The scenes with the "midget" shooter and the dream sequence are all pointless, in my opinion. The movie could easily have been 30 minutes shorter. Plus, the black cat in the dream sequence is supposed to reference Rocco's girlfriend's cat from the first film, but the original cat was gray and white.

Personally, I think we were better off NOT knowing the backstory of Il Duce (he was cooler because of the mystery). The three flashbacks used to tell the story slow the movie down. The conversation in the greenhouse near the end is all that was needed to explain his background.

Something to Chew On: The production budget was $8 million, and it grossed over $10 million at the box office in its 112 days in theaters. Now, compare that to the first film. BOONDOCK SAINTS was made with $6 million, but only grossed $30,000 because it spent just 20 days in 5 theaters (its theatrical release came just nine months after the Columbine High School massacre). The original has tallied about $50 million in video sales though.

Eleven of the original cast members are back this time around.

I'm not too sure how many people who will watch this movie will have seen "One Tree Hill," but Paul Johansson, who plays Dan Scott on the TV drama, makes an appearance as an FBI agent. Others may recognize Robb Wells (Jimmy the Gofer) from "Trailer Park Boys."

Gerard Parkes, who plays Doc, the bar owner who suffers from Tourette's, also played Doc (the lone human) on "Fraggle Rock."

Duffy is working on a black comedy set in the 1600s called THE GOOD KING. He's also working on a serial killer movie. Despite these projects, he already has a working title for a 3rd SAINTS film: BOONDOCK SAINTS III: SAINTS PRESERVE US. Word is there will also be a comic book released in May 2010.

The film currently has a 6.9 user rating on IMDb.com (8,349 votes).

Sides: Aside from the two commentaries, there are 2 deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes featurette entitled "Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes" (approx. 25 minutes). There is a featurette called "Billy Connolly and Troy Duffy: Unedited" where the two talk with each other over some tea (approx. 9 minutes). Fourteen trailers are also included, but none of them are for either BOONDOCK SAINTS movie.

Aftertaste: Duffy took everything the fans liked from the first movie and tried to ramp those things up for this sequel. There are bigger shootouts, more quotable lines and more gay and racial jokes. Really though, it seemed like every other sentence was written to force a laugh out of the audience. To me, this movie seems more like a parody of the original. And, even with watching the movie three times (twice with commentary), I'm still not sure how much, if any, of the self-parody is intended.

Aside from Connolly and Fonda, the actors give over-the-top performances. The threesome of local cops played well off of Smecker, but turned into bumbling and paranoid buffoons here because Bloom didn't have the same intelligence or intensity. I don't understand how you decide to replace the brilliant Willem Dafoe with the unproven Julie Benz. Fans of the first film will probably be satisfied with the ending though.

BOONDOCK SAINTS had a flow to it. BOONDOCK SAINTS II is a little disjointed. They actually wrote some of the stuff the day of shooting, e.g. the dream sequence. But, like I said before, that sequence doesn't fit in the movie. Duffy says it's a "man-ifesto," but so what? What does it have to do with anything? There are a lot of moments that seem to happen or not happen because it is convenient to where Duffy wanted the story to go next. I can only imagine the conversations on the set during the making of the movie:
"How are the brothers going to figure out who is framing them?"
"Um, we'll have them hear his name on a talk radio show, and they'll realize he's related to someone they killed before."


"Okay, we just had this character rat out his boss and give his location to the brothers. Now what?"
"I don't think they should go there immediately. They should have an unrelated shootout at a Mexican restaurant instead."
See, it's just stuff like that for the entire movie. Maybe putting action and humor ahead of story and editing was what Duffy thought the rabid SAINTS fanbase wanted. The guy had 10 years to sit down and write a coherent sequel, and he failed. He also states in one of the commentaries that there are numerous times where he only shoots one take per shot. Hmmm. That explains a lot, too.

Here's a tip: Don't make a 3rd SAINTS movie.

That's just my two cents.

Rating:

4 comments:

  1. i myself am also a huge fan of the original. now i see what you're saying, but how is the shootout in the mexican restaurant unrelated? that's their MO. kill the bad guys. they found an opportunity to take out a large number of those who fit the profile, so they took it. it just kinda fell into their laps as did most of the first ones in the first movie. i do think duffy tried to hard to make it better, & the movie suffered for it. however, it's not horrible. i think they did it just enough justice to make it standable. i would love a 3rd so long as they don't make the same mistakes.

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  2. I do understand the idea of vigilante justice. The only explanation for the killings in the original was "they just kill bad guys." This sequel introduces the concept of revenge, so it changes things a little.

    The Mexican restaurant scene, to me, only served to introduce the brothers to Agent Bloom and the midget shooter. The 5 or 6 guys killed were just street toughs. They knew the location of the kingpin, but chose, to risk their lives in a pointless shootout instead of knocking off the top guy. Remember, the brothers are still bumbling and pretty amateurish in their "profession," so, realistically, it was a high-risk/low-reward situation.

    I know I'm really overthinking a ridiculous shoot-em-up movie, but it just didn't make sense to me. Why show that shootout twice (once more in slow-motion)? Why rearrange the dead bodies afterward? Again, I'm thinking way too much about this.

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