Boondock Saint's II: All Saint's Day (US - BD)
Gabe crosses himself and prays we don't see anymore sequels from this franchise.
After years of hiding out in Ireland with their father, Il Duce (Billy Connolly), The MacManus Brothers (Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery) are forced back into the mobster shooting business when a Boston priest is murdered using their M.O.. Turns out that the mob is behind the killing, which they instigated as a means to force the MacManus’ out of hiding (for some reason). The Brothers take to killing, with a new friend in tow (Clifton Collins Jr.), and a new F.B.I. Agent on their back (Julie Benz).
I saw writer/director Troy Duffy’s first Boondock Saints movie when I was about 19 or 20, and it was exactly what I was looking for. I laughed at the hijinx and thrilled at the gunplay. I recommended it to friends. Then I watched the film a second time several years later, and I wanted to apologize to those friends. Boondock Saints is a mess of a movie that, for all intents and purposes, appears to have been made by someone who saw Pulp Fiction and The Killer and said ‘I can do that!’ without seeing any other movies. The documentary Overnight, directed by Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana, revealed something far worse – an egomaniacal frat boy type convinced he knew it all. Ten years rolled by and Duffy’s throwaway entrée in the post-Tarantino lottery gained a rabid cult following, and he’s turned out a belated sequel.
Boondock Saints II: All Saint’s Day proves one thing – Troy Duffy is obsessed with anal rape. Really obsessed. Like, perhaps we should notify his analyst kind of obsessed. And when he’s not busy exploring the comedy value of cylindrical objects being crammed into rear ends, he’s busy falling in love with his own dialogue, devoting precious minutes to line readings even the capable cast can’t deal with. What he misses in all this is an actual storyline. Perhaps I wasn’t paying enough attention, or perhaps the basic narrative was too derivative to make an imprint, but I’m finding it hard to recall any plot points besides mob guys being offed by the heroes. The editing doesn’t help. The cuts are often chaotically timed, and the take lengths follow suit. I give Duffy some credit for sticking to his flashback motif, because it may be the only element that really defines his ‘style’, but his pacing is consistently wrong, depleting any chance of surprise or suspense, not to mention sense. The non-story might have worked had Duffy explored the superhero and western elements he briefly points to, but most of the film just recalls stuff that already happened in the first film. It takes an hour to bring things to the ‘next level’, and when it gets there it looks a lot like the ground floor.
Willem Dafoe was a bit too over-the-top in the first movie, but his character was a particularly memorable element, love it or hate it. Clifton Collins Jr. and Julie Benz do their best to fill the void, but they can barely make Duffy’s unfortunate dialogue. Even more unfortunate is the fact that Benz’ presence reminds me of Punisher: War Zone, which was such a ridiculous slice of vigilante with guns violence it’s kind of ruined everything similar for me since. Films like Crank, Running Scared and Shoot ‘Em Up, not to mention all Takashi Miike’s crime operas have pushed the limits of cartoon chaos over the last decade, and both Boondock Saints films sit in some kind of no man’s land between serious crime genre flicks, and such cartoonish celebrations of violence. Who aims to set a film somewhere in the middle? Certainly not the guy with a decade’s worth of build up to prove he’s genuinely something special. Instead Troy Duffy is proving he had even fewer ideas than even his most brutal critics assumed. This is more of the same, only less.
Boondock Saints II is a generically good looking movie, made using mostly natural colour schemes, lots of blacks, and some sharp textures. It appears there was some kind bleach bypass process was used because the well lit shots are super bright white, and the blacks are deep and unfettered. Detail levels are about average for a decent sized recent production, not particularly noteworthy, and featuring not major errors or artefacts. There is plenty of grain on the print, but noise is only particularly noticeable on the purest reds. Duffy doesn’t utilize many extreme close-ups, and his compositions aren’t regularly too wide-angle or deep in focus (though the digital backdrops really stick out as phony), so there isn’t a whole lot to say about the overall sharpness. Colours are pretty clean, but rarely poppy or particularly expressive (excepting the final shootout, which features some bright blood against harsh grays), and they do tend to blend into each other. The black edges are quite sharp without any enhancement, and the grainy, de-saturated flashbacks impress with their defused whites.
Another Sony disc, another standup DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Boondock Saints II utilizes all the usual action/comedy sound tropes, like whooshing cameras and abstractly loud clicks and clacks. The shoot-outs are the obvious places for the track to spring to life, though often these moments feature more music than sound effects work. Still, there are plenty of bullets zipping directionally throughout the channels, and plenty of LFE rumbling gun-shots. The coolest aural moments are the pre-assassination prayers, which start in the center channel and wrap from front to back. The music is quite loud and crisp, and encompasses enough differing styles to give a full expression of noise. The punky rock stuff is raucous, the dramatic choral stuff warmly fills every channel, and the pop music features plenty of punchy bass.
There are two commentary tracks that start this disc’s extras, one with writer/director Troy Duffy and actors Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and Billy Connolly, the other with Duffy and (SPOILER ALERT) Willem Dafoe. There are some that would say one track with Duffy would be enough, but he has his fans. The first track is full of words, some of them actually interesting and informative, most of them rambling and personal. It’s kind of a mess, but I’m sure fans will like it (though no one will like the long bouts of silence). There are also plenty more homoerotic overtones. The second track is mostly Duffy on his own discussing his intents for the film. I’m afraid I think he’s failed on most points, but this is a relatively mellow and thoughtful track. Duffy’s post- Overnight ego hasn’t really been put in check, but I can’t totally blame the guy for enjoying his own work. Dafoe doesn’t show up for a while, and tries to steer the conversation more towards the making of the film, occasionally even flat out telling Duffy people don’t care about whatever he’s talking about.
‘Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes’ (25:50, HD) is a mix of raw behind the scenes footage, and the usual talking heads that aren’t really saying anything. It’s not particularly informative (especially if you listened to the commentary), but it has a decent flow, and gives a good glance at Duffy’s production process. ‘Billy Connolly and Troy Duffy: Unedited’ (9:20, HD) is a pleasant enough conversation with the actor and the director, who recall their relationship.
Blu-ray exclusives start with ‘The Cast Confesses: Secrets from the Set’ (7:10, HD), a fluffy little collection of extra cast interviews not included during ‘Unprecedented Access’. ‘Inside the Vault: The Weapons’ (8:30, HD) longingly and lovingly looks at the prop guns used for the film. ‘The Boondock Saints hit Comic-Con’ (57:00, HD) closes out the exclusive extras. This is a rather long look behind the cast and director’s appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con, which included signing and a panel discussion. It’s a mess of awkward. The disc also features two deleted scenes (2:38, SD), though it probably should’ve featured seven or eight. Ten tops. Things end with Sony trailers.
Peter Fonda’s embarrassing performance, and out of nowhere final few minutes do a little to save Boondock Saints II, but overall writer/director Troy Duffy has created another incoherent mess of a film, and one without even the middling characters and silly shootouts to save it. Based on Duffy’s apparent plans I think I’d rather he skipped straight to Boondock Saints III. This is an unremarkable film, and a badly told story, what little there is. Duffy’s Godfather II and Untouchable call outs aren’t charming either, rather they’re cheap shots. Fans should be satisfied with this Blu-ray’s image and sound quality, and should be happy with the extras, which covers quite a bit of the production process, assuming they aren’t devastated at the quality of the film.
Reviewer Note: The images on this page do not represent the Blu-ray image quality.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
Release Date: 9th March 2010
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, French and Portuguese, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese
Extras: Writer/Director and Cast Commentaries, Movie IQ, Deleted Scenes, Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes Featurette, Billy Connolly and Troy Duffy: Unedited, Inside the Vault: The Weapons Featurette, The Cast Confesses: Secrets from the Set Featurette, The Boondock Saints Hit Comic-Con, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Troy Duffy
Cast: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Clifton Collins Jr., Julie Benz
Genre: Action and Comedy
Length: 118 minutes
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