Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

Directed by Troy Duffy.
2009. Rated R, 118 minutes.
Sean Patrick Flanery
Norman Reedus
Julie Benz
Billy Connolly
Clifton Collins Jr.
Bob Marley
Brian Mahoney
David Ferry
Judd Nelson
Peter Fonda
Gerard Parkes

The McManus Brothers, Connor (Flanery) and Murphy (Reedus) have taken refuge somewhere in Ireland after the events of the first movie. In that movie, they hunted down and killed over 20 of Boston’s bad guys. Now, ten years later, they’re compelled to return to their hometown when they learn that a local priest has been murdered in cold blood, but not before they shave.

Sometimes a comedian will step on stage and bomb. His routine will be stale and sensing his own failure, he starts sweating profusely. If that weren’t bad enough, he’s the only person laughing because obviously he thinks his material is funny even if no one else does. Essentially, this is the problem with All Saints Day. While the first movie is a ripoff of Quentin Tarantino, it is at least occasionally clever and often entertaining. It also contains a wonderfully quirky performance by Willem Dafoe. This time it goes straight for screwball comedy, mixed in no subtle manner with gun-porn and homo-eroticism.

Also evident are the countless hours spent studying movies like Shoot ‘em Up and Smokin’ Aces plus everything Tarantino and Guy Ritchie have done since 1999. There’s also the countless other films it references and uses as inspiration for its never-ending succession of bad jokes. Yes, it quite literally laughs at them alone. I can’t count how many times a character says something supposedly witty then bursts into an uncontrollable guffaw. We’re supposed to recognize the movie it just poked fun at (Panic Room, The Godfather, The Untouchables, GoodFellas, so many more I lost count) and laugh along. It never quite works that way.

Among those inspirations, of course, is the original The Boondock Saints. Agent Smecker (Dafoe) only appears briefly. The running gag is that Eunice (Benz) has taken his place and basically does an impersonation of him. This is supposed to be funny mostly because he was a homosexual while she is actually a woman. It is not funny. Neither is the goofy Three Stooges routine by our three local cops assigned to help her. They’re just caricatures of what they were in the first movie which were caricatures to begin with.

Even the violence is played for laughs, unsuccessfully. What should be a reprieve from the annoying only grows moreso. What is funny, if only to us, is that the plot with a “sins of the father” slant could’ve made for a great movie. It’s told in a manner that borrows heavily from The Godfather Part II. However, the joke is on us. The execution is murderously bad. This makes the two hour runtime feel unbearably long.

This experience reminds me of something Roger Ebert once wrote: "Better to wait for a whole movie for something to happen (assuming we really care whether it happens) than to sit through a film where things we don’t care about are happening constantly." In The Boondock Saints II things we don’t care about happen constantly.

The Opposite View: Matthew Razak, Examiner.com

What the Internet Says: 6.5/10 on imdb.com (7/5/10), 21% on rottentomatoes.com, 24/100 on metacritic.com

MY SCORE: 2/10

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