Sony // 2009 // 137 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron (Retired) // August 7th, 2013
Omnium Sanctorum Diem...again.
When last we saw Connor (Sean Patrick Flannery, Powder) and Murphy MacManus (Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead), our Irish vigilantes were chewing gum and killing mob kingpins, and they'd run out of Wrigleys. Having escaped to Ireland with their dad (Billy Connelly, Fido) to lay low for a while, they soon learn that a beloved priest back home has been gunned down. They decide to return to America for some good old fashioned Saint's revenge. On the way, they meet up with a mysterious Mexican man named Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr, Pacific Rim) who is desperate to be part of Connor and Murphy's crew. All paths lead to the son of Joe Yakavetta, Concezio (Judd Nelson, The Breakfast Club) and his association with someone known as The Old Man (Peter Fonda, Ulee's Gold). Seems the latter has hired a hitman (Daniel DeSanto, Mean Girls) to take out the Saints, but a nosy FBI agent (Julie Benz, Saw V) and a trio of bumbling local cops (Bob Marley, MadTV, David Ferry, The Crossing, and Brian Mahoney, American Reunion) keep getting in the way. Naturally, Connor and Murphy's father eventually shows up to explain everything, and set-up a final showdown.
If you are a fan of the first The Boondock Saints, well then nothing I or any other critic says will dissuade you from taking in this sodden sequel. You adore Flannery and Reedus, think writer/director Troy Duffy's take on genre conventions is exciting and novel, and that once this particular sequel is over, more ofThe Boondock Saints...not less...should be in order. In some ways, it's easy to see what you love about this crazy cult entry. Duffy tries to be cool and contemporary, borrowing heavily from the QT (that's Quentin Tarantino for you Spiderbabies out there) textbook of snappy dialogue and over the top gunplay to give us street justice with just a smidge of smarmy, smug self-service. In the previous incarnation, it sort-of worked. Here, it's forced and horribly obvious. Part of the pleasure in the first film was watching Duffy do something that few have post-Pulp Fiction were capable of, that is, borrowing heavily from that trailblazing movie without mimicking all its moves. Here's he's starting to believe his own hype, and the results ruin things for anyone except the most diehard obsessive.
First off, all the acting is fine. Reedus, riding high on the success of his AMC-backed zombie stomp, does a good job of being both effective and a tad eccentric. Flannery is a nice foil in that regard. Connelly convinces us of his criminal past while the rest of the holdovers from the first time around do an equally decent job. Of the newbies, Fonda and Nelson are worthy adversaries, each in his own way, while the underrated Mr. Collins Jr is a jolly addition as Romeo. About the only element that doesn't really work here is Ms. Benz and her horrid Southern accent. If what Paula Dean did was a hate crime, this dopey drawl is a close, close second. In fact, much of this film feels as lazy as that antebellum atrocity. It recognizes it needs to deliver certain things, and plays to the flames of such meaningless Messaboard complaints with an aura of casual, couldn't-care-less-ness. Duffy knows that the devoted will be lining up to witness his waste of time and talent. Those unfamiliar with the sect of Saints need not apply.
In fact, those who love the MacManus clan and yet feel underwhelmed by this particular project should learn a lesson in being careful what one wishes for. Not every movie needs a sequel, let alone a proposed franchise (Duffy is talking TV series, or another movie, or some combination of both). Lightning never strikes in the same place twice for a couple of reasons, and only one is based in science. Indeed, if such a jarring jolt of electricity found its mark more than once, it would leave nothing but scorched Earth in its wake. That's what The Boondocks Saints II: All Saints Day does. It cannibalizes its predecessor while adding nothing new to the mix. In fact, it's reminiscent of another vigilante series -- the Death Wish films -- that dropped all pretense of being original or interesting and simply regurgitated the same pissed of Paul Kersey with a pistol playbook. Apparently, as long as Duffy delivers a calculated carbon copy of some certified MacManus mayhem, everyone is in. In the case of this unnecessary follow-up, there will be more than a few begging out.
As you can see by the listing, this is the "extended director's cut" Blu-ray release of The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, meaning we get more footage and extended sequences. If you've seen the original, you'll recognize the additions. If you haven't, there's a disc that provides a look at the first version just to get you up to speed. When it was initially released, the movie ran 117 minutes. Now, it clocks in at 137. So there's about 20 more minute of silliness to sit through, though the additions to make for a smoother if no less cohesive viewing experience. There is no more violence here, if that's what you are craving. As for the rest of the tech specs, we get a quality 2.35:1/1080p transfer that highlights Duffy's desaturated exteriors and far more colorful interiors quite well. The image is sharp, with lots of detail and little defect. As for the sound, we are treated to a lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix that balances the gunplay with the dialogue quite well. There is a nice sense of direction and a quality use of space.
As for added content, this package is overloaded in stuff that Saints fans will love. The director's cut has two commentaries (repeated on the standard edit), and two featurettes on the sequel and its scripting. The other disc repeats the aforementioned discussions and adds deleted scenes (which seems a bit redundant when you consider the presentation already contains a version of the film with 20 more minutes), a Making-of, some interviews, a look at the weapons used in the movie, and a report from Comic-Con. Overall, a decent offering, with the commentaries topping the list. Both are insightful and a lot of fun, making the experience of sitting through the film twice more a lot easier.
In some ways, it's best to consider this a retread "thank you" to all the fans who made the first film such a hit. The converted will cotton to The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day just like they did for its decade old sibling. Those arriving late to this particular motion picture party should simply keep up shuffling down the street to the next stylized crime action drama.
Guilty. Only valuable to the already converted.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (French)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (German)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 137 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Cut
* Deleted Scenes