From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day - C-

Rated R for bloody violence, language and some nudity, 117 minutes

"Boondock Saints II": Far from heavenly, an entertaining mess

A friend introduced me to "The Boondock Saints" (1999), lending me his DVD of the film about two vigilante brothers that became a cult hit on video. Even more interesting was the fact that its director and writer, Troy Duffy, was working as a bartender shortly before he made the film. The first film's appeal came through the bloody entertaining, fun story and comedic banter between the leads. Ten years later, Duffy is finally releasing the sequel, "The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day," an unnecessary sequel that's missing much the charm of the first one (not to mention Willem Dafoe); it does have a few fun moments and laughs, but is hammy, surprisingly second-rate and hastily produced.

For the last 8 years the brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) have been living with their father on a sheep farm deep in isolated Ireland. One day their uncle tells them that they have been framed for the murder of a Bostonian Catholic priest. The boys must return to Boston to not only clear their names but find the men who framed them, one of them (Judd Nelson) who has a connection to their past. They get help from a new partner, Romeo (Clifton Collins, Jr.) along with their old detective pals at the Boston Police Department: Rocco (David Della Rocco), Greenly (Bob Marley), and Duffy (Brian Mahoney), not to mention a fast-talking, head strong Southern FBI Special Agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz) who has nifty tricks up her sleeve to solve the case.

"Boondock Saints II" is a fast-paced, bloody entertaining mess of a movie that's both watchable ridiculous. It reunites most of the cast (sans the aforementioned Dafoe), primarly Flanery and Reedus as the Irish vigilante McManus brothers. There's no denying their charm, though it's been so long (ten years) since they've been onscreen, it may be helpful for even fans of the first movie to rewatch that one before seeing this one. The story is a flimsy, contrived one at best, but even worse, some audience members may pick up on a creepy, homoerotic undercurrent between the two brothers (never married, always together and give each other tattoos - maybe all coincidences).

You also won't miss the addition of two new colorful characters in "Boondock Saints," that of Collins and Benz, who are enjoyable but give two of the hammiest performances seen in recent memory, particularly Benz, who has trouble holding down that fake Southern accent for long. The rest of the cast overacts just as much, if not more. You can stop wondering what happened to "The Breakfast Club's" Judd Nelson, wasted in a small, one-note role as one of the bad guys, and if you stay through the bloody, overlong and over-the-top climax, you'll get a chance to see a fun cameo from a miscast Peter Fonda, who does a worse job with his Italian accent than Benz did with her Southern one.

"Boondocks Saints II" is hardly subtle but fans of this may still enjoy it, even if Duffy's forgettable production that ends up as both cheap and offensive. Duffy himself comes across as a one-trick pony, having done no other films except these and seemingly gearing up for a third installment. "Boondocks Saints II" may end up being guilty-pleasure entertainment and could find a bigger audience on DVD, where this should've gone in the first place.