Monday, 4 August 2014

The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day

Title: The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day
Director: Troy Duffy
Released: 2009
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr., Julie Benz, Billy Connolly, Judd Nelson, Peter Fonda, David Della Rocco, Willem Dafoe, Bob Marley, David Ferry, Brian Mahoney

Plot: Eight years after the events of the first film the sibling vigilantes Connor (Flanery) and Murphy (Reedus) have put their guns to earth as they now live a quiet simple life with their father and former assassin “Il Duce (Connolly). However when they are framed for the murder of a Boston priest the brothers are forced out of retirement as they set out to clear their name

Review: Coming a ten years after the first film it was something of a surprise that this film was actually made, but then the same could also be said for the original whose troubled production was documented in the documentary “Overnight” which saw Director Duffy being heralded as the new Tarantino with his excitingly inventive script being picked up by the Weinstein’s only to soon becoming a property that no studio wanted after Duffy's general attitude soon found his project being dumped. Duffy would eventually get the film made if for a fraction of the original budget and over the years it has continued to gain a strong cult following as the fans clamoured for the return of the brothers.

True it might have been a longer wait than the fans might have wanted, thanks again to a variety of production issues which served to delay its release with many of the fans doubting that it would ever see a release. Needless to say now that it has finally been released it is something of a relief to find that Duffy’s debut wasn’t the fluke some may have written it off as, as here he truly delivers a sequel equal to that of the original. Equally pleasing to see is that the original cast have all been brought back for this sequel which considering how Reedus is now best known for his role on “The Walking Dead” I doubted that we would see his return here, much like Dafoe who even more surprisingly also makes an appearance even if it is pretty much a glorified cameo.

Unsurprisingly this film is essentially more of the same as the brothers upon their return to Boston waste little time in picking up were they left off cleaning the street of drug dealers and gangsters, while this time joined by their new Mexican sidekick Romeo (Collins Jr.) who is essentially a carbon copy of Rocco from the first film (who bizarrely also puts in an appearance via a random dream sequence)  as he generally is the source of most of the films comic relief, while Collins Jr. brings enough personality to the role to make him more than just the Mexican Rocco, especially during one scene were he misses out on an intense hotel room shootout due to the amount of time he’s spent trying to come up with killer catchphrase.

While on the subject of copies the same could also be said of FBI agent Bloom (Benz) the apprentice of agent Smecker (Dafoe) who share many of the same mannerisms even if she doesn’t exactly scene steal the same way as Dafoe did in the original, their methods are essentially identical, while director Duffy takes advantage of having Benz in the role as he includes a sexy cowgirl fantasy as part of one of her analysis, complete with some pretty fancy gun tricks which have zero to do with her explanation but sure looks cool and kind of made me want to see her play a gunslinger role like Sharon Stone in “The Quick and the Dead”. Like Smecker she is once again joined by the bumbling trio of detectives Greenly (Marley), Dolly (Ferry) and Duffy (Mahoney) who are still trying to cover up their involvement in the vigilante plans of the saints and this time play more of an active role in assisting them in a nice move for the series as it goes from just being the brothers, to now becoming more of a group, even if it is still largely down to the brothers to do the real grunt work.

The other focus here revolves around the background of Il Duce, who we were given the minimal amount of information about in the original, while generally being surprised that Scottish funny man Connolly was capable of playing such a badass, much less giving a convincing Irish accent, especially considering how a strong an accent he has normally. Unsurprisingly it is a background filled with similarities to the brothers own path to becoming vigilantes only with a dose of betrayal to explain away his incarceration.

Despite being more experienced than they were in the first film, the brothers still rely as always on what they’ve learned from the movies and general luck and instinct than any real kind of training. Infact judging from their questionable beards and new life as goat herders it would seem that they we’re exactly planning on returning to Boston after the first film and explaining away why they are none the more planned this time around. As before Duffy uses this inexperience frequently as a source of humour for the action scenes which are essentially as inventive as before aswell as featuring the extensive use of slow motion shots to really work each of these scenes. The real standout moment however has to be the butt clenching game of Russian roulette between Il Duce and the assassin responsible for framing the brothers, which Connelly truly unleashes his inner badass with a simple “Easy boys...Daddy’s working” as he maintains an icey cool demeanour.

Duffy once again shows an ear for dialogue as he once more delivers a boat load of quotable dialogue, making it unsurprising that so many people were keen to compare him to Quentin Tarantino and yes while both bring a fresh energy to the crime genre, it remains to be seen if he can work outside of the world of the saints which currently seems to be his sole focus, especially with “Boondock Saints 3: Saints Preserve Us” currently in the works aswell as a rumoured TV adaptation, but if they are as much fun as these first two entries I’m hardly going to complain about his current lack of range.

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