Monday, July 26, 2010

"The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day" (2009)

Starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and Clifton Collins Jr.
Written and Directed by Troy Duffy

What happens when you make a shitty movie, then ruin your chances by drawing the ire of all the most powerful movers and shakers in Hollywood by insulting them?  What happens when a documentary comes out revealing what a complete, talentless douchebag you are?

Apparently, ten years later, you get to try it all over again.

Troy Duffy, the Boston bartender and wannabe musician who nearly made it big by ripping off all the worst aspects of Quentin Tarantino and managing to sell it to Miramax bigwig Harvey Weinstein, somehow managed to wrangle a sequel to his terrible "Boondock Saints," and doesn't seem to have learned anything about filmmaking in the interim.

The MacManus brothers, Connor and Murphy (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) have been hiding out with their father (Billy Connolly) in Ireland for the last ten years after the events of the first film.  Back in Boston, someone murders a priest and makes it look like the work of the MacManus brothers, who were once known as the Saints, a pair of vigilante killers.  When the brothers hear about this, they cut off their terrible looking fake beards and head for America.  On the way, they recruit Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.), a Mexican with the connections they need.

Meanwhile, FBI Agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz) arrives on the scene and partners up with the Saints' old allies, three bumbling Boston detectives.  They begin to investigate the murder, with the goal of finding exactly who is trying to frame up the boys.  Ultimately, they follow the trail of murder that leads to revelations about their father's past, and the true enemy.

Eventually all of these storylines might hopefully come together in a coherent, gloriously violent way.  But that assumption presupposes that Troy Duffy knows how to tell a story, or how to make a good movie.  Frankly, he doesn't.  "The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day" is a bad movie, just like the first one.  It's full of inane, stupid dialogue that wishes it were hip and cool, bad photography, terrible editing and more than a few atrociously bad performances.  The script isn't even intelligent enough to reference other (better) films without referring to them by name.  Too many lines in the movie say stupid things like, "This isn't a movie!" or some bullshit.  That's the kind of thing you can get away with once or twice and have it be funny, but Duffy decides he should pepper his entire movie with lines like this.  One scene involving a character trying to come up with some kind of badass catchphrase to use after killing a bunch of mafia types would be funny if it weren't so artificial and stupid.

Julie Benz is the worst offender, delivering her already awful dialogue with a stilted, horrific southern accent.  Duffy does her no favors by making most of her scenes involve her wearing some ridiculous costume and walking toward the camera as though on a fashion runway, with wind blowing her hair out behind her.  One scene in particular has her in some kind of faux-cowgirl getup walking like a fashion model through a chaotic gunfight sequence that's idiotically absurd, the worst kind of laughably bad attempt at being "deep."  Judd Nelson is also particularly terrible as a Boston mafia boss who can never find the right words (leaving one of his underlings to correct him, ugh). 

Like "Blood: The Last Vampire" all of this nonsense might be forgivable if Duffy could just give us a few cool action sequences, but he can't even do that.  Scene after scene in the movie is essentially the same, with the Saints popping out from behind cover and just laying waste to a group of gangsters or drug dealers who barely even have time to draw their own weapons and fire back.  Each time this happens, it seems to get more and more ridiculous and by the time the Saints are laying siege to Judd Nelson's hideout in the Prudential Center (ugh) it's just stupid.

Is there any redeeming value in this second, terrible "Boondock Saints" film?  Well, Flanery and Reedus genuinely seem to be having fun hanging out again.  The two of them have an easy rapport, and Clifton Collins Jr. joins the gang seamlessly, though ends up being the but of many racist jokes (of which the film has many, with a few homophobic and sexist bits thrown in for good measure).

In the end, "Boondock Saints II" is just another "Boondock Saints" movie.  That is to say, it sucks.  It wishes desperately that it didn't, and tries hard not to, but can't escape the fact that the man behind the curtain is just a talentless douchebag who didn't even deserve a second shot.  I don't even know why I bothered to watch this movie.  The first one is trash, and the second is just more of the same, but somehow even worse.