Writer/Director Troy Duffy has had ten years to develop a sequel to Boondock Saints and this is what we get? Either the moderate success of the first film has gone to his head or he’s secretly teamed up with the Wayans brothers, because All Saints Day comes across as more of a spoof than a sequel to the action-packed, dramatic and even endearing original. The only thing All Saints Day preserves of its predecessor is the frequency of bullets flying. Forget the mob, the MacManus brothers should be more worried about Duffy ruining their reputation.
Since their 1999 effort to ‘destroy all that which is evil’ in Boston, Connor and Murphy MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) have been hiding out with their father (Billy Connolly) in Ireland. Apparently their new lives as sheep farmers isn’t satisfying because when they find out a beloved hometown priest has been murdered and tagged with their M.O., they’re ready to lock and load and clear their name. They sheer their beards, brush off the old tats, reacquaint themselves with their firearms and head back to Boston.
With their old pal Rocco (David Della Rocco) long gone, they’re in need of a new inside man. In comes Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.), a bug-eyed Mexican with a serious haircut. Oh, and ties to the mob. Another figure in need of replacement is Willem Dafoe’s FBI agent Paul Smecker. Since those are some pretty big shoes to fill, Duffy opts to utilize a 6-inch heel to get the job done. FBI special agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz) is paired with the three bumbling detectives who assisted the MacManus brothers out of their last jam. Guns ablazing, Connor and Murphy hit the town to take care of business with Romeo by their side and Bloom hot on their trail.
I’m certainly not a member of the original film’s cult following, but I can recognize what draws people to the MacManus brothers’ story. Sadly, every reputable element of the first film is nonexistent or mocked in the sequel. Connor and Murphy always get the jobs done, but during flashback scenes the audience sees things don’t really ever go according to plan. Their lightheartedness earns them an amiable side but in All Saints Day Duffy tickles their funny bones to the extreme. Some of their wisecracks garner a giggle but overall Connor and Murphy have lost all seriousness and come off as a pair of bickering brothers that only succeed because none of these damn mobsters can hit a target.
The newcomers don’t do much to help the situation. Both Romeo and Bloom are laughable caricatures. Romeo’s main fault is his hair. It’s so ridiculous it’s impossible to take him seriously at any point in the film. At least Collins can act; I can’t say the same for Benz. Duffy must have a thing for her, otherwise I don’t understand why he would cast someone to play a southern bell who is incapable of using a southern accent. None of her dialogue holds any value simply because she sounds ludicrous.
Nobody involved in The Boondock Saints II is free from blame, but the fattest finger is pointing straight at Duffy. By the looks of this film, Duffy must think he himself is a saint. Just because your movie earned a fan base via DVD doesn’t give you the right to create something so arrogant, pretentious and downright obnoxious that it will insult fans let alone the novices that innocently dropped some cash and gave you a chance. I know that sounds harsh, but Duffy is dragging good names and a decent film down with him. I don’t think I’ll ever watch the original film again without thinking of this travesty.
The dialogue is horrendous, the storyline absurd and even poorer, the editing is terrible. The transitions are worse than weak; they’re nearly nonexistent. Any attempt at a segue resembles a hole left in a TV show after being sent to DVD and having the commercials removed. But the worst part of All Saints Day is that it lacks what makes the first film special: heart. Not even a remarkable unexpected cameo can save The Boondock Saints II. The Saints should have stayed in hiding.
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