Blu-ray Review: The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009)

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The Boondock Saints [Blu-ray]

If there's some kind of Guinness Book of World Records chart for how many homophobic references movie characters make in a single film, then Troy Duffy's sequel to his stylized cult hit The Boondock Saints just blew the competition away.

And for a movie that cites everything from men with blonde hair to just a random turn of phrase as “gay gay gay,” it's pretty amusingly homoerotic right from the get go. All gun fetishism aside, instead of treating the largely male demographic to the sultry southern charms of the smart, sexy and sassy F.B.I. Agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz), Duffy ignores the traditional woman with the hot bod by trading it in for our buff duo.

For absolutely no reason whatsoever, just after the first act's inciting incident reveals that one of Boston's most well-respected priests has been brutally slain Saints style, our antihero brothers and Boondock Saints leads Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus take part in a gratuitous shower sequence dressed in birthday suits and religious tattoos as they make like the Dropkick Murphys and go “Shipping Up to Boston.”

Leaving their long hair and beards back in Ireland where they've been hiding out alongside their father for the past eight years, the MacManus boys meet a fellow Catholic vigilante on the boat ride over in another equally homophobic overly eager Mexican fighter who assists them in exacting revenge against the Italian mobsters who set them up for the death to get them back on American soil as retribution for their assassination of a mob boss in the previous movie.

While Benz is one of the new additions to the familiar cast as a brilliant crime scene investigator who may as well be a female blend of Willem Dafoe's homosexual opera loving F.B.I. agent in the first one mixed together with Kyra Sedgwick's The Closer, basically the movie offers the same ingredients plot, character, and style wise as the original.

And although the sheer amount of gay jokes and homophobic references to anal rape, prison tales and sexual identity denials is certainly distracting as the old sort of "methinks the characters doth protest way too much" manner, overall, the dual plot-lines served up of the present day mob related mess and the interwoven history of Daddy MacManus (Billy Connolly) strengthens the movie considerably.

Similar to the Godfather Part II approach of delving way into the past to create a fascinating present, Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is far more exciting when it's focusing on the father's transformation from an average worker into a ruthless killer than it is when it relishes in what even the movie refers to as its obvious “gratuitous violence.”

In fact, by this time around, Duffy's endless music blaring and gunshots firing, too-cool-for-school Guy Ritchie riffs just don't quite feel as genuine or exciting as the first movie's no-holds-barred imaginative spirit that found me dazzled by some of it's impressive stunts and camerawork despite the feeling of literal and figurative overkill.

Willing to mature on one level and sacrifice the cinematographic trickery to develop two highly complex (for The Saints that is) plot-lines, although overall, the movie feels like a gunshow ad filmed by a director operating solely on Red Bull far too often, at least it tries to give its fans some semblance of a history or reason to be invested in the goings on rather than just for the foreplay of gunplay.

Of course, it'd be easier to recommend the movie if it worked and unfortunately it doesn't but of the two, this one does surpass the first one, even if you're going to miss the creative introduction to the brothers who feel lifeless in this movie (yes, even when they're so not gay but showering openly in front of us) along with Willem Dafoe.

Offering a nifty twist in the finale that hints at a possible trilogy, although Saints fans are likely to jump right into the firing range to explore this film on razor sharp Sony Blu-ray where you're surrounded by speakers filled with every single bullet ringing out and casings hitting the floor.

Yet overall, those who haven't joined the mass for the Coppola inspired Catholics of God Squad vigilantes who pray before putting out somebody's lights will most likely want to pass in favor of flipping through the unholy entries of the Guinness Book to see if the Guinness drinking Saints have earned a place in the write-in category of Movie Houses of Homophobia.

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FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.