From Troy Duffy, writer and director of The Boondock Saints, comes the much anticipated sequel to the tough, stylized cutting edge saga of the MacManus brothers (Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery). The two have been in deep hiding with their father, Il Duce (Billy Connolly), in the quiet valleys of Ireland, far removed from their former vigilante lives. When word comes that a beloved priest has been killed by sinister forces from deep within the mob, the brothers return to Boston to mount a violent and bloody crusade to bring justice to those responsible. With a new partner in crime (Clifton Collins Jr., Star Trek) and a sexy FBI operative (Julie Benz, TV's Dexter) hot on their trail... the Saints are back!
As a cult movie enthusiast, I've come to accept over the years that there will always be times when certain movies that I feel are without any redeeming value whatsoever will earn cult status. 'The Boondock Saints' is just such a release. No matter how many times I try to watch it, the story of two Irish brothers on a holier-than-thou vigilante trip just strikes me as garbage. By some bizarre, almost voodoo-like miracle, Troy Duffy actually salvaged whatever inkling of a film career he had by finding an audience on home video. Even more of a shocker is the fact that the poster-boy for what not to do when welcomed into the Hollywood system was actually given the green-light to make an even worse follow-up.
Ten years after the events of the previous movie, 'The Boondock Saints II' sees the MacManus brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus), living the quiet life in Ireland with their father Noah (Billy Connolly). When a beloved priest in Boston is murdered using their signature style, the two return to solve the mystery and clear their names. On their way there, they meet up with the spunky, loudmouthed Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.), who ends up becoming their new sidekick. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Bloom (Julie Benz) is already on the case and intends to catch the killer before The Saints do. As the team discovers Papa Yakavetta's son, Concezio (Judd Nelson), is the man behind the priest's assassination, they learn that the real mastermind is orchestrating a much larger plot.
Just as with its predecessor, 'The Boondock Saints II' is all bark and no bite, an empty spectacle full of random, meaningless dialogue wishing it were insightful. The movie tries so hard to appeal to viewers' hip/cool sensibilities with stylish, over-the-top imagery and conversations that are intended to serve as astute observations on life, but ultimately, the whole mess is trivial nonsense with a shallow, simplistic outlook. The script is utterly inane, yet it attempts to appear intelligent, with characters who actually correct the grammar of others. Unfortunately, that venture quickly falls apart, with characters using the F-bomb in every other sentence, Detective Greenly (Bob Marley) saying "irregardless" as if it were a real word, and Agent Bloom proclaiming that she makes smart people look "retarded." Sadly, the Holly Hunter-reject fails to live up to even that promise.
This terrible sequel is just so bloated in excess and self-satisfaction that it feels as though Duffy's own pompous arrogance actually bled into the narrative. Mr. Duffy not only doesn't know how to write, but he also doesn't know how to direct a motion picture in an engaging and interesting fashion. It seems to take forever to finally arrive at a showdown with The Roman, and none of the action sequences are ever impressive - just a bunch of sophomoric, pretentious camerawork, and sequences that play as though slow-motion makes everything look better. Maybe Duffy missed that episode of Chappelle's Show demystifying the slow-mo theory. He wastes too much time making unfunny, lame references to his own movie, as well as to other, exceedingly better films ('Panic Room,' 'Jaws,' 'The Eiger Sanction,' and 'Manhunter' to name a few). He also riddles 'Saints II' with endless racist and sexist jokes that never serve a purpose.
At the end of the day, the movie falls somewhere between mediocre and bland, with godawful editing and pointless shifts in the sequence of events. In all honesty, I had a much better time watching the über-emo romance of Edward, Bella, and Jacob, and I've seen more entertaining gratuitous violence in the ridiculous 'Smokin' Aces 2.' The one and only thing that serves as the movie's saving grace is the attractive photography by Miroslaw Baszak ('Land of the Dead,' 'Pontypool'). Beyond that, I see nothing else to enjoy in Duffy's follow-up to his own cult favorite. It's just more garbage.
'The Boondock Saints II' is literally, as Shakespeare so beautifully and eloquently put it, "a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing." With all due respect Mr. Duffy, your movie sucks "wicked" bad. It will be another miracle to see a third installment.
Well, as much as I obviously don't care for 'The Boondock Saints II,' I must admit it looks pretty darn good on Blu-ray. The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (2.35:1) comes with a mostly pristine, highly-detailed picture that fans will surely appreciate.
Whether we find the brothers drinking at their favorite pub or Il Duce talking with The Roman in his empty mansion, viewers are treated with minute details in the background and clean, resolute lines in the foreground. Viewers can clearly make out the Bushmills label on bottles, the texture on the wool jackets of The Saints, and the pores on facial complexions in close-up shots. Black levels aren't always perfect from beginning to end, but they're often rich and inky, giving the image some appreciable depth. Delineation is also strong, with nice visibility in the dark shadows. Colors don't make much of an impression, but the palette is accurate and cleanly rendered, with healthy, natural looking flesh tones. Contrast wavers just a tad, but it's nothing too distracting or detrimental to the presentation. In fact, the transfer is generally crisp and sharp throughout, with only a couple of poorly resolved scenes. Overall, it's a solid hi-def picture.
'The Boondock Saints II' also arrives with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that offers a pretty good presentation. Only, it doesn't make much of an impression and is surprisingly kind of dull. While vocals are well-prioritized in the center of the screen, channel separation is nicely balanced with a wide and smooth dynamic range. This creates a somewhat attractive imaging, but it's not always consistent or very engaging. When the score is employed, it spreads evenly across the entire soundstage, and low bass is fairly deep and strong. Despite some minor bleed from the music, rear activity is generally silent for a majority of the movie's runtime. For a newer action release with gun battles, this lack of discrete effects is not only noticeable but gravely disappointing. In the end, the lossless track still comes with some highlights fans are sure to enjoy.
For this Blu-ray edition of 'The Boondock Saints II,' Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has put together a strong package of supplements, some of which are exclusive. Although I'm not fan, I imagine fans will enjoy the wealth of production info.
'The Boondock Saints II' is the awful follow-up to the equally awful debut movie from Troy Duffy. The sequel is, not too surprisingly, worse than the first, a movie only fans can, and likely will, love. This Blu-ray edition offers a fairly attractive package of strong video, okay audio, and a collection of supplements that can be enjoyed after the movie is over. This is one action flick that was obviously made more for the fans, rather than for a larger audience.