Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Boondock Saints 2 (All Saints Day)

What do you say about The Boondock Saints? For those recently dipping their feet in the Hollywood pool, the story behind The Boondock Saints is one of the more fascinating in the town's eclectic history. I'll definitely be getting some details wrong here but for the most part, this is what went down: Troy Duffy was a no-name bartender in Los Angeles who wrote The Boondock Saints in his free time off a rented computer. He somehow got the script into Harvey Weinstein's hands at the apex of Miramax's power. Weinstein agreed to buy the script for 300k, allow Duffy to direct the movie for 16 million, and to sweeten the deal (and cleverly nab some media attention), he even bought Duffy the bar that he worked at for him. It was one of those Cinderella stories that everybody loved to talk about. Well, except that a few months later Harvey changed his mind and stopped taking Duffy's phone calls. Duffy, not exactly current on Tinsletown protocol, didn't understand this meant his movie wasn't happening anymore. Now a lot of what follows is rumor, but supposedly Duffy started stalking Weinstein and threatening him for backing out of the deal. We all know that Weinstein isn't the shyest mogul on the block, and according to Troy, he began threatening Duffy's life. Duffy went from future filmmaker to caged animal as he holed himself up in his house with a gun, waiting for Harvey's assassins. Of course Weinstein denies all of this. But Duffy swears it's true. This is all documented in the documentary, "Overnight", which, while not as good as my description makes it out to be, is still a pretty strong doc.

Eventually Duffy got someone to put up money for his film and the movie pretty much went straight-to-video. Now, according to lore, the movie is now a "cult classic" because it made over six million dollars on video. I've never seen the film, nor do I have any desire to, but whether you believe it's a success or not, it was good enough that someone put up money for a sequel. Roger has dug up the script for that sequel, and he shares his reactions with us...

Genre: Action. Crime.
Premise: The MacManus Brothers are living a quiet life in Ireland with their father, but when they learn their beloved priest has been killed by mob forces, the duo return to Boston to bring justice to those responsible.
About: Troy Duffy makes his directing return in this sequel to The Boondock Saints.
Writer: Troy Duffy

Duffy and Swayze after selling his script.

I have a few friends who color themselves Boondock Fans. I don’t judge them. Instead, I try to understand them. To prepare myself for this review, I had a conversation with my buddy, Ira, about why he likes “The Boondock Saints”. He’s a quarter Irish, and in-between pints of Guinness and Smithwicks, I asked him to tell me why the flick appeals to him.

“First off, these guys are Irish. And what do the Irish do best? They fight. They bleed. They die. Those are actual song lyrics by the way.”

“So you like the movie because the heroes are Irish?”

“Sure. But what makes them so great is that they have no idea what the fuck they are doing. They win all of their gunfights purely by accident. Happy accidents. Who are they when we meet them? They’re workers in a meat factory plant, I think. And don’t they like beat the shit out of a health inspector or something?”

“I don’t really remember.”

“The point is, these guys are just blue-collar second-generation Irish immigrants in Boston. Yet God calls upon them to punish the unjust. They’re like these killer saints that deliver the justice of God by the barrel of a gun. And I think that’s something we can all relate to.”

“Religious vigilantism?”

“Why not? Look at Willem Dafoe’s FBI detective character. He’s this guy who can’t always catch the bad guys. He has to work through the American legal system, our imperfect justice system. And a lot of the times, he has to watch people escape the system just to go commit the same crimes. And that’s why he likes the Saints so much. They don’t have to go through our flawed legal system. They are God’s legal system. They are God’s executioners.”

“Sounds like the last season of Dexter.”

“I’m pretty sure the writers of Dexter stole that from Boondock Saints.”

“Is that a serious statement?”

“Steal. Reference. Cite. Homage. Whatever. It just goes to show you that Boondock was ahead of its time.”

“I never really thought about it like that. Okay. So what’s your favorite scene?”

“Everything you need to know about The Boondock Saints is in the final scene. You got the cops in the courtroom at a loss of what to do. They are fucking agonizing that this Mafia Boss is gonna get away. It’s fucked up, you know? This crime lord is going to walk the streets, basically a taint upon Boston. Everyone’s just pissed. The failure of the court system strikes again. But then the Saints walk in and fucking pop this dude. BAM! BAM! In the middle of a court room! Can you not see the brilliance in that?”

“Well...okay. I do remember that. Hold on – what was that?”

“What was what?”

“You didn’t hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“Is that a disembodied guitar riff?”

“I think...I think it is!”

Original Saints.

Rockin’ music overtakes us as we DISSOLVE TO...

Just me at my computer. Thinking about this script.

Perhaps I just prefer my flavor of vigilante to be of the Charlie Bronson or Frank Castle variety, because to me, reading The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day was basically the equivalent of reading really horrible Quentin Tarantino fanfiction.

I kinda liked the first act though. Which just goes to show you guys I was willing to give the Saints a second chance. Everyone deserves a second chance, right guys?

This motherfucker starts off in Ireland. The boys are now rugged sheep-herders with piercing eyes and luxurious beards. Think Alan Moore without the wizard costume and with more muscle on his bones. If the locale doesn’t prove to you that they are Irish, why don’t you fucking take a look at the Celtic Crosses inked to their forearms. Do you doubt their heritage now?

I thought not.

And if you’re bored, don’t be. Because someone, let’s call him CREW CUT, fucking murders a priest in the first five pages. I know. It’s fucking brutal! And if it’s not brutal enough, what if I were to tell you that this execution is intercut with wolves attacking the sheep Connor and Murphy are trying to defend?

What if I were to tell you that the priest gets a bullet to the back of his head and pennies put on his eyes? What if I were to tell you that a sheep dies? What if I were to tell you that this dude, Crew Cut, is using the modus operandi of the Saints whilst killing a man of the cloth to lure them back to Boston? What if I were to tell you that the boys blast away the wolf that kills the sheep and that the rest of the wolfpack runs away?

Would you think it’s not brutal enough now, faggot?

I think my friend Ira would say that everything you need to know about The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day would be in this one sequence of glorious intercutting.

And he might be right. Because it’s fucking symbolism. And everyone knows that symbolism is the fucking shit.


As the boys cut their hair and luxurious beards with sheep shears.

Apparently, a disturbance in the Force has informed them that shit has hit the fan in Boston. They must meticulously groom themselves and ritualistically fill in each other’s tattoos as if they were completing pages in a Celtic-themed coloring book so they can sneak back into the States by stowing themselves on a cargo freighter, The Killian Farris.

Once aboard, they successfully watch a cage match between a swarthy French giant and a pony-tailed Latino with a perpetual smile. Fucking awesome, right? Well hold the fuck on, because it gets awesomer! The Latino, even though he has a ponytail, the sides are shorn! And his hands are chained behind his back! So it’s like a manacled David fighting a froggie seaman Goliath! No, not semen (faggot), seaman! And get this, if you didn’t think this Latino cat was suave already, bobbing and weaving those brutal blows from the giant, let me tell you his name. Then there will be absolutely no doubt in your mind that this kid is the fucking shit. Hold on...wait for it...and while you wait for it...try to imagine some fucking cool music setting the mood...okay...his name is...ROMEO!

Yeah Jefe, you should fucking cheer.

And if you don’t think Romeo is tough, then FUCK YOU, pal! Let me shove some of his dialogue down your ear-hole so you know that he’s tough:

“You should never fight a Mexican, Frenchy. Pound for pound the toughest mother fuckers on earth. Know why? We like pain. We like it, Pierre. I mean think about it, ‘Tabasco sauce.’ What kind of fucked up people would even invent that shit?”

It’s a good question. Whom indeed, Romeo? Whom in-fucking-deed. Because according to Wikipedia, it wasn’t Mexicans. It was this mother fucking Maryland-born former banker named Edmund McIlhenny. Which sounds suspiciously Irish.

But no matter, this is enough to impress Murphy. The MacManus Brothers need a fucking mascot and if you got brains you need not apply.

But hold on. What is Duffy trying to say? Is there something deeper going on here? Is the writer of The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day suggesting that all Mexicans really wish they were Irish? Or merely that they wish they invented Tabasco sauce? Yes, what exactly is the subtext of this relationship?

Does it fucking matter?

Because as I was reading the script, I literally felt the phantom of an astral-projected Duffy whisper in my ear, “When reading this script, your name is no longer Roger. It’s Peaches, faggot! So don’t ask questions, Peaches. I locked the door from the outside until you reach the end. Keep reading, bitch!”

I felt like I was about to go deaf reading this thing. Dialogue is not spoken, it’s shouted. Intimate moments involve brotherly roughhousing during hits on bad guys. Whispers are frothy epithets and spittle catapulted out of mouths. If someone raises their voice it’s accompanied by gunshots and questionable one-liners. Both make you flinch. So it’s kinda like a double flinch and then you die.

Where were we? Oh yes.

The Saints need Romeo. He has connections in the Boston underworld that can help them find the killer of the priest and exact revenge on everyone involved while simultaneously clearing their names of the crime. Yeah. I know. But sometimes you just gotta fucking murderlize other human beings to clear your name of a crime you didn’t commit. They call that cleaning the slate.

It reminds me of that classic 1988 beat’em up arcade game, Bad Dudes. “A fucking priest has been murdered in your trademark style from when you were a vigilante. Are you a bad enough dude to clean the fucking slate?”

Romeo needs Murphy and Connor because he wishes he were Irish. And he wants to prove to his Uncle Cesar that he’s a bad enough dude to be the third wheel to The Brothers Boondock. Because that’s how you prove you’re truly macho. Their company is the litmus test of your manliness.

And unfortunately, my patience.

What about Smecker you ask? The Willem Dafoe character from the first film? I’m glad you asked.


And meet Special Agent Eunice Bloom. Smecker asexually reproduced her, I mean...plucked her straight out of a class at Quantico. His protégé. This is the character he truly wanted to be in the first film, fallopian tubes and all.

All you need to know about Eunice Bloom is illustrated in the Act Two Climax.


Eunice is now in full cowgirl regalia: Leather chaps, rawhide coat, boots, cowboy hat, and a pair of gleaming six guns on her hips. She’s going to visualize the crime scene The Boondock Saints and Romeo left behind in a luxury condo while trying to murder a crime boss who locked himself in his custom-built panic room.

She screams, “YEEEEE HAAAWWWW!!!!!” as this fantasy sequence is intercut with the boys and their awesome shoot-out.

You see, this fantasy sequence is required because Eunice’s boss, Kuntsler, is trying to take over her investigation from the inside. Julie Benz needs to prove to him that she is a better detective than her blood-splatter analyst boyfriend slash serial killer boyfriend on Dexter.

And what better way for Eunice to do it than to show the audience that all these characters are just modern-day cowboys and outlaws up to their same old shenanigans?

Roger, come on. You don’t have to make scenes up. Seriously, what was your main problem with the script?

Like I said, I was interested in the first act. But this thing just seemed to lose my interest afterwards. It’s a one-trick pony repeating the formula from the first movie. The action sequences feel one note. The cops and Eunice stumble onto a crime scene where bad guys died. Eunice visualizes the crime scene to tell the police what actually happened. Over...and over...and over again.

Sure, the tenuous villain who drew the Saints out of hiding has a master plan, and it involves the father of the Saints. But it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t so much unfold as it’s haphazardly shimmied into the 3rd act. It feels like it’s coming out of left field.

This story is about a character that’s only in the script for maybe two or three scenes. It’s just bad architecture. The payoff is limp.

[ ] What the hell did I just read?
[x] barely kept my fucking interest
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: If you want to be cool, you should rip the fucking period key out of your keyboard. That way you are forced to use more exclamation points. I think a ratio of 3:1, exclamation points to periods, is what you should shoot for. The more the merrier, right? Also, I think the more CUE ROCKIN’ MUSIC slugs the better. Except you should mix it up. Instead of ‘rockin’ you can substitute words like: ‘hauntin’, ‘festive’, ‘moody’, ‘hard core’, ‘pulsating’, ‘cool’, ‘Country Western’, ‘scratchy’, ‘thunderin’, ‘slammin’, et cetera. The possibilities are pretty fucking endless, if you think about it.