Nov 24 2009
I almost can’t believe this moment came and went. Ten years ago I fantasized about a Boondock Saints sequel the minute after the credits rolled, and I heard that a project was in the works called Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.
Months turned to years, and I forgot about the promised sequel that never came, except for every St. Patrick’s Day when I would watch the film and blast its soundtrack through my room all day.
But here we are, a full decade later, and the mythical project has been made and released. I only even heard that the film was taking shape a few months ago, the first trailer hit in September, and all of a sudden it’s already in theaters. Somehow, despite being ten years later, the release of this film has seemed like a whirlwind rush.
So how you make a sequel to one of the most cult-classic action movies ever made? Well, with All Saints Day, the mantra appears to be “play it safe, copy the first.”
It’s great that the film managed to get the original actors to reprise their roles as the brothers and their pa, however, ten years is a long, long time, and at least in Sean Patrick Flannery’s case, the man looks like a completely different person from the first film, and if you hadn’t told me it was him, I would have thought he’d been recast entirely.
Also returning are the three dipshit cops from the first movie, but you probably wouldn’t recognize them unless you had just watched the previous film that day. Subbing in for two primary roles are Clifton Collins Jr. as the “Rocco-type” and Dexter’s Julie Benz as the “Smecker-type.” It’s almost comical that the film felt the need to add in two characters meant to act exactly like their predecessors just to maintain consistency with the first film.
Because imitation is the laziest form of flattery.
But unfortunately, the film goes overboard with trying to replicate the original, to the point where it’s completely non-impressive.
The boys start killing bad guys with plans that always seem to go awry. They shop at the same weapons store where they have a slightly different set of silenced pistols. They’re joined by a comedic relief sidekick, and chased (and aided) by an eccentric FBI agent. There are shootouts full of slow motion and everyone always ends up with pennies in their eyes.
The film manages to replicate the original in almost every way, but manages to do everything a little worse. Collins Jr. is an adequate replacement for David Della Rocco, but his presence is far from necessary. Julie Benz on the other hand is one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever encountered on film, as her “dance through the motions” Smecker-type recreations of the boys’ shoot-em-up scenes only serve to detract from the action at hand. She also has an uncanny knack to stare into the camera with a look that makes me want to punch her in the face. And don’t even get me started on that “adorable” southern drawl.
The action is adequate, but in the decade that followed the original film, we all got used to slow motion fight scenes, and there’s really only one moment in the film that’s truly a wow action shot, as everything else we’ve really seen before. There are only so many ways you can shoot up a room with two pairs of silenced pistols.
Still badass, but it doesn’t quite have the same effect.
The plot is paper thin at best, as it incorporates a bit of back story on the boys’ father and serves to show how they became genetically predisposed killing machines. Part of the appeal of the first film was the attitude of “kill all the bad people,” and while that still happens here, it’s mainly just targeted at your stereotypical mafia thugs rather than the varied villains of the original. There are no ludicrous Ron-Jeremy-in-a-strip-club moments here, just rooms full of goons gunned down by a pair of incredibly accurate Irishmen.
The film ends with a painfully obvious set up for a sequel, which is almost depressing seeing how long it took this film to be made. I understand the appeal of a trilogy, and even after this lackluster showing, I’m all for it, but I honestly don’t have the energy to wait around another ten years to see. I can’t even imagine what Sean Patrick Flannery will look like by then.
All Saints Day simply relies far too heavily on the first film, and therefore almost feels like a fan-made creation rather than an actual sequel. There’s such a thing as paying “homage” your predecessors, but this movie takes that to a whole new level and there’s nary a new thought to be had in the entire affair. This isn’t Matrix Reloaded where viewing of the sequel is going to mess up your appreciation of the original, but fans will surely view this as a mere shadow of the first film, something with all the same pieces, but after ten years they’re all so warped and bent they don’t really fit together any more.
That being said, let’s bring on Boondock Saints III: The Saints Come Marching In, and let’s try to send this whole thing off with a bang.
2.5 out of 5 stars
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