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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (review)

Depraved Incompetence

If I didn’t know better, I’d have guessed, merely from the title alone, that The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day was meant to be some sort of attempt at parody. I mean, really: All Saints Day? It’s like one of those horror movies that attempts to shoehorn a mass killing into a random holiday not generally known for mayhem.
And then, the first few minutes of the film don’t do much to allay the suspicion that this is all a big joke. Our dubious heroes, Connor and Murphy MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery [Kiss the Bride] and Norman Reedus [8MM]) are hiding out from the ten-years-ago killing spree they went on in Boston in The Boondock Saints by — *snort* — working as shepherds in rural Ireland and — *SNORT* — by cultivating some of the most hilariously awful hair in the history of cinema:

I kept expecting one of them to grumble, in a Monty Python Michael Palin hermit voice, “It’s…” to usher us into an opening credits sequence animated by Terry Gilliam. Though even just grumbling that in their terrible Irish accents would have been funny enough.

But no: it gets even better. The lads learn that someone back in Boston has killed a priest — a priest! — and made it look like they did it, so vengeance has to be theirs… again. They chop off the hair and engage in some of the most hilariously gratuitous nudity ever filmed as they shower off the dirt of Ireland. All the while, Billy Connolly (The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties), as their father-slash-vicious hitman, plays a demented hobbit who spouts some of the most hilariously nonsensical faux philosophical bullshit ever committed to film, such as, “Peace, they say, is the enemy of memory,” which I bet writer-director Troy Duffy assembled using a box of magnetic poetry.

Now, mind you, this is all in the first ten minutes of the film (much of which you can watch at IGN). There’s still another hour and 50 minutes to go.

Alas, however, after the brothers get mixed up in a fight club on the way home to Boston — they travel, all subterfuge like, on a cargo ship, where they meet poor Clifton Collins Jr. (Extract, Crank: High Voltage), who is here forced to play the “comic” Mexican sidekick Romeo — the humor comes to an abrupt end. Unless you count Duffy’s smug self-satisfaction and willingness to lean out of the screen and fellate his audience as funny. I found it riotously awful and simultaneously vile, this orgy of sexualized violence with no point except to give itself something to jerk off to. Best/worst moment: One of the endless gun battles the MacManuses get themselves into gets replayed in slow motion, in case you lost your boner over it too quickly and need some fluffing.

Is it funny, too, that a movie could be so depraved, so vicious, so revoltingly antisocial — the Keystone Kops of Boston are as vigilante-bad as the MacManuses, so we might as well just throw any semblance of law and order out the window — and also so incompetent? There isn’t a moment here that is not a visual cliché, from the “is she in a rock video?” entrance of FBI special agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz: Rambo, Taken) — six-inch dominatrix heels are so practical at crime scenes — to every single phallic display of a gun being, er, cocked and shot off.

The script, too, cannot wait to regale you with jokes about excrement and prison rape, and with fantasies about bloodshed and “righteous” violence (because as long as a killer carries rosary beads and believes he’s doing God’s work, it’s all good, apparently). Because, you see, this is what being a real man is all about. Real men eat red meat. Real men joke about rape. Real men don’t talk about their feelings, they express their emotion via guns.

That’s not my interpretation of what Duffy is saying: he actually says it. After an hour and 45 minutes of unmistakable, not-even–metaphoric depictions of what he thinks a real man is, he stops what little forward momentum the “story” has for a bizarre, dream-sequence aside to have a character spell it out for you. In case you were too stupid to get it, perhaps.

In any event, it’s sort of hard to get too worked up about All Saints Day because, as much as Duffy is clearly in love with himself, even he’s sure that he’s so unconvincing that he needs to underline it all.

It’s still a foickin’ piece of shite, though.


MPAA: rated R for bloody violence, language and some nudity

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine

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