So after giving a good review of the Boondock Saints, it stands to reason that I should also look at the cult classic’s successor Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day. Seeing as how I loved the first film so much, the question is how much do I like the second one? Well… Not so much… Actually I really don’t like it at all. Whenever I watch this movie, I cannot help but get the feeling that this is what the critics felt whenever they saw the first film and gave it its poor scores. But I think for a movie like Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day the film is doomed from the start to be a failure. So why is that? Well before we get into the movie itself I want to talk about two other parts of the filming world that attributed it to being the failure that it became. Those are the realms of ‘sequels’ and ‘cult classics’.
A cult classic by its very definition is a film ‘that has acquired a following from a specific sub genre of fans and MAY gain fame from the mainstream audience.’ A cult classic in my opinion is the equivalent of hitting a grand slam in baseball. It is a film that is a ‘perfect storm’ of everything going 120% right. You have the right cast of characters, the right director, the right music, the right writers, the right caterers, the right editing, hell even the right placement of the sofa in scene 5. EVERYTHING is right and it hits a chord with people that they themselves didn’t even know that they needed that they needed. To take away one piece of the puzzle is like to remove the face of the Mona Lisa. The whole purpose and concept of the film becomes a complete and utter disaster.
Imagine for a moment that someone other than Tim Curry played Dr. Frankenfurter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Could it have been successful… Maybe but it would be NOWHERE near the level of popularity that it is now. Just imagine taking away Ash Williams’ chainsaw hand in The Evil Dead franchise. Bruce Campbell would just be some random actor with an impressively large chin. Remove the “OH MY GOD!” Line from Troll II and nobody would even know it existed.
Cult classics are a perfectly constructed upside down pyramid. Remove one block and the whole thing comes toppling down. The Boondock Saints is no exception to this rule. Remove Reedus or Flanery from the roll, take away their relationship to Il Duce, remove Willem Dafoe (we will get there), and the whole thing goes from being a beloved film to a morbid disaster. It is a perfect storm of awesome that cannot be duplicated… Now let’s talk about attempting to duplicate it.
We all know them. They are a pure product of our own desires and Hollywood’s willingness to pander to our desire as long as we throw money at them. I do not believe I need to define a sequel but I’ll quickly sum it up as a continuing of the narrative of a previously released story. Sequels in cinema are a way to take a successful concept and drive it into the ground for the sake of making cash. And in truth we are responsible for this. All of you Highlander fans out there love the first movie. Trust me I know, I adore the first movie. But we adore things so much that we want to see more… Then we get Highlander 2: The Quickening. Instead of Hollywood continuing the narrative most of the time it resets the clock and gives people what they want.
For example, those who loved Donkey in the first Shrek movie get more Donkey in the sequels, those who love the Ken Jeong character in The Hangover get a whole lot more of him in the sequel. They so willing to pander to our desires that they lose sight of the original idea that spawned it to the point that you have the direct to DVD monster violently raping your once beloved film.
Now I want you to take a step back and think about what I just said about the cult classic… It is a perfect storm of awesome that cannot be duplicated. A sequel is an attempt to continue the narrative. Thus you have a cinema area that is destined to fail NO MATTER WHAT.
It is inevitable. To take away one aspect of a film like the Boondock Saints ruins the film. But if you are making a sequel you cannot make an exact replica of the film. So you are stuck making a film for a film that is impossible to capture the magic that the other film originally created.
Just imagine for a second if they made a sequel to the Big Lebowski, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Donnie Darko, or The Goonies. You want proof? Just remember Caddyshack 2 or the remake of the Wicker Man with Nicholas Cage. You have caught lightning in a bottle. But you simply aren’t going to do it twice. Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day is no exception.
But after that rant let’s take a look at this film and see just how it fails.
Before I get into the suckage of it, I would like to talk about the few pros that film does have. As a matter of fact, if you want to know the pros to this film… Just read my review of the Boondock Saints. I’m serious all the pros of the first film are my pros of this one, just in a much more dumbed down since. The brothers chemistry, the vigilante justice, and so on and so forth. That is about it.
Oh boy… Where do I start? How about the whole premise?! One of the BIG things that made the first movie so likable was the mere idea of two regular guys. Average Joes rising to the occasion and taking it to the people that terrorize the streets. We see in so many movies and real life people fighting organized crime. Then we here how they have corrupted the people who are suppose to fight them and the idea that they really can never face justice due to the fact that they have thrown enough money at the law to make them untouchable. Then let’s not even get into the judicial process and the possibility of intimidating jury and bribing judges.
The first film was about two guys who were uncorruptible and killed the mobsters that terrorized others. They stuck by a strict (all be it vaguely described) moral code. You were fine as long as you didn’t cross them. But if you did you were going to die, no pleading, no bribing, no discussing, you were dead.
But this does not happen in the second film… Well okay it did to an extent but let me explain. By the time of the second film the MacManus family is well known vigilantes who have gone into hiding from the law after publicly executing various mobsters. Well after time in hiding they are informed that a well known priest has been assassinated and they have been framed for it. They then come out of hiding and return to Boston to find the person that framed them and killed the beloved priest… Do you see where they fucked up?
This is no longer about the MacManus Brothers teaching mobsters a lesson with a pocket full of shells. The film is now a personal vendetta and a crusade to clear the Saints names. This might be deemed a ‘little thing’, many will argue that it still stars the Brothers kicking ass… But it isn’t! It changes the whole premise. Granted Yakvetta’s son, played by Judd where the fuck did they find him Nelson and Ottillo Ponza played by Daniel DeSanto from Are you Afraid of the Dark? fame (seriously he is so obscure he is borderline hipster) would have ended up on the MacManus brothers shit list anyways. But because they were framed, it is now the MacManus brothers seeking revenge for being framed for a crime they didn’t commit. The main reason why the movie is popular and it isn’t the central focus of the film.
So already your premise is different from the original, the brick has been pulled and your cult classic perfect pyramid is tumbling. But why stop there? Even though the premise isn’t the same I can see how people could twist it to fit it if they tried hard enough.
However there is two large gaping holes in the sequel that ultimately brings the film down. Remember what I said really made the first film wonderful? The chemistry between the MacManus Brothers, Smecker, and Rocco as well as quotability and memorability on the part of Willem Dafoe. Well sadly David Della Rocco and Willem Dafoe are not in this movie. WAIT!!!!!!!! For anyone who has seen the film I KNOW you are going to bring up that yes, they both do in fact ‘appear’. Dafoe does appear in the end and Rocco does appear in a dream but by and large the two characters have been replaced by two new characters a young Mexican fighter named Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.) and FBI Special Agent and Smecker’s protegee Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz)
Now I am going to say I am sorry to Collins and Benz here. Both of them tried their hardest to fit into their roles, you can especially see it from Benz in her scenes. But at the end of the day Collins is not David Della Rocco and Benz is not Willem Dafoe. Benz isn’t in the same league as Willem Dafoe. In order to even compete with Dafoe in his insane crazy great roll as Smecker we would have to create a crazed cloan baby of William Shatner, Chris Farley, and Nicholas Cage put together… And even that might be a stretch.
Without Smecker’s completely over-the-top interpretation of the assassinations done by the MacManus Brothers and the fact that the MacManus Brothers sidekick is nothing more than ‘latino guy’ it really brings the whole film down to where the first one was suppose to be. Without Rocco and Smecker the film is simply gutted and left on the table.
Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day is little more than a cash in to make money on the films growing popularity. It makes the attempt to bring the same energy as the first film but ultimately like most sequels it falls flat on its face.
Like the first film the cinematography is clunky, the acting is stale, the pacing is off. It is just a bad film and without the chemistry and personalities of the first film it has very few redeemable qualities.
I have heard rumors that they are going to make a Boondock Saints III and god I hope not. The 63% approval on Rotten Tomatoes from users who previously gave the first film a 93% should be proof positive that this particular well has run dry and nothing else good can come from the film.
Final Score: 1.5/5
Well that concludes another review. If you enjoyed my article then please like and subscribe for more reviews.
Next time I think I am going to steer clear of cinema and take a shot at something new. Please keep checking out the blog if you want to see more.