Even more unstoppable than the Brothers MacManus -- the mob-busting Irish-American vigilantes of The Boondock Saints fame -- is The Boondock Saints itself.
This was a movie that suffered from studio politics and a post-Columbine backlash, opened in fewer theatres than you have fingers, and yet has spent the past decade as one of the most enduringly popular movies on DVD, courtesy of the college crowd and virtually every one of my teenage son's friends.
Director Troy Duffy may not have invented the genre of cartoonish gangsterism (for that matter, neither did Quentin Tarantino), but he has clearly been paying attention to how the genre has evolved with films such as Crank, Transporter and even Smokin' Aces.
With 10 years in the doghouse to think about it, Duffy opted for more of the same -- only louder and more violent, with the odd nod to Three Stooges-level humour and some camp casting (Judd Nelson as a mob boss! Trailer Park Boys' Ricky as his assistant!).
He doesn't fall into the trap of trying to explain everything for newbies. Of course, there really wasn't much to explain to begin with.
As the movie opens, the crime-busters Connor and Murphy MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) are somewhere herding sheep in Ireland on horseback, wearing Grizzly Adams beards and living with Poppa M (Billy Connolly).
Suddenly word comes back of their parish priest back in Boston having been executed in the trademark style of our boys -- two bullets in the back of the head and pennies on the eyes.
Since this sets the media speculating on the Saints' return, they fulfill the buzz by getting on the first ship home -- accompanied by a Mexican boxer (Clifton Collins Jr.) who appoints himself their dumb sidekick (Sample patter: "This ain't rocket surgery").
There's also a reunion with dumbass detectives Greenly, Duffy and Dolly (Bob Marley, Brian Mahoney and David Ferry), whose new boss is Eunice Bloom (Dexter's Julie Benz), an FBI agent in 'f--- me' pumps, who is introduced in a prolonged shot of her legs moving slinkily across the room. ( "I'm so f---ing smart, I make smart people feel stupid!" she warns the befuddled detectives by way of introduction).
She's the first important female character in the series, so it's important to show Duffy isn't going all feminist on us.
You can't call Duffy's film style original. But he's clever in what he steals. For example, Agent Bloom's verbal re-creations of events are stylistically dramatized a la House or CSI.
But mainly, what there is is a lot of gratuitous violence -- just what the fans ordered. There's all-out war with Concezio Yakavetta (Nelson, overacting as if his life depended on it), the son of the mobster they executed in Boondock 1. And there's an escalation with a shadowy criminal known only as The Roman.
Indeed, there seem to be twice as many plot turns in the sequel than the original, but following them seems optional, all things considered.
(This film is rated 14-A)
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