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Overhyped

Posted : 11 months, 1 week ago on 16 August 2013 07:52

"The Boondock Saints" is an extremely over-hyped vigilante thriller that contains no depth beyond it's initial macho revenge fantasy, but, despite moments of painful camp, doesn't have the sense to go all the way as a comedy. It would better serve as a satire on America's obsession with Machismo posturing and the view that violence is the best way to solve problems than the self-important bloodbath it becomes.

I'm not adverse to revenge movies, even extreme ones. "Taxi Driver" featured Travis Bickle blowing away pimps and thugs, but it was more of a character study than a vigilante movie. "God Bless America" trivialized violence, but it was a satire, and a good one at that. "Dead Man's Shoes" was a powerful statement on the consequences of violence.

I don't have any problem with violence in the media at all, except when it is portrayed as an easy way to solve real-life problems. People, I cannot stress this hard enough- there are consequences to violent retaliation and vigilante justice.

If this movie had taken a closer look at the psychological effects of murder on the perpetrators, it might have earned an extra star. But Connor and Murphy MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) treat their new vocation like a new video game.

Now that I'm done beating you over the head with my Liberal values, let's talk shop- "The Boondock Saints" is the story of the McManus twins, two Irish-Catholic brothers who, after killing two Russian Mobsters in self-defense, take is as a calling from God to clean the scum out of their crime-filled Boston home town, one criminal at a time.

The way they go about this is utterly unbelievable- they just purchase a bunch of guns and knives and off they go, blasting away thugs like they came straight out of "Duke Nukem." There's no depth to the McManus boys here- they don't have a thought in their heads other than the initial need for justice in their crime-filled city.

The only character with any depth is Paul Schmeck (Willem Defoe,) an arrogant but brilliant gay cop who hates and fears his fellow homosexuals, even as they find themselves in his bed. I fear this happens far too often, when 'straight guys' find the need for man-love, but still aren't willing to take on the stigma of being 'gay.'

Initially, Schmeck wants nothing more to catch the McManus brothers, who the sympathetic masses have dubbed the 'Saints.' But as the Russian Mobsters start dropping like flies, Schmeck starts to believe that maybe the 'Saints' aren't so detrimental after all. This could be an interesting revelation, except for the way it's done, which is just silly.

Along with Schmeck's arrogant brilliance and the brother's gleeful responses to the bloodletting, a lot of hyperkinetic fight scenes proceed. I just didn't buy our protagonists as badasses, and I'm not a fan of stylized violence unless it is directed by one man- Tarantino. The Russian characters were extremely stereotypical and one of them, 'Boris' had the corniest lines.

I know I'm going to offend a lot of people with this review, but "The Boondock Saints" wasn't my cup of tea. Many people may really like it, but I felt it was a simplistic, shallow, and meaningless excursion into something we've all felt like doing (vigilantism,) but without the courage of it's convictions to make us care about it's characters. And don't even get me started about a cross-dressing Defoe passing as a woman. Just... don't.


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An average movie

Posted : 2 years, 7 months ago on 13 December 2011 12:03

It is typically one of those movies nobody saw when it came out but eventually managed to reach a pretty impressive cult status later on. So, since I kept hearing good things about this flick, I thought I should have a look to see what was all this fuss about. First of all, any movie starring Willem Dafoe should be watched, in my book, and once again, he totally rocked his performance. However, I was not really impressed by Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus. I mean, they were both all right, I guess, but I wasn't really blown away by their acting skills or their charisma. Furthermore, the action scenes were pretty neat and entertaining but, honestly, the plot was seriously pedestrian and nothing I haven't seen at least 100 times before. What many people don’t know, is that the production for this movie was actually really chaotic. Indeed, the emerging Troy Duffy became suddenly a huge megalomaniac and really messed up his relationship with his producer Harvey Weinstein. Eventually, it would take Duffy another 10 years to come up with another directing effort which would be, unsurprisingly a sequel to his cult classic. Anyway, even though I think it is rather overrated, it remains a well made and entertaining action flick and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are a fan of this genre.

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Gripping, amusing, excellent action-comedy

Posted : 4 years, 4 months ago on 19 March 2010 07:53

"Mafiosos. Gettin' caught with twenty kilos. Gettin' out on bail the same fuckin' day.
And everywhere, everyone thinks the same thing: that someone should just go kill those motherfuckers."


Shot in a month on a scant $6 million budget, The Boondock Saints was crafted by a filmmaker who knew how to provide a hell of a lot of fun on a dime. Within the shell of a black comedy, writer-director Troy Duffy has mixed gunfights, the talent of Willem Dafoe, Tarantino-esque dialogue scenes, and a vigilante tale, all of which are complemented by cheeky intelligence and rambunctious humour. Furthermore, The Boondock Saints is precisely the type of motion picture that will polarise film-watchers: casual movie-goers should gleefully appreciate the fun on offer, while serious cinephiles will likely despise its derivative nature and at times absurd stylisation. This is exemplified in the fact that the movie received a plethora of negative reviews, yet also received a strong cult following. And the cult following is for good reason - this is a gripping, amusing picture.




Before proceeding with the review, it's crucial to note that one's enjoyment of The Boondock Saints is somewhat dependent on how it's seen. The best way to view the movie is without any knowledge of the plot or any knowledge of what to expect. While this review avoids spoilers, it'd probably be best to stop reading right now if you haven't seen the film, and simply go rent it. It's worth it.


The title of The Boondock Saints refers to the Irish-born McManus brothers: Connor (Flanery) and Murphy (Reedus). The two reside in Boston, and inadvertently become heroes to the public when, in self-defence, they kill a few small-time hoods from the Russian mob. They turn themselves into the local police, but are released without charge after submitting a statement. Realising their actions may prove beneficial for the city, the brothers become vigilantes and begin killing off the city's less desirable element. Hot on their trail is intelligent, flamboyant FBI agent Paul Smecker (Dafoe). But the closer Smecker grows to catching the now-legendary Boston saints, the more he wonders whether their actions are a work of crime or an act of justice.


Strangely, the film's plot is not unlike The Blues Brothers, with the McManus brothers embarking on their mission to slaughter gangsters because they hear a call from God. Added to this, the formula is rather similar to The Blues Brothers: some violence here, a catchy tune there.




One of the most successful straight-to-video releases in history, The Boondock Saints suffered a lot of trouble during its hard, long road to the racks of your local Blockbuster. Troy Duffy's debut was originally planned as a theatrical feature, but nearly collapsed several times before the movie even reached the production stage. Some attribute this to Duffy's inflated ego, while others say the Weinstein Company and Miramax simply dropped the ball. An account of the sordid behind-the-scenes troubles was told in Overnight; a documentary by filmmakers Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana. But no matter whose side you're on, The Boondock Saints was eventually brought to fruition, and most of the cast and crew walked away happy. While the theatrical release was an utter disaster, the low-budget flick made plenty of waves upon its video release in 2000.


What truly allows The Boondock Saints to work is that the McManus brothers are a compelling, interesting pair of anti-heroes. Additionally, the movie taps into our secret desire for vigilantism. Who hasn't thought of how terrific it would be to mow down gangsters in a rain of machine gun bullets? Would anyone grieve the death of murderers? Out of all the aspects that make the film great, the structure is one of the most prominent: crime scenes are shown after-the-fact before a flashback reveals how the killing went down. Another asset is that The Boondock Saints is chock full of hilarious, quotable dialogue. It has its fair share of cartoonish, gratuitous violence as well (including a scene in which a cat is blown to bits by a misfired gunshot), but it's all in good fun. Unfortunately, Troy Duffy never directed or wrote another movie since The Boondock Saints until a decade later, when the film's sequel finally got off the ground.




Playing the McManus brothers, Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus are an impeccable duo, and share an extremely convincing camaraderie. They feel like brothers, look like brothers, and act like brothers. They're wonderful foils for one another as well, with Flanery as the even-tempered brother and Reedus as the gallivanting hot-head. However it's Willem Dafoe who steals the show as the gay yet masculine FBI investigator; a rigid bloke who listens to classical music at his crime scenes, and disperses cracking one-liners towards those around him.
In the supporting cast, David Della Rocco is simply hysterical as "The Funny Man", otherwise known as Rocco. Duffy named the role after the actor because it was written and tailored specifically for him. Well-known comedian Billy Connolly even appears in a supporting role as a badass, aging hitman.


For every bucket of blood spilled, The Boondock Saints offers a pinch of brains. In this way, the film is rather akin to 2008's In Bruges, as it illustrates a human bond between lethal individuals with a mind for decency. Vigilantism seems to get off a bit easy here, but Duffy adds in as much absurdity, hilarity and iconic posturing for the McManus brothers as he can to alleviate the tone. Interestingly, while The Boondock Saints is criticised for being blatantly unoriginal, the fusion of so many unoriginal elements in turn makes it an original creation. The plot is a cross between Death Wish and The Blues Brothers, while the style - particularly in the dialogue - mirrors Quentin Tarantino flicks. This mix is indeed original. It's fresh blood in the action genre. Overflowing with exciting gunfights and quotable tongue-in-cheek dialogue, The Boondock Saints is highly enjoyable, to say the least, and it's doubtful you'll want to ponder the film's moral standpoint when it provides such an easy-going, fun 100 minutes.

8.9/10



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The Best

Posted : 4 years, 9 months ago on 12 October 2009 05:11

Very few movies are written, acted, and directed so sharply. Troy Duffy takes the lid off of our nations laws, and its apparent futility in modern times. I watched the film in Cultural Studies in high school, as an example of how media effects our society. The opening moments don't prepare you for what comes up next and even though the action is quite bloody, there's a morbid sense of humor running throughout. The fact that a squimish girl can laugh herself out of a chair during this movie says alot about Duffy as a writter/director. And still, there is a sense of tragic beauty underlying much of the action.

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He left me his c-c-c... He left me his c-c-c...

Posted : 5 years ago on 20 July 2009 03:52

... Oh, he fucking gave me this. Fuck! Ass!
Violent, trigger happy, full of beer; and most of all entertaining! Two brothers wage war on the entire Russian mob after two thugs representing Russia attempt to kill them as the result of extortion goes wrong. Leaving the bar and heading straight to the hospital is the last way Ivan Chekov saw his plan to control the bar would go, and never saw the toilet coming from the 5th floor; Where you going? Fucking Nowhere! Realizing it won't stop withthe Russians after the death of these two thugs; the McManus arm themselves and go on a bloody rampage to cut down the entire mob with extreme prejiduce. O, do they ever! Bringing that many pennies to a soon to be shot out scene ensures that they know how many bodies they will make cold. I really enjoyed the lead detective Paul Smecker's (william Dafoe) views of the crimes, and scenes of reinactment where he is along side of the two assailants while the shots are being fired or in the middle of a shootout conducting the music being played as rounds disperse towards the enemy. The cleaner of filth in their southern Boston turf; these fraternal twins are applauded and cheered on by their peirs and neighbors as well as deep in the mind of the detective. Should he be looking to capture and prosecute killers who are ridding their town of scum and filth that inhabit it? What an Awesome Movie!

Doc: You know what they say: People in glass houses sink sh-sh-ships.
Rocco: Doc, I gotta buy you, like, a proverb book or something. This mix'n'match shit's gotta go.
Doc: What?
Connor: A penny saved is worth two in the bush, isn't it?
Murphy: And don't cross the road if you can't get out of the kitchen.

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