The Boondock Saints (2000)

I’m Figuring Some Shit Out Here

In order to continue my wicked awesome string of Boston/Massachusetts movies, I decided to review a movie that is wicked Boston that was requested by my friend and coworker Captain Hook, wicked lovah of all things hookah.  The problem with reviewing this movie stems from the fact that it’s wicked populah, and that I’ve already seen this movie twice and didn’t think much of it.  It’s so populah that I purchased the movie based on the raving reviews that friends had given me for it, but still never saw anything special to this movie.  And, according to the reviews I’ve seen for this movie, I seem to agree not with the general population that gave it 93% good reviews, but with the professional critics that gave it a measly 17%.  And that makes me a professional critic!  So, when I sat down to watch this movie for the third time (remembering next to nothing from my previous viewings), I decided to try to pay special attention and try to figure out how this movie got so wicked populah.  Let’s see what happened in my review of The Boondock Saints, written and directed by Troy Duffy, and starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Willem Dafoe, David Della Rocco, Billy Connolly, Bob Marley (not that Bob Marley, apparently), David Ferry, Brian Mahoney, Carlo Rota, and Ron Jeremy.  And yes, I will stop affecting that accent.

Two Irish stereotypes, Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy McManus (Norman Reedus), get into a bar brawl with three Russian mobster stereotypes which winds up with two of the mobsters dead.  FBI Special Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) is called in to investigate.  Despite the Boston cop stereotypes surrounding him, he is able to figure out exactly what happened.  Connor and Murphy turn themselves in and are let off, the deaths being ruled self-defense.  The two brothers mistake water falling on their faces for a message from God that they should be killing evil-doers.  With the help of their friend, errand boy for the Italian mob stereotypes Rocco (David Della Rocco), they set off to kill anyone that does naughty things, with Smecker ever on their heels.

It’s official: I still don’t get it.  I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, but I don’t know why anyone pays this any special type of attention.  It’s roughly the same quality as any other dumb action movie.  It’s fun while it lasts, but it’s instantly forgettable.  The story is subpar vigilante fare.  There’s no real good reason that these guys decide to start killing people; they just get hit in the head with some water while remembering a sermon they heard earlier and decide God talked to them.  It’s roughly on par with Bill Paxton seeing a bowling trophy sparkle and thinking that God was saying they should kill people.  I want to say to anyone that thinks God is talking to them: he probably doesn’t want you to kill people.  I haven’t spoken to God and am only basing that on that thing in that book he told some dudes to write, but I think it’s the safest thing to assume.  After the revelation that they should become vigilantes, that’s all the movie is.  Two, three, or four guys going places and shooting bad people.  The more interesting stuff in the movie all involved Smecker.  They weren’t that much more interesting as just a really good detective figuring out what happened in each scene, but it was slightly more interesting.  One of them had an interesting bit of cinematography when Smecker was describing the scene from inside the scene, but this only happened once.  The movie begins and ends with some pointless jargon running through the credits.  The opening credits show a bunch of random scenes involving the two brothers, but had nothing in them we needed to see and I felt they just wasted my time.  The end credits had scenes of people being interviewed about what they thought about what the Saints were doing, which I also didn’t need to see.  The ending credit ones seemed to be showing the mixed viewpoints on how people would feel about real vigilante’s, perhaps to attempt to add a message about whether it’d be right or wrong to kill bad people, but the movie itself doesn’t take that standpoint, so why bother?  The movie is only about the brothers being beloved for what they’re doing.  So much so that even the best cop on the force sides with what they’re doing.  Generally a dumb action movie would replace good writing with good action, but that’s not really here either.  Most of the action is broken up with scenes of Smecker talking about the action, and the rest of it is not much more spectacular than two guys standing in one place and firing bullets at people.  Those people die.  The end.  So you’ve got an interesting idea but poor writing, mediocre action, and a lot of time wasting, so what do you get?  Apparently, a cult hit.

The performances are fine enough, but I’d say the characters are all poorly written.  There’s one character in this movie that isn’t just a stereotype given physical form.  Not in an offensive way or anything, just in a one dimensional way.  Both Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus played their parts well, but they were written very one dimensionally.  David Della Rocco didn’t play much on the Italian stereotype, but he still only had the one, uber-manic character trait to him.  And he got pretty annoying.  Billy Connolly had what I assumed would’ve been an interesting character, but they couldn’t allow those shenanigans so they didn’t put him in the movie very much.  Willem Dafoe’s character was the only one I found that interesting.  He was gay, but not stereotypically so.  He even calls the guy he wakes up with a fag for wanting to cuddle.  He was the classic “best cop on the force” but had the whole gay thing going on as well, and was conflicted about his feelings on the Saints.  I also think he made a pretty convincing woman.  Not a “pretty” woman, but a convincing one!

Statistically, the greater majority of people will probably disagree with me when I say I don’t care for this movie.  It’s not painful to watch or even bad, but it’s poorly written with most of the characters having only one dimension to their character, the action is nothing special, but the performances are mostly good.  If you’re really into vigilantes, or just really into Jesus telling people to kill other people, maybe you’ll like it.  I personally require either a good story or cool action from my movies, and perhaps even a combination of both.  Without those, this movie’s okay, but forgettable.  Boondock Saints gets “It is your corrupt we claim” out of “Hey fuck-ass.  Gimme a beer.”

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