The Boondock Saints (1999): Breakdown by Rantbo
Two brothers, a mafia errand-boy, a gay FBI agent and an old man kill “bad” people to make the world a better place.
A tale of loss, heartbreak, brotherhood and the dual .44 driven journey of revenge and redemption that puts it all into a masterful perspective. But enough about A BETTER TOMORROW.
Criminal scum have overflowed the city streets and begun pouring into the businesses and homes of hardworking, blue collar Americans, spurring an act of inexcusable violence against a respectable family. The ramifications of which lead the affected down a questionable road of vengeance-fueled vigilantism and straight into the heart of darkness. Man—DEATH WISH was a great movie… I digress—what the fuck am I reviewing?—Oh yeah, that late 90s cult phenom’ that spawned a 1000—wait, why was this so popular again?
A mash-up of several classic action/thriller stories told through a want-to-be ‘Tarantino-esque’ mix-matched narrative, THE BOONDOCK SAINTS is everything I mentioned above, only written and directed through the visionary lens of a giant douche-bag. And the quality of the picture reflects as such.
After learning that their favorite shithole pub is desired by the Russian mob for some ill-explained reason, a couple of local, Irish hoodies, the MacManus Brothers, snap like a string of prayer beads and decide to wage a holy war against all those they deem to be evil. Though the reasoning behind such madness, is far from the understandable and justifiable reasons of say, Paul Kersey’s vigilantism, as the Brothers MacManus find justification and righteousness in their “work” due to a drunken vision of religious insight. And rather than waiting for evil to be done before them, they actively seek it out Punisher style, and through the suggestions of a rambling motorhead. In short, they are a pair of conservative wet-dream nutbars who get off on shooting people after drinking too much Guinness and Pepsi. So SAINTS is essentially a comedy.
Though I have fond teenage memories of this film, my view has since become skewed (read: straightened out) in subsequent years as my taste and knowledge of the action genre has become honed. Yet despite knowing this puts me in league with director Troy Duffy’s legion of die-hard douchie frat-fans, I still find myself masochistically entertained by the film’s exploitative awfulness. However, I do take comfort in the fact that I’m still a farcry from the sorry jackoffs that sport Duffy’s merch or worse, actually inked his rhetoric into their skin for eternity. One can only hope these poor souls will someday be blessed with a hind-sight bitch slap and a harsh lesson will have been learned.
All right, so maybe I’ve been a bit harsh. Allow me to take off the cloak of sarcasm for a moment and say some things I liked about it. While the main characters are quite one-dimensional and hard to like, SAINTS does feature Ron Jeremy as a perverted (big stretch) “Italian” mob enforcer and comedian Billy Connelly as a spooky enigmatic hitman that despite the fact he can’t shoot for shit, makes for a great supporting character. Not to mention the classic performances by David Della Rocco and Willem Dafoe. But more on them later. The action scenes (at least the ones on the Unrated Version) are quite well shot and even though they have blood flying through the air like streamers, are quite light-hearted and over-the-top funny—in a good way. And who doesn’t like watching a motley crew of crazed assholes shooting one another in the name of God and family?
I guess what I’m saying is, even though I no longer think of BOONDOCK as a great movie, I can still understand why the late-teen, early-twenties crowd of film-watchers find it so endearing. Drinking, killing, Irish Catholic zealotry and jokes about lesbians, gay sex and niggers… What more could a young American male ask for? As for myself, watching this nearly 10 years after my first viewing, I still find it to be strangely enthralling. Just not in the same way it used to be to me. So while SAINTS doesn’t even come close to being as good as the films that inspired Troy Duffy to crawl out from under his barstool and onto his own penis, it still has enough B-Movie charm, fun characters and violent acts of bat-shit insanity to make for a crappy-fun cult movie. Whether I’m tearing it apart viciously with my pals or just dumbing down my entertainment for the evening, THE BOONDOCK SAINTS is a bad flick that still makes for good times.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery are Murphy and Conner MacManus
Since the brothers are practically interchangeable, with their almost complete lack of individual characteristics and behavior, I’ve decided to lump them both together for brevity’s sake.
First, the brothers actually believe that they are messengers chosen by God to deliver his wrath toward the wicked. So—they’re insane. Second, they’re boozing, smoking, cursing, fundy, lowlife, scumbag stereotypes that are to Irish Americans like Larry The Cable Guy is to white trash. So—they’re ironically funny in that this goes unnoticed by their dimwitted fanbase. Finally, they are self-righteous serial killers who mask their bloodlust with delusions of divine instruction, when in reality they’re just two drunkards pissed off their favorite bar is being bullied by some Russian thugs. So—they’re sociopaths.
Let’s recap. The MacManus Bros. are psychotic, alcoholic, vigilante killers who are unintentionally hilarious as they mock the very people they claim to be true and dear to… So yeah, I guess they’re kinda badass.
David Della Rocco is David Della Rocco a.k.a. ‘Roc’ a.k.a. The Funny Man
Rocco is a mafia errand boy and number runner during the day, best friend and aid to the Saints on the weekends. Mix together some child-like wonder with a willingness to please, add in a foul mouth, a trunk full of narcotics and a pinch of uncontrollable rage and you have yourself a “Funny Man.” Rocco is that one friend in every circle whose lack of tact, intelligence and talent are surpassed and forgiven by his canine-like loyalty, good heart and his ability to effortlessly and energetically entertain. And it is for these reasons that Rocco has remained unchanged through all of my viewings, in that he is and will always be my favorite character of this franchise.
Willem Dafoe is Agent Paul Smecker: F.B.I. Organized Crime Task Force
So one might initially question why Willem Dafoe would lower himself to such pulpy trash as this. But then one might also remember a little film called SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL and it all might start to make sense. Dafoe is insane. But, he’s also a great actor. And by gracing this film with his quirkiness, he single-handedly lends it credibility and flair as a flamboyant, eccentric and borderline genius F.B.I. agent. Smecker spends the film solving and reenacting the scenes of the Brothers’ vigilante crimes, and in doing so, represents the audience perfectly by mixing his initial feelings of wonder and amusement at the idea behind the acts of violence, with confusion and outrage as to just how stupid the scenarios in which they all ended up taking place.
“Television is the explanation for this. You see this in BAD television! That James Bond shit never happens in real life!”
So essentially, Smecker—is me (only slightly different as he ends up taking the Brother’s side and I’m not a cross-dressing lunatic), and since I am of course Bad-Ass, so is Paul. Don’t dispute me.
[THE BODY COUNT: 34]
In total, 33 souls are delivered straight to Satan’s doorstep, via the Saints and their cohorts. While most met their end by high-speed lead tearing through their vital organs, the MacManus Bros. do manage to score a unique novelty double-kill by dropping a toilet onto the head of a Russian mobster, then bashing his partner’s head in with the un-shattered lid.
I can honestly say, I’ve never seen that done before.* As for the one unaccounted-for kill, it’s kind-of a spoiler, but the death is done in much the same run-of-the-mill shooting as the all the rest.
Check out the Body Count Breakdown for full details.
*TRUE ROMANCE doesn’t count. Gandolfini dies from a shotgun blast.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
See the Epic Moment Section.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Well Smecker’s clearly gay. And what a manly gay he is. Numerous times throughout the film, he chastises other gay men for being “Fairies” and for acting like a “Fag”. But in doing this, he pretty much takes all the fun out of the action genre’s gay-subtext by being so openly assertive about his sexual preference and prowess. Thankfully, this is one of the few things Duffy seems to have really understood, as he also gave us the two main characters…
As far as the Brother’s go, these two characters would seriously be better suited for literotica than a film screenplay. What with their willingness (read: eagerness) to appear naked in front of one another and their minimalist wants and needs of just one another’s company, alcohol and cigarettes. Not once is the subject of wanton sex or female companionship brought up between, around or by these men. No sir, they have each other and that is ALL they require.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Conner: …basically, the rule of thumb here is…
Lesbian Bull: WAIT. Rule of thumb? In the early 1900s it was legal for men to beat their wives, as long as they used a stick no wider than their thumb.
Conner [holding up his thumb]: Can’t do much damage with that now, can we? Perhaps it should have been the Rule Of Wrist?
Other than the incredibly awkward and unnecessary opening credits scene featuring the above act, this film also displays women, not only as man-hating dikes, but also as drugged-out sluts. And these are the ones suitable for companionship. There is also the poor nudie-booth dancer that is held at gunpoint, who later gets molested by Rocco, after passing out from terror.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Rocco Nails Some Pussy
[flashvideo filename=videos/RoccoKillsPussy.wmv.FLV&image=wp-content/uploads/2010/01/RoccoFirst.jpg /]
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
For all the reasons that Troy Duffy is an asshole, I can think of none greater than the fact that he knows little about the films he’s ripping off. Case in point: Charlie Bronson NEVER used no fuckin’ rope.
[THE CHECKLIST: 19 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation*
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[X] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
*Riding on another man’s shoulders… I’ll count it.
The Boondock Saints (1999) © Indican Pictures, Franchise Pictures and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment