Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Day

Troy Duffy, you magnificent bastard! In fact, I'm almost tempted to call you an Inglourious Basterd- that is, if the Troy Duffy we saw in highly entertaining Overnight was the real you- an Inglourious Basterd who took himself out in an amazing blaze of glory whilst leaving his indelible mark on (movie) history.

But we'll stick with magnificent. I have been cautiously awaiting Boondock Saints 2 ever since whispers of it were heard on the internet, following closely on the heels if the underground success of Duffy's first film, an action masterpiece. I don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't like Boondock Saints. If you didn't like it, you're obviously a jerk.

So with the massive cult popularity of his first movie, it is understandable that I had a slight degree of trepidation regarding the follow-up. Would Duffy's (allegedly) massive ego get in the way of what should be a fantastic sequel? Would the 10 years (holy shit! Has it really been 10 years?!?) that have passed weaken the integrity of the story?

Fortunately, the movie was effing brilliant. It opened a bit strangely, but didn't take long to find it's footing and re-ignite the amazing dynamic of the McManus brothers.

I will admit, there were a few moments in the first couple reels that made me worry that Troy was going to stray from the path of success that should be inevitable, given the characters and material he left himself to work with. A few instances where it seemed he was trying too hard to recapture his original glory. It's a fine line between recreating brilliance, and stumbling over a too-conscious effort to try and recreate it.

And Troy definitely stumbled a couple times, with groan-inducing lines that were (in my opinion) too calculated, too "Hey, this will be clever!" And painfully obvious re-hashes of things from his first film. Luckily, after these minor bumps in the road, he seemed to stop trying too hard and just let himself be Troy, writer and director of kick-ass Irish shoot 'em ups.

Never was his brilliance more evident than in the words and actions of the brothers themselves. And although this could just as easily be a testament to the acting abilities of Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery, you have to think that Troy- as writer/director/ creator of the insanely cool McManus brothers- had just as much to do with that.

Fans of the original will be greeted with a few familiar faces, and be introduced to some new ones- one of whom I originally thought fell into the 'trying too hard to draw on the first movie' category, but this character quickly smoothed out and hit their stride. Another new character went the opposite direction- too much of a caricature- before settling into a believable and welcomed addition to the franchise.

There are a few surprises, especially regarding some of the old familiar faces. But not bad surprises. Not like he intentionally made "surprising" choices for what happens. Everything that transpires feels natural and fitting for the universe that the McManus brothers inhabit, which isn't to say that it's all welcomed; just entirely plausible.

I almost felt that a bit of backstory that shows up felt forced, like Duffy shoe-horned it in just for the sake of over-complicating the story. But that too developed into a fitting and enjoyable arc that really complemented the movie.

The writing- except for the (thankfully) few instances where Duffy is clearly trying to hard to be Troy Duffy, is tight and well done. Again, the brothers themsleves are pitch-perfect when compared to the first movie. Most of the nods to the original are fun and clever. And on top of all that, Duffy really shows his directing chops with a hell of a lot of visual style that he injects throughout the movie.

Bottom line- holy shit, it was surprisingly awesome! I mean, I was hoping- if not expecting, given the trepidation mentioned above- that this would be good. But it was fucking AWESOME!

Go see this movie right now. Unless you haven't seen Zombieland yet, in which case what the fuck is your problem??? I thought we already talked about that? But as soon as you see Zombieland, go see Boondock Saints 2.

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