Boston, the birthplace of prejudice. Setting for great movies such as; The Fighter, The Town, Rounders, Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, and The Departed. What do all these movies have in common? No, not Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. (Although, 5 out of 8 do!)
They are all include to some degree the “Boston Trifecta” = crooked cops, immigrant gangsters, and loud, unattractive women that pronounce “ar” as “ah” That seems to be Boston’s M.O. But, before Affleck and Damon exposed Bostonians to the world as the racist, ignorant, mispronouncing thugs we apparently are, there was only one widely-known movie that embellished the setting of this city, and that was the Boondock Saints.
I could never understand the popularity of this film. Being from the area, I always figured it was strictly a regional cult classic, primarily because it WAS the only Boston movie we could think of. I never imagined anyone outside of New England had even heard of this movie. That was until Hollywood blew my mind, and made a sequel (that I have yet to see).
Now bear with me as I blow YOUR mind, despite what Affleck has taught you I do NOT know how to hot wire a car, I do not have a pregnant crackhead in my life (anymore), and I never ran numbers while growing up for an Irish, Russian, or Italian Syndicate. Oh, and I CAN pronounce an “r”, albeit not as graceful as you, but definitely nothing like Jack Nicholson’s hack job of an accent that ruined The Departed.
“Now, What can I use you fah?” How ’bout some speech therapy?
It seems Hollywood has made it a mission to make the Boston accent more overused and annoying than a drunk sophmore on New Years Eve.
“Please stop. You’re ruining my son’s bar mitzvah”
The Boondock Saints, known to my generation as the first Boston based movie, seemed to set the par for the course high enough that any movie with a semblance of a plot could overtake Boston’s admiration despite the irritable stereotypes they are all bound to encompass.
Boondock Saints is an artsy, indy film chronicling two rowdy yet religious Irish brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) as they decide to become vigilantes, murding anyone they deem “evil”. Partnering with their friend, a spastic, low-level errand boy for the mafia named Rocco, they submerge themselves in a killing spree while eluding the eccentric FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) hot on their trail. They should have left it at that, but towards the end other elements are added and the story begins to fall apart, but I’ll get to that.
This movie starts off great. The concept itself is fantastic and at the time was completely original. The Irish twins are likable and have believable chemistry. For the first half I really liked the untraditional flow of this movie, it was very Pulp Fiction-esque, dropping the audience at the crime scene first, and later witnessing the actual crime as Willem Dafoe pieces it all together. It was an interesting way to watch, but ironically, it was the cause of mass confusion once the movie picked up momentum and plot twists were added.
Focusing on the quality of the film, if you look at it as a “comic book” adaptation movie, it makes total sense. But it’s not set up that way. Because of the strength of the vigilante concept and the way the movie starts, you really don’t want this to drip that certain “comic book cheesiness” that goes hand in hand with every comic book movie, but it does.
“I was gonna go as a Boondock Saint, but Spidey gets all the chicks”
Although the Boston accent was not overdone in this movie, it was surprising to see that the entire Boston Police Department had no more than a 4th grade education. They were inept on all fronts. Willem Dafoe (in all his creepiness) steps in, reluctantly educating them on every aspect of police work. It becomes obvious that it’s US (the audience) Dafoe is explaining what’s happening to. So did Troy Duffy (writer/director) think that the audience was as dumb as the Boston cops in the film? I’m slightly offended.
While drinking for the cops, let’s take a look at something more concerning, Dafoe. He plays the Federal Investigator sent in when the Russian gangsters begin dying. Very smart and dedicated (in the beginning of the film at least), he prances around the crime scenes like the goddamn Nutcracker Prince. Opera music plays while he dances in slow motion with his sex face on, with the camera spinning around him, and at one point he even discharges his firearm in the air during the investigation as he is so caught up in the beauty of the murders.
This kinda lays the “cheese” on pretty thick. I couldn’t join the FBI because of something as simple as a tattoo, so imagine them hiring this nut, getting fall down drunk on scotch and Riverdancing around a multiple homicide? I aint buying. Not to mention he never even considers the murders to be linked to the two guys who turned themselves in for murdering the Russians the night before!
“Excuse me… Um, Officer?”
The twin’s friend, Rocco, is like Charlie Day mainlining melted pop rocks. He comes off as a guy who needs a heavy prescription of Ritalin to maintain, but who decided to just blow a bunch of coke instead. He is exactly the type of person they are killing, yet they seem to love him simply because he drinks at the same bar as them (typical Irish I guess). They recruit him to be the third member of the vigilantes. They even let him decide who lives and who dies. In one scene, he makes a split-second decision to kill every guy in a poker room. How could they just take this guy’s word for it that everyone in the room deserved to die? What if he overlooked the Chinese food delivery guy that just stopped by for a quick hand? Oopsy! It just seems like it goes against everything they stand for.
Oops, my bad. this one’s on me!
I can’t tell if it’s due to the “artsy” filming style or simply the lousy editing job. I feel major plot points wound up on the editing room floor or were quickly brushed over in a cut scene. Once you get used to watching the scenes in reverse, they suddenly complicate it by adding more plot to figure out as you’re already struggling to piece it all together. The story gets very confusing. What happened to the simple story of vigilante brothers and the cop chasing them? That was great, but now I feel like I’m watching a completely different movie.
In fact, I feel like I just walked in on a movie halfway through and I’m trying to catch up. Struggling to keep all the twists in chronological order…Wait! When did they get taken hostage? Did I black out and miss some of this movie? Nope… It’s just the way it was edited. 3/4ths of the way through shit starts hitting the ground faster than it would from a midget with diarrhea.
Who is the hitman and why is he needed? I’m still trying to figure out how they were taken hostage and what information the mafia wants from them, and now there’s a renegade hitman released from his life sentence who is killing everybody? It seems like there are too many holes in the story. WAIT! NOW DAFOE IS HELPING THEM? This movie has completely jumped the shark. I’m so confused on what is happening and I’ve been watching the whole time. Great, now Dafoe has gone completely tranny and running around in a dress shooting people. They definitely don’t think anyone is still watching this do they? THE HITMAN’S THE FATHER? OK, I’m done. I’m lost and I don’t care. Turning this off.
This movie starts off as an original, solid movie with alot of promise. Unfortunately the story progresses into complete shit and I’m surprised in the last scene after the corny pledge they make that the twins don’t just fly through the ceiling as superheroes with shotguns.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Willem Dafoe creeps you out
Take a Drink: for every action Dafoe does that would get a normal cop fired on the spot
Take a Drink: Ron Jeremy!
Drink a Shot: for every scene that makes no sense, leaving you confused.
Drink a Shot: for Willem Dafoe going tranny
Scary! I wouldn’t pay a cent over $10 for that one!