I’m coming into this review a bit premature having not yet seen Derek Presley’s Red Stone prior to his latest sequel, Boon. For those in my shoes, contributor Matthew Essary has informed me that you can pretty much watch either/or in any order, describing Boon as an improvement on the original but with a better look, bigger name cast and not much to catch-up in terms of character backstories.
One example of this is where we meet Federal Agent Redd (Demetrius Grosse), having set up shop in a small idyllic town to meet up with a source to get the details on the whereabouts of fugitive mercenary, Boon (Neal McDonough). The dialogue is suggestive enough to draw interest toward the first film, but doesn’t feel at all hampering going forward. Rather, the film dives right in to the seething, quiet unpleasantry of what it feels like being followed, just before getting into an explosive shootout.
This is exactly what happens as Boon is soon taken into the care of Catherine (Christiane Seidel), a preacher living alone in a rural cabin with her son, Elijah (Jake Melrose) following the death of her husband. Wounded and insistent in his own self-care, Boon gradually reveals himself to Catherine as the two get acquainted – however just shy of some details that eventually come to light when Boon is summoned to rescue Catherine from the clutches of a few goons who turn out to be the underlings of Fitzgerald (Tommy Flanagan), a small town gangster with his own economic ambitions involving the construction of a tunnel with the backing of the town’s corrupt Mayor, Owen (Gabrielle Carteris). It’s when push comes to shove that Boon decides to step up to the plate in a face-to-face with Fitzgerald that ultimately sets up a bloody confrontation. The question then, is can Boon fight hard enough to protect an innocent woman and her son, while steering clear of a violent, incriminating past that stands to catch up with him.
Boon is a very patient, slow burn hitman thriller that smartly plays out with enough brevity between scenes to keep the energy going. It’s a small-scale production that does plenty with what it has in its arsenal, invoking strong performances led by McDonough who also produced the film, as well as penned the script with Presley.
You get a story that’s heavily imbued with religious ruminations culminating the struggles some of our main characters face. Boon lives ruggedly in his cabin, carries a bible and wears a rosary on his hat, which instantly signals that he’s something of a safe space with whom Catherine can confide about the cross she bears, as she does midway in the film. They both see the need for recompense in themselves – a familiarity with being imperfect that allows viewers to relate to, and therefore sympathize with them.
This aspect balances out greatly thanks to a round of antagonists led by Flanagan’s peformance as Fitzgerald, alongside actress Christina Ochoa who plays Fitzgerald’s personal enforcer, Emilia. Their backstory ties deeply in to Catherine’s which coheses things nicely enough to warrant paying attention to what happens next, with Redd closing in and highly intent on taking Boon to custody.
One thing you won’t have to wait too long for is actor Jason Scott Lee, whose entrance in the film is pretty brief, and gives you enough idea as to what to expect going forward. Between gun battles, close-quarter swings to the face and stabbings with more than enough blood to reassure the Rated-R crowd, Boon is low key neo-noir indie western entertainment for fans of the crime thriller genre, and a worthwhile introduction into McDonough’s latest franchise venture.
Boon releases this week on Demand and Digital, and in theaters from Cinedigm beginning April 1.