The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
Written & Directed by: Troy Duffy
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Julie Benz, Clifton Collins Jr, Judd Nelson, Billy Connolly, Bob Marley, Brian Mahoney, David Ferry
Rated: R for bloody violence, language and some nudity.
“The Boondock Saints” opened in thoroughly limited release back in 1999, its wholesale slaughter sequences deemed too much for a public recently traumatized by the Columbine shootings. It has since risen to cult status on DVD, and now there is a sequel: “The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day.” The entire cast of main characters is back, along with a couple of new faces, and writer-director Troy Duffy hasn’t lost his knack for lunacy and nonlinear storytelling. The new film doesn’t quite have the same lightening-in-a-bottle awesomeness of the original, but few sequels do.
The MacManus brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus), rampaged across Boston in the first film, executing Russian and Italian mobsters, then praying over them and putting pennies on their eyes. They earned the nickname “the Saints” as well as a devoted following on the streets — and among law enforcement. Eight years later, they have left the scene of their vigilante crime spree far behind and are living in Ireland with their father (Billy Connolly), herding sheep.
When word reaches them that a priest has been murdered in their signature style, they come out of retirement to find and kill everyone responsible. On the way back to the States, they meet Romeo (Clifton Collins, Jr.), who winds up being their sidekick. He serves essentially the same purpose as Rocco (David Della Rocco) did in the first film, acting as a rather dim but very enthusiastic and occasionally useful assistant to the brothers.
Flamboyant FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) is, alas, nowhere to be found for most of the film, but he has passed the torch to Special Agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz), a brilliant investigator more than capable of holding her own in the man’s world that is law enforcement. She’s called in to find out if the vigilante brothers are back, and is soon working with the three detectives who were on the case in the first film, Greenly (Bob Marley), Duffy (Brian Mahoney), and Dolly (David Ferry).
The gunfights are much the same as in the first film — huge, slow-motion extravaganzas of what even the characters acknowledge as gratuitous violence. This is not a film for pacifists. Or for people easily offended. Duffy’s characters are far from civilized in some of their dialog, and while he’s perfectly capable of having intelligent and interesting minority characters, his dialog is full of offensive terminology.
This is not a film with much to say other than “let’s do some gratuitous violence!” Sure, it’s saturated with religious iconography, as was the first film, and the Saints are ostensibly on a mission from God to cleanse Boston of evil so that the innocent may flourish. But all of that is basically a story onwhich to hang lots of gunfights and snarky dialog.
In short: if you liked the first film, you will probably like the second, especially if you go in knowing it isn’t going to be as good. If you hated the first film, don’t see the new one. And if you somehow missed “The Boondock Saints,” go rent it before you see the sequel. It’ll help you figure out if you want to spend the cash to actually go to a theater.