The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
Stage 6 Films
Now Showing at: most major theaters.
Review by: Larry Thomas
Ten years ago, wannabe filmmaker Troy Duffy won a contest from Miramax Films that gave him a production deal for his first film. That deal fell apart, but Duffy did manage to scrape up the wherewithal to make his first outing… The Boondock Saints. It was a shoot-em-up action film in the Quentin Tarantino and John Woo mold, but received almost no distribution. Once it was on DVD, it took on a life of its own and has a large fan following.
Never having seen the original, it seemed like a good idea to check out Duffy’s second film, Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day, to see if I could figure out the mystique of this cinematic cult. The first film was about Irish fraternal twin brothers who feel called by their church to eradicate the bad guys of Boston, and tilt the scales of justice when the legal system fails. In the end, they are reunited with their assassin father. Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus as the brothers, and Scottish actor Billy Connolly as dad, play this trio of triggermen.
Flannery is likely best known as the title character in Powder, and the TV series Young Indiana Jones. Reedus has knocked around for several years working in low-budget films, with his Boondock stints seeming to be his most high-profile jobs to date. Connolly started as a musician and stand-up comedian who has developed into a really good character actor.
After having watched the second film first, I think checking out the original is a good idea to see what spurred interest in the first place. The sequel is sort of like a “Frankenstein” film, in that it feels like it is cobbled together from scenes that could possibly be from other films, and sometimes work, and sometimes don’t. There are some action set pieces that are dazzling, while others are unbelievably ridiculous. Some performances are quite acceptable, but others so egregiously awful it’s unfathomable that the performers got paid for it. Sometimes, plot points come out of nowhere and go somewhere, and sometimes they come from somewhere and then just disappear. The key words here are scattershot, haphazard and over-the-top.
As the second film opens, the McManus father and sons are living in Ireland, working as sheep ranchers. They fled Boston after becoming folk heroes to the city for doing right… of sorts. Now someone has killed one of their favorite priests, and tried to make it look like they did it. Needless to say, the brothers are compelled to return to Boston to find out the who and the why of such a heinous deed. The three principals are all capable actors and do a decent job. The three Boston cops, who also repeat from the original, play the roles as if they are latter day Three Stooges. The special agent who catches the new case is played by Julie Benz, from Showtime’s series Dexter, with a southern accent so thick and honey-pie, you’d almost think Paula Deen was her acting coach. Former brat packer Judd Nelson is a Mafia don, and Nelson has obviously seen way too many Al Pacino movies.
Yes, I know it’s supposed to be funny, and in places it is. There are a couple of great, quotable lines. But, as with the other components of the film, some of the intended humor is forced, flat, and sometimes downright cringe-inducing.
Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day is hard to categorize. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I think “perplexed” might be my take on it. If you are a fan of the original, you’ll definitely have to see it. But if you normally avoid lowbrow action flicks, you’ll want to stay far, far away. It all depends on how your taste runs.
However, if this is the best that Troy Duffy can come up with after ten years… he’s not made a movie in-between the two… then maybe he should think about another line of work. Optimistically, though, Duffy leaves the blood-spattered saga wide open for a possible part three.
The R-rated Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day is currently showing at AMC Newport on the Levee, and the Showcases in Springdale, Milford and Kings Island.