Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Film Review: The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day

Ten years ago, unknown director Troy Duffy made a low budget film based around two brothers who decide to take it upon themselves to fight against the Boston crime syndicate.  The film only ever made it into five theaters and grossed just 30 thousand dollars domestically.  It was suppressed mainly due to the fact that it was set to be released around the exact same time as the Columbine shootings and many thought it would be insensitive to release such a violent film at that time.
So there the film sat, smoldering away in no man’s land for several years.  However, the film was not dead in the water.  Like a Phoenix from the ashes, the film found another life to rise up and overcome its initial shortcomings: the wonderful world of a cult DVD following.  The Boondock Saints were indeed coming.
Once the film-going audience was actually able to get their hands on this film, the word started to spread like wildfire.  The fans were the true essence of everything that makes a cult movie a cult movie.  Anyone who loved it needed to tell everyone they knew how great it was.  It may have taken 5 years before this even started, but once it did, there was really no stopping it.
The word finally got to me about three years ago, my sophomore year of college.  I had heard the film mentioned and knew I would get to it eventually.  However one of my very good friends sat me down and said you need to watch this NOW.  It was his favorite movie.  So we popped in the DVD and began to watch the film.  I can tell you right now, I was never hooked so fast by a movie.  As the story played out, I found myself never wanting it to end.  The characters were so gripping, so funny, so absolutely likeable.  It has found a place firmly in my top five films of all time.
When I heard that they were actually making a sequel, I was cautiously optimistic.  Of course I wanted to se more of the Saints, but I also didn’t want them to butcher the greatness of the first.  When I heard that everyone involved with the first (minus Willem Dafoe) was returning for the sequel, and writer/director Troy Duffy was at the helm as well, the excitement started to flow.  I knew the film would be opening limited, so I just hoped that it would play somewhere within driving distance.  It was, so me, that very friend that first introduced me to the Saints, and one other friend took the trip down to Hartford to catch an opening night showing of All Saints Day.
The plot of the new film takes place eight years after the first, and the Saints had been hiding away in Ireland, herding sheep.  When they are informed that a Boston priest has been murdered in the style that they used to use (two shots to the back of the head, pennies on the eyes) they come out of hiding to take revenge on anyone who was involved. 
If you are worried about the lack of everyone’s favorite loveable idiot sidekick, Rocco, who died in the first film, don’t worry.  He does appear in the film in a couple of scenes including a dream sequence, but they also found a very funny and adequate replacement in the character of Romeo, who is basically the same character, only Mexican. 
The film stayed true to everything that made the first one so great.  Absolutely hilarious dialogue, quick-witted one-liners, and brilliantly executed violence.  The lack of well known actors is another thing that I believe makes the Saints stand above any other movie of its type.  Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus completely own their characters.  They are Connor and Murphy MacManus.  This makes it much easier to just lose yourself in the world the film creates and forget that you are watching actors playing a role.  The film, once again, leaves you rooting for the Saints every step of the way.
Willem Dafoe is replaced nicely by Julie Benz, who plays his protégé Special Agent Eunice Bloom.  She isn’t quite as enjoyable to watch as Dafoe was in the first film, but she holds her weight and doesn’t detract from the film in any way.  So for those of you worried that Dafoe’s absence would really hurt the film, rest assured, he is missed, but not enough that you won’t still love the finished product.
The film basically plays as a carbon copy of the first in terms of style, which leads me to say that it wasn’t quite as good as the first. Of course, I never really expected it would be.  Like I mentioned earlier, The Boondock Saints is a top five all time movie for me, so this had some big shoes to fill.  That said, I wasn’t even the slightest bit disappointed.  The plot played out nicely, including a couple of cool twists towards the end.  If you loved the first one, I bet you will like this as well.  It is absolutely worth checking out for all fans of the franchise, so if you are worried about them ruining it, I can assure you they did not.  It was easily one of the best films I have seen this year.  If you still haven’t heard of The Boondock Saints, I strongly urge you to watch the first film.  It may be the best movie-based decision you make this year.  Or you will hate it and think its an over-hyped piece of crap.  Either way, you will be able to decide where you stand on seeing this brilliant sequel, or giving it a strong “No thank you."
For me, it was absolutely worth that trip to Hartford.  I give The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day 5 / 5 stars.

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