There are moments in Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day when it rightfully wears the mantle of Boondock Saints and there are moments when it’s not quite right. Happily for the audience there are far more of the former, and exceptionally few of the latter. Director Troy Duffy channels the inspirational spirits of Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino with this fitting sequel.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day reunites us with the MacManus brothers who, with their father Noah, have spent the last eight years tending sheep in Ireland. Their hair has grown long, they are heavily bearded, and—can it be?—their accents have thickened. They are still the boys-at-heart who argue and wrestle over goofy things, have each other’s backs, and maintain a strong sense of justice.
What could happen, back in Boston, that would return Murphy (Norman Reedus) and Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) to the States? A priest is assassinated in the signature Saints’ style—two shots to the back of the head, then laid out on the floor of his church with pennies over his eyes. Not just any priest, this priest was a friend to the brothers. When the inept police detectives, with the aid of a comely FBI agent (Julie Benz in an over-the-top performance), investigate the murder scene they realize that the murderer was neither of the Saints, but the crime was intended to draw them out.
Returning to the United States, the MacManus brothers unwillingly deputize Romeo (Clifton Collins, Jr.), a Mexican extreme fighter who is traveling on the same ship. Romeo becomes, at first, the butt of their derision, then the target of their practical jokes, and finally an equal on the team. In many ways, he reminds us of Leo Getz (Joe Pesce) in Lethal Weapon 2.
Eunice, the FBI agent, is so smart she “makes other smart people feel like retards,” but her southern accent is so thick and she’s so full of bluster, she makes us nostalgic for Willem Dafoe in drag. However, being the only brain on law enforcement’s side, she is much needed. She is also pivotal to the brothers’ success in accomplishing their mission.
The people behind the assassination of the priest seem to be mob-connected, so the brothers spend quite a bit of time splattering a variety of drug dealers and mobsters across the screen, and at times it becomes a little difficult to remember who was killed and who wasn’t. A capo appears in a scene when you’re pretty sure this guy was already killed. It’s okay; there are so many of them, it’s hard to keep track. When the brothers are seen talking to a friend we know died in Boondock Saints, we are relieved when we realize this is a shared dream sequence.
It’s not long after the brothers start their bloody war of revenge against the mob before Dad (Billy Connolly in a memorable performance) shows up in Boston. Just in time, I might add. We see flashbacks to 1958 and learn what put Noah on his killing path. In the MacManus family, vengeance is a legacy.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day moves quickly; it is a violent tapestry threaded with humor. The humor is rooted in irony, silliness, and the unexpected. The plot takes some unanticipated turns and satisfies. The audience does not so much guess how it will end, as it is presented with the conclusion. Watch for a nearly unrecognizable Peter Fonda in a small but significant role, and notice that the door is left open for a sequel.
For those who have seen Boondock Saints, this is more of the same. If you loved the first film, you will enjoy this one as well. When choosing whether a film is great or not, I look at it in the context of its genre and comparables. Therefore, while a film about the MacManus brothers is not great in the same sense as, say, Citizen Kane, it is gripping, fun, and highly entertaining. I think that’s pretty great.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day contains four hours of special features, including deleted scenes, filmmaker and cast commentaries, “Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes” (featurette), and Billy Connolly & Troy Duffy: Unedited.”
How do you know if a sequel was good? Ask yourself, “Would I want to see another installment?” If you answer "yes," it was good. Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day was very, very good.
Bottom Line: Would I buy/rent Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day? Absolutely! 2010 is a very good year for the Saints (who dat?).