The best way to describe Troy Duffy’s follow-up to the 1999 cult classic The Boondock Saints is a hot mess.
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is a non-stop barrage of scenery-chomping acting, gratuitous violence, and cheap jokes. Entire scenes might as well have been filmed with no dialogue, as the script matters that little. But then again, that’s not much of a change from the first one.
In The Boondock Saints II, Connor and Murphy McManus (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus), former vigilante killers in the name of God emerge from a decade-long retirement to exact revenge on a murderous Mafia don. Essentially, a more expensive rehashing of the first film.
The first Boondock had its funding pulled and was never shown in theatres due to a series of mishaps and conflicts between director and studio. Yet, it gained a large cult following through word of mouth and midnight showings. With ever growing DVD sales, the sequel got the green light and a bigger budget.
Writer/director Duffy appears to have used the last ten years to select smarmy rock songs and dream up even more convoluted ways for people to kill each other. Characteristics which were charming in the first film, with its pocket-change budget, like cheesy stunts and weak supporting actors seem painfully amateurish here. There’s also the strange addition of plenty of homophobic, racist, and sexist jokes which were hardly present in the original.
But there’s almost something endearing about the flat out awfulness of this film. Duffy isn’t trying to make the film great8212;or if he is, he’s so tragically inept that it’s miraculous he’s managed to make two films.
The plot, which is peppered with bizarre fantasy sequences, is so convoluted that it strays from the focus and strength of the first film: the brothers McManus themselves. In fact, the most engaging part of this film is a series of flashbacks which expand the back story of “Il Duce,” the merciless patriarch of the McManus brood.
Julie Benz plays an FBI agent, replacing Willem Dafoe in the first film. Surprisingly, Duffy’s writing for a female, while just as clumsy as the rest of his writing, is rarely demeaning.
Despite its faults, it’s an immensely enjoyable film. Fans of the original – I watch it every St Patrick’s Day with a group of friends – will get what they expect, including a few surprise cameos and shout-outs to long-standing fans.
Ultimately, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day won’t win the Saints any new fans, and may even drive away some older fans, but it is a natural follow-up to the flawed original.
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day plays at the AMC Forum this week at 1:30 4:10 7:00 10:00