The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day Review

Connor, Murphy and their father MacManus, having fled the US after their very public courtroom assassination of Papa Joe Yakavetta some 8 years before, are quietly tending sheep in Ireland. Their uncle brings them the news that a renowned priest from Boston has been murdered. The killing was set up to look like it was the work of the Boondock Saints which they were dubbed after their infamous killing spree and taking out all the bad guys in Beantown. The twins resolve to find the killer and bring him to their own brand of justice.

They take a freighter where they meet a Mexican fighter who is a big fan of their work. Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.) latches on to the brothers and helps them get into the country. He wants to be their sidekick. Collins’ Romeo pretty much steals the scenes as their partner in retribution. He has a tendency to become very emotional in a teary eyed sort of way. With the help of Romeo’s uncle, they decide to stir the pot and let everyone know they are truly back in town. Things don’t always flow as smoothly and precisely since Conner’s master plans are all based on movies. The three detectives who abetted the Saints earlier with FBI Agent Paul Smecker in the first film, are feeling nervous that someone will discover their previous involvement. A new FBI Special Agent, Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz), is assigned to help solve the latest murders. She struts around in 5 inch designer heels and with a deliberate drawl, informs the local cops that she's “so smart she makes smart people feel dumb.” She walks through the crime scenes like her predecessor Smecker (but better dressed) and rejects the prevailing opinion that the Saints were the culprits. It turns out there’s another killer on the loose, and he has issues with height. The local gangsters are also nervous due to the rumors that the saints are back in town. Judd Nelson is almost unrecognizable as the sausage wielding Concezio Yakavetta, son of the last big boss who met his demise from the Saints 8 years ago. He’s hiding out in his condo bunker. Special Agent Bloom believes there’s a mysterious person pulling the strings setting all this in motion.

This sequel pretty much keeps to the same formula as the original film. The MacManus brothers kill bad guys. They are folk heroes. There's the quirky FBI agent. The three cops are the comic muses. The boys and their sidekick wreak havoc. Then Poppa McManus comes to the rescue in a tight squeeze. Even Rocco (David Della Rocco), their last deceased sidekick, makes a brief appearance in a dream sequence with an old friend. There’s also the same gun runner and the same stuttering swearing bartender, now looking much older. It’s all happily familiar. We do get a nice bit of back story to Poppa MacManus and the events that turned him into the hardened assassin that he became and where he got that killer vest. Peter Fonda shows up as someone from his past who's now back in his life.

The first movie was a surprising blend of comedy, action, and family values with big guns. This version, while enjoyable to a diehard fan such as myself, may not appeal to the un-Sainted. Without viewing the first movie, references to characters and events will be missed. Also, the editing seemed very choppy. Transitions between scenes didn’t flow. At times it was hard to understand through the heavy accents. Julie Benz, who is wonderful on Dexter, doesn’t have the same kind of madcap manic presence as Willem Defoe. Director Troy Duffy says he got some negative response from fans about adding a woman into what was a testosterone filled world, since the first movie has no women in it at all. Special Agent Eunice Bloom is a bigger than life strong woman who flicks one liners like she’s cracking her gum. She also does do a really great gun twirling scene which the studios wanted to omit, but Duffy's tests with women viewers were more than positive. Women characters don’t normally get to do that kind of wicked cool stuff in movies.

Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus jumped at the chance to come back to their roles of the Saints, who after 10 years are just looking slightly worn around the edges. They still fill the screen with the same kind of bickering brotherhood. Meanwhile, Billy Connolly doesn’t look like he aged a day. Troy Duffy is back as the writer and director of this adventure after settling lawsuits that kept the sequel from being made sooner. The ending leaves the door open for future stories. Considering the rabid cult status of the movie, we hopefully shouldn't have to wait as long to be blessed by the Saints once more. (Review by Reesa Cruz-Hawkins)

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