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Arts and Entertainment

Movie Review: The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

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Photo courtesy of Sony

In my experience there are two kinds of people in this world: those who LOVE The Boondock Saints and those who have never heard of it. I fall squarely into the Love It category. In the neighborhood where I grew up and went to Catholic Church and high school, everyone and their mother loves it, too. My friend Joanne’s mom is one of the most conservative women you’ll meet, so we were all shocked and amused when she said that it was “Pretty fucking great,” articulating her opinion in the vernacular of The Saints.

The first movie was ripe with vulgar language, but for an understandable reason. If you find yourself or your friends killing bad guys in vigilante style, “holy schnike” doesn’t quite express the severity of the resulting emotions. The depth of the relationship between these two Irish brothers who find themselves on a mission from God to “Destroy all that which is evil so that which is good may flourish” somehow offsets the crassness of the original film. There are a number of scenes that just slay me, the pain and anguish on Connor’s face and blood running down his wrists as he rips a toilet he’s been handcuffed to from the floor to save his brother’s life… The time they’ve been shot and have to cauterize each others wounds with a scalding iron and no anesthesia... Scenes like that were so hard to watch, made it so easy to fall in love with The Saints, and are so absent from this latest movie.

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What we have instead is a trivial revenge film about two brothers who can’t go five minutes without fighting with each other or shooting other people. There are no Voice of God moments, just some empty religious symbolism (and if you’re dragging that word out in your head, you’re a Saint’s fan, too). The story picks up about a decade after we last saw The Saints. Twin brothers Connor and Murphy MacManus have spent those years growing long hair and beards and living with their father, Il Duce, on a sheep farm in Ireland. Then someone kills a priest in Boston, copycatting The Saint’s style of execution, and voilà, the boys are back in Beantown.

Most of the old gang is back, too, but not Willem Dafoe, not really anyway. The new FBI agent, Eunice Bloom, is no Agent Smecker but she’s certainly a unique character. Bloom, played by Julie Benz, is the first female lead in the Boondock world. “I love Eunice,” Benz said when we spoke recently. “Very rarely do you see a woman who’s not a love interest or a victim in a project, so to play this woman who’s smarter than all the guys, sexier but still feminine, who can wield a gun just as well as they can but is also wearing six inch stiletto heels to a crime scene… I like to say she’s a fantasy woman. She’s the woman that we all kind of fantasize about being on our most badass days.”

And though The Saint’s sidekick Rocco died in the last movie, they try to bring the spirit of his character back in two ways. First, there are the dream sequences with original Rocco, played once again by David Della Rocco. Then there’s a new guy who teams up with the Saints named Romeo, played in over-the-top Rocco fashion by Clifton Collins, Jr. He’s Mexican Rocco, if you will, and like Italian Rocco before him Director Troy Duffy wrote the part specifically for a good friend of his to play. “For me I always felt a part of the Boondock world because I was around it from the beginning,” Collins told me in a recent interview. “I’ve been friends with Troy a long time. To actually officially be in now, it kind of feels right.”

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is a ridiculous film. If you never saw the first one, I don’t know if you’ll get much out of the second. If you saw the first one, I don’t know how you could not go see the sequel. My mom, Boondock Fan that she is, asked me a really good question, “How many pints of Guinness do you have to drink to make it a good movie?” My sister thinks four would do it. So have a few drinks, enter the theater with no expectations and have fun with this movie. I cheered with my fists in the air more than once and I watched it totally sober. There are plenty of things that just make no sense (Judd Nelson? As Yakavetta’s son?? He’s older than the guy who played Yakavetta! How does that work???) but it’s a good time. Just don’t think about it too much. You’ll only end up pissed off.

Review by Courtney Quinn