On DVD: The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day


It’s possible that any sequel ten years in the making would be bound to fall flat. “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” might have been destined to do so from the beginning. The cult following if not worshipping of the original beckoned creator Troy Duffy to bring us the McManus brothers once again, even if the first film suggested future chapters were likely. In terms of story and script, “All Saints Day” neglects most of what made the first film engaging from start to finish. Instead, style dictates the direction of Duffy’s sequel and the objective to please die-hard fans, not as much those such as myself who really enjoyed the original’s infectious bravado and rhythm and were hoping the sequel would at least provide as much.

I really liked the 1999 film, applauding its signature feel, unique characters and religious undertones to counteract any possible label of yet another slow-mo vigilantes with guns story. I’ve quoted “there was a firefight!” a good couple of times in the ten years since, but my love of the film only went that far. Only a small portion of me would receive satisfaction just by seeing Connor, Murphy and Il Duce back together again; the second would have to win me over just as much as the first had to.

The set-up is that the boys (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) are hiding out from the law in Ireland with Poppa (Billy Connolly) when they get word that back in Boston, a priest has been murdered and made to look like it was they who did it. That’s all the motivation they need to shave their beards, grab their guns and get some revenge. It’s a suspect motivation. Their characters are so much weaker in “All Saints Day” as a result. They’re less funny and less believable to boot. The first film showed us they were human and simply had the gall to be vigilantes. This time they come across as untouchable. They also quarrel exactly like they did in the previous film and make similar jokes. These don’t come across as “comforts” so much as blatant attempts to reap more benefits from the original film’s success.

The supporting cast lent so much to the original as well. Clifton Collins Jr. overdoes everything and his character is such a poor man’s version of Rocco to begin with. Julie Benz is a horrible attempt at replacing Willem Defoe’s FBI agent. Her fake Southern accent is brutal and doesn’t rise above stereotype. Defoe provided such a rich and unique character for the film to focus on. Instead, “All Saints Day” tries to rip off its predecessor once again by having Benz’s Eunice listen to music when she reconstructs crime scenes too. The homage is given so little attention as is the case with most homages in the film.

I hate harping on why a film wasn’t like the first, but “Boondock Saints” painted such a special niche for itself and Duffy tries so incredibly hard to recreate some of that film’s success that the criticism is warranted. It starts with the script, however, which wasn’t made to be good on its own so much as cater to the cult fan base. Mixing in Il Duce’s backstory along with what was already going on was too much, for example. Mainly, however, is that “All Saints Day” lacks a true antagonist. Benz is actually an ally to the twins’ cause for much of the film, so no true force keeps them in check. This also renders the slow-motion action sequences devoid of that payoff feeling you got from the first film. Instead, “All Saints Day” is all show and even then the entertainment value doesn’t measure up.

1.5/5 Stars

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
Written and directed by Troy Duffy
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Julie Benz


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