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Blu-ray Review: ‘Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day’
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Boondock Saints II: All Saints DayBoondock Saints II: All Saints Day
DVD | Blu-ray
Directed by Troy Duffy
Starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr., Billy Connolly, Julie Benz, Peter Fonda, Judd Nelson, Bob Marley, Brian Mahoney, David Ferry, David Della Rocco
Sony Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 9, 2010

If you read Geeks of Doom, you know I’ve been one of the biggest supporters of a sequel to 1999’s The Boondock Saints for as long as one has been rumored, which is about eleven years now. And from the moment Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day became official, any time anything was released about the movie, I was jumping on it. Various different posts came of it all, including interviews with stars Clifton Collins Jr. and Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus.

Because of my love for the first and my being proud of its Boston roots, that made me a likely biased candidate to review the film when it was released on DVD and Blu-ray, but it was in-fact only fitting that I do so. I did enjoy the movie after all was said and done, but surprisingly, there were also things that I was not a big fan of and I’ll be sure to share them all!

Boondock Saints II begins in the quiet, secluded hills of Ireland, where Connor and Murphy MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus) are living with their father Il Duce (Billy Connolly), working as sheep herders. One day, their father notices that the boys have “that look in their eyes” again, and it isn’t long before a visitor arrives to inform them that a priest in Boston had been murdered and made to look like the work of the Saints. The goal was to call out the Saints, but as Il Duce puts is, the only problem with that is that “it worked.”

After some grooming, and preparation, the boys are back to their old look and off to Boston to find out what’s going on. They quickly meet up with Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.), who uses his connections to help them out, and the hunt is on.

At the same time, a new detective (and understudy of Willem Dafoe‘s Paul Smecker character) named Eunice (Julie Benz), meets up with Detectives Greenly (Bob Marley), Duffy (Brian Mahoney), and Dolly (David Ferry), who fear that she’s out to finally capture the Boondock Saints, who they now know are the good guys doing good work.

I was automatically excited by the first few minutes of this movie. When I heard that it would open, I found myself visualizing them in this land that time forgot in Ireland, and when the first five minutes of the movie showed up online a while back, it barely showed them in Ireland at all. As it turns out, there was a little bit more to the intro than we had seen. It was still a little short for my liking — I would have preferred seeing a few quick days worth of their day-to-day to paint a picture of how they were staying busy — but it was cool to see them in such an extremely different setting.

The sequel has all the stuff that fans of the original would want. Director Troy Duffy had an almost impossible task in living up to a decade of fans begging for more, and I pity anyone who has to find a way to pull that off. There’s many different action sequences and gunfights, a solid story, and all the silly humor you can handle. For these reasons, it’s hard to find any reason to bash the effort, though many did just that.

You won’t catch me dead bashing this movie — when it comes to b-movie type action flicks, there’s no reason for it; did people actually expect it to be a blueprint for perfect cinematic achievements? On the other hand, I will admit that there were times where I felt unfulfilled. The first movie is not the best movie ever made, but it had a lot of heart, and it had a great vibe to it, and that’s why it won so many fans over the years. Sadly, it felt like that heart was missing from Boondock II, like it was being made just to be made and the passion wasn’t as strong within.

With that extra emotion that you get from heart of the first film gone here, you really only see a lot of action and some comedy but don’t feel as attached to the characters as you did the first time around.

This is pretty much my only qualm with the movie, and again, this isn’t a movie that needs to win Oscars, so I’m happy with the film I saw. I just wanted to note that it did at times feel like an ingredient was missing.

Moving on to happier times, I will say it was exciting to be hanging out with the Brothers MacManus again. The guys were right back to their old ways: lots of killing, lots of drinking, and their always entertaining sense of humor and sibling banter. New members to the cast like Clifton Collins Jr. and Julie Benz did a great job, and it was pretty cool to see the three detectives get much more significant (and often silly) screen time. Who would have thought that they would become the comic relief?

Two of the more exciting aspects of the project while it was in development was the promise of a backstory to the infamous Il Duce, and the inclusion of the last film’s comic relief, Rocco — which was clearly to become a flashback of sorts.

I can’t say the Il Duce backstory was what I had expected, but it was cool to see. I personally thought we would see Connolly given a youthful make-up job for the storyline, but Duffy decided to go really young with it and cast a new face (Matthew Lemche). This works because I had no idea the story would be going back that far in his life; there’s no way Connolly would have pulled that off, no matter how awesome he always is! This deeper look into the evolution of Il Duce is by no means the Vito Corelone roots in The Godfather Part II, but fans should dig it.

The scenes with Rocco actually ended up being more of a dream sequence than flashbacks, and I liked them a lot…especially their delivery of one of two awesome cameos that made my day. Rocco wasn’t his usually goofy self as we were so familiar with, but more of a guardian angel to the Saints, who shows up and offers a little insight and inspiration to their cause. One of these scenes actually turns into an awesome (though trippy) Braveheart-like speech with the amazing theme music from the first movie playing in the background. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about this while watching, but I did get goosebumps, and that means something.

If you’re not a fan of the Saints or have yet to see the original, you probably won’t be a huge fan of this movie, unless you have a love for some good b-movie action fun. If you want to see it and haven’t seen the original, I’d suggest seeing that before moving onto All Saints Day.

Because of their undying devotion to The Boondock Saints, even fans who were desperate for this sequel to happen may walk away unsure of what they think, but eventually, I think it will grow on them. I was unsure of how I felt at first, but after sleeping on it a few days, it was decided that this is not a movie that wants to try and dethrone the original. It’s a movie that Duffy tried to be safe with by packing it full of gunfights and humor to be fun and pleasing to the fans who wanted it.

In most cases I would shun this method, but again, I can’t stress enough how difficult it would be to make a great movie with so much time and anticipation behind it. This was a smart way to offer up a wild and entertaining second chapter in what could become a trilogy.

IF they are able to make a third film — which was indeed set-up rather firmly at the end — they need to do it sooner rather than later. Waiting another ten years just won’t cut it, and to be honest, while it will be hard to pull off what they would need to pull off to make a third happen, I really love where it could go. Now that Duffy and company have gotten over this massive sequel hump, I hope they really set out to make a trilogy-making statement. If Sony gives them the greenlight to make one more, they need to run with the story that they’ve set up and reacquire that heart that the first one had.

We had absolutely NO idea what to expect from Boondock II, but we do have some idea of where Boondock III could go, and it could absolutely be a fun and impressive return-to-form. I feel like many people lost some respect for the Boondock Saints in general this time around, and that’s a little too depressing a note to end on. So I say they do this dance one last time and throw their very best at us.

SPECIAL FEATURES

There’s a good amount of special features to check out here. Along with BD Live, a couple of commentaries, deleted scenes, and previews, there’s also a few good featurettes to watch.

Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes — This is your basic behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the movie. Every flick should have one!

Billy Connolly & Troy Duffy: Unedited — Just as it sounds, this is actor Billy Connolly and director Troy Duffy hanging out in a room together and chatting about all kinds of different thing. Anything involving Connolly is worth watching.

The Boondock Saints Hit Comic-Con The whole gang was at Comic Con last year for a panel. This lengthy feature shows said panel plus a whole lot more of their experience, including their adventures on the always-interesting Comic Con floor.

Inside the Vault: The Weapons Of the multitude of video journals we saw over the course of production, one was inside of their special weapons room with any type of gun you want. This feature takes a look at that firepower used in Boondock II.

The Cast Confesses: Secrets from the Set — Another sort of behind-the-scenes feature, but this one feels more like you’re just hanging out on the set.

Trailer

  • Vittorio

    I loved the sequal ~ although it wasnt as good as the first one it was still a great movie. There was one vibe I got from the end of the movie…it seem’s Willam Dafoe’s character is trying to use the saint’s like Luis used Il Duce, to try and gain something that wont be revealed until the final chapter of The Boondock Saints movies.

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