Being a huge fan of the original cult classic, I should have been excited to see the loooong rumored and even longer in-development sequel. Since the fallout of Troy Duffy, as depicted in Overnight (which is somewhat of a smear campaign), it seemed like no one would take a chance on Duffy and without significant funding the sequel would never have happened. But like the little engine that could, Duffy got the sequel that no one thought would see the light of day made. And the outcome? In short it was sooo much better than I was expecting from the dreadful looking trailers. Well I’d say I’m eating my words.
To those of you out there who love The Boondock Saints, and haven’t seen the sequel yet (but are somehow reading this), let me just say that 10 years is a long time to continue a story. Like a really long time, especially if (as an actor) you don’t really know if you’ll have to reprise your character again in a sequel in the distant future. I mean how much cocaine did Detective Greenly have to do to get that thin?? And woah, that’s Sean Patrick Flanery?? I thought it was Daniel Baldwin!!
But regardless of everyone’s state, the good news about this sequel is they got everybody back…yes, even Rocco (but I won’t tell you when he’ll show up). What really makes a sequel work is the belief of the crew and the cast that “yes, this really will work”. Even if there are elements of the film which are sub par (i.e. plot, dialog, etc.) there’s something that comes across when you have the entire team giving their all. This is what transpired in this film and really won me over.
The plot of The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day follows the very mysterious but open-ended departure of Connor, Murphy and Il Duce from the end of the first film. Fans like me should have been overjoyed to see where the hell they’ve been all this time. Annnd drum roll…They were in Ireland (imagine that) and have since given up their divine killing ways. So after a decade of having given up “the habit” (get it? religious humor), it takes a killing of a priest in Boston to bring the guys out of hiding. So there, now you’re caught up. Wow Duffy, 10 years to come up with that??
Anyway, the boys are back with a vengeance and set out to find out who killed the priest and follow a new trail of crime, filth and bad guys. Along the way the bright new addition to the infamous Saints is Romeo (played by Clifton Collins Jr.) who channels every possible bit of Rocco that Troy Duffy’s script would allow. Sure he’s not really Rocco but fans sad about his death in the first movie should start to like his replacement by about midway through the film…well I didn’t anyway.
Next up on a sort of retread character list for actors who aren’t in this sequel is the “protegé” of the late Agent Smecker…damn, no Willem Dafoe?? Bogus.
It’s that point in the movie that really separates the true fans from the passing fans. Me, I decided to stick it out to see how it all fared. While initially Julie Benz was the glaring low point of the movie as she seemed like a weak Smecker substitute who further seemed like a poor Clarice Starling doppelgänger. But like “the new Rocco” I kind of accepted her and the movie got much better because of it.
The critic quote on the DVD box reads “the sequel improves on everything that made the first film great”. I disagree. The first film was more inventive and tried to walk a more serious path with some great (and selective) humor. This film knew it was going to be a long shot, even for die-hard fans, so what it did was focus on giving you more laughs. This proved very effective to me and I laughed my ass off for more scenes than I could count. The good news is that this film does work and in a way that is both in the vein of the first film but also takes a few new directions that ultimately worked.
So as was my experience with G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, when you go in with low expectations, you tend to be surprised. That said I had a lot of fun with this movie. Even though the last 10 years hadn’t been kind to half of the cast, it was still a fun fun ride and I had a lot of laughs…plus there’s a “haymaker” of a cameo which won all sorts of points with me:) So yeah, I’m buying this for sure!
G-S-T Ruling: 3.5/5
G-S-T Seal of Approval: GRANTED