It has been nearly 10 years since “The Boondock Saints” arrived in theaters. Now, writer/director Troy Duffy has brought the vigilante MacManus brothers back in an over-the-top sequel that quickly identifies itself as more of a fan service than a Hollywood blockbuster.
Saints II starts off eight years after the first installment and Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) MacManus are living a quiet life on a farm in their home country of Ireland with their father. When they receive news that a popular Boston priest was executed and made to look like the brothers’ distinct execution methods, they head back to the U.S.
One of my primary concerns for the sequel was if the brothers were going to have the same chemistry. I wanted them to have the same wit, sense of humor and brotherly love that came from the first movie. In this regard, I was not disappointed. They bicker, prank each other and work together as brothers should for the entire film. They are just as fun and fresh as they were 10 years ago.
The brothers stow away on a cargo ship headed to the U.S. where they meet Romeo (Clifton Collins, Jr.), a proud and loud Mexican-American from Boston. Romeo discovers the brothers to be the now-famous “Saints” and admits to being a fan of their work.
Eventually he becomes their new sidekick, basically taking the place of Rocco (David Della Rocco) from the first film. Romeo is funny, very funny at times, but there is a slight sense that writer Troy Duffy is attempting to make lightening strike in the same place twice. Romeo doesn’t quite reach the heights in character development and creativity Rocco did in the first film. But he steadily becomes a loved and memorable character as the movie progresses.
The story throws several other new characters into the chaotic mix, such as FBI Agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz) who replaces Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe). At first, it seemed once again Duffy attempted to recreate the first film– but he managed to give most of Saints II its own identity. With Bloom, he created a character which complemented Smecker’s, as she is his protege` and develops her own sense of style to solving crime scenes.
Several shootouts and expletives later, the brothers begin to discover a mafia-style conspiracy. Duffy even goes into the depths of the history of their father, Il Duce` (Billy Connolly) and how he came to be such a violent and lonely vigilante.
At this point, it may seem I might not have enjoyed Saints II. Trust me, I am a huge fan of the first and wanted to get my minor complaints out of the way. I really did love Saints II, there are parts that live up to the original and even surpass it.
There is nod after nod to the fans with little quips about characters and situations from the first film. Even most of the characters come back in some way or another. Granted, moviegoers who haven’t seen the first film will be lost at several different points.
Bottom line: this is a must-see for fans and a confusing film endeavor for newbies to the brothers’ vigilante mission. 8.5/10