I’ve been sifting through my extensive Netflix queue looking for any films I’ve let slip into oblivion over the years. This, of course, happens when you continuously add new releases or browse random genres and rarely reorder your queue unless there’s a holiday or upcoming release that has you on the hunt for something particular. Apparently, the sequel to The Boondock Saints is one such film. Finally, after just five short years I have given it my undivided attention.
It’s been eight years since the MacManus Brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus), opened a can of righteous whoop-ass on Boston crime. The two are living a peaceful, rural life with their father Noah (Billy Connolly) in Ireland when they get word a Boston priest has been murdered in a ritualistic style similar to that of the twins. Without another thought, Connor and Murphy return to Boston, taking on a new partner Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr) along the way. The three quickly surmise Concezio Yakavetta (Judd Nelson), son of the crime lord they murdered eight years prior had the priest killed to lure them out. Meanwhile, FBI Special Agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz) is investigating the priest’s murder, waiting for the chance to find the infamous MacManus Brothers.
Much like the original, writer-director Troy Duffy’s much-anticipated sequel suffered through years of development hell before finally seeing the light of day. The original was widely panned by critics, but blew away fans worldwide, myself included. This installment received equally cold reception from critics, but it also did not impress fans nearly as much.
I count myself among those less impressed individuals. I think the biggest problem with the sequel is the original is pitch perfect mayhem. Duffy, Flanery, Reedus, Dafoe and company captured lightning in a bottle and try as they might, doing so a second time was nigh impossible. That doesn’t mean All Saints Day was a disastrous trainwreck. On the contrary; it is mostly enjoyable, but the return to screen seems hokier.
Dafoe isn’t around to chew up the scenery as Special Agent Paul Smecker. His protege Eunice Bloom is in charge of chewing scenery this go ’round and Ms. Benz does an excellent job as the Southern spitfire. She can’t quite match Dafoe’s intensity (honestly who could), but she looks damn good trying. As Romeo, Clifton Collins Jr. is also given a lot of opportunities to puff up and act the fool on behalf of the brothers. These two, when combined with the MacManus boys, make for quite an odd team not to mention the three detectives from the original who too are drawn back into the fray.
Yakavetta and his men’s story seems to flounder a bit, also being more comical in their endeavors to anticipate the boys wild movements. Their plot has to share time with a blast from Noah’s past that takes the form of repeated flashbacks as Noah stews restlessly in Ireland.
Duffy retains the brothers’ stylish and over-the-top killings and manages to double the body count in the process. All Saints Day has plenty of carnage, a fair amount of laughs, and a couple of interesting surprises which should make many of their fans, and action fans in general, very happy. It just doesn’t quite measure up to to its original, but how often does a sequel accomplish such a feat?