Take a heaping helping of warmed-over Tarantino, a hunk of recycled Scorsese and a dollop of second-hand Godfather, and what you end up with is Troy Duffy’s The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. I watched the original Boondock Saints (1999) (director Duffy’s first—and only other—feature) somewhere in the range of six years ago and remember little about it other than my reaction, which was a complete dumbfounded confusion toward the film’s rising cult status. And I have to say, after watching its sequel, I’m even more baffled and bewildered.
The Boondock Saints II picks up presumably 10 years after the events of The Boondock Saints, with fraternal twins Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus)—aka The Saints—hiding out on an Irish sheep farm with their father, Il Duce (Billy Connolly), and wearing atrociously cheesy fake beards. When they get word that a Boston priest has been murdered in the style of The Saints own vigilante calling card, the boys head to the barn, give themselves haircuts with sheep sheers, and travel to Massachusetts for revenge.
There’s no real plot, just a collection of set pieces and flashbacks that fill in the gaps surrounding all the goings on. This might’ve worked if the action scenes had little going for them other than the occasional bit of slow motion. But even that’s regrettable, since every second chewed up is one second I could’ve not been watching this movie.
The Saints themselves are portrayed as lovable goofs who just happen to go around murdering large groups of people willy-nilly. Most of their forays into gun fighting end up devolving into some brand of screwy mishap full of high jinks, which is a greater symptom of what’s wrong with the entire movie—it’s simply too jokey. It’s not just crammed full of broad humor, but the nadir of hokey comedy. We’re talking a few steps removed from “pull my finger” here.
But the movie doesn’t care. The movie doesn’t care about anything, really. And you know why? Because it’s just oozing testosterone. Or at least that’s what it constantly bombards you with, complete with a monologue on what makes manly men manly. But if all this machismo male bonding worries you, do not fret, because the characters make a point of noting every few minutes how they’re not gay. Of course, I’m not sure who would think such things, especially in a movie with exactly one female in it and a couple of heroes who can perfectly coif their hair with farming implements.
There’s been an attempt at bringing in better on-screen talent this time around, which is nice seeing as how many of the returning supporting actors from the original film would be better served in used-car commercials. The only problem is that the name talent doesn’t fare too well either, unless you have a firm suspension of disbelief. You have to believe that Judd Nelson can be menacing, that Clifton Collins Jr. doesn’t look idiotic in his pro-wrestler-mullet wig, that Billy Connolly can look like a badass and not an uncomfortable old man, and that Peter Fonda’s Italian accent doesn’t sound like Chico Marx. Actually, if you can believe these things, you can probably believe this is a good movie. Rated R for bloody violence, language and some nudity.