The Boondock Saints was released back in January 2000, and like many small films, it found itself only being shown on a handful of screens, and didn’t come close to earning a fraction of its production budget back. Although, some of these small films find their way to DVD shelves, and it’s there that they can flourish in ways some may have not expected given their lackluster theatrical releases. The Boondock Saints was one of those rare films that picked up a huge following, and because of the passion of the fans, and those who worked on the film, nine years later, a sequel has finally been brought to the light of day.
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day takes place eight years after the first film ends, and we find the brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) back in Ireland with their father (Billy Connelly). The three have set up what seems to be a peaceful life having fled their home in Boston after their vigilante killing spree came to a head those eight years back. This peaceful escape doesn’t continue, however, as an innocent priest is killed back in Boston using the Saints vigilante killing methods to lure them out of hiding.
While catching a return trip back to Beantown upon a cargo ship, the brothers meet a feisty Latino by the name of Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.) who wants to join them in their crusade, and offers them his resources back in Boston in return. The brothers agree, with a few ground rules, but all in all, they’re ready to reign down vengeance once the boat docks.
A big fan favourite in the first film was FBI agent Paul Smecker, played by Willem Dafoe. Dafoe made this role much more than it would have been had it gone to someone else; and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that he stole the show the first time around. This time, his replacement is Julie Benz (TV’s Dexter, Rambo), who plays Special Agent Eunice, and while nobody could live up to the standards Dafoe set in the first film, Benz holds her own and makes an interesting addition to the crew.
Speaking of the crew, almost 10 years later, and fans of the original will be pleasantly surprised to find that a great deal of characters returned for the sequel – and not just the characters, but the original actors who played them as well. This adds a huge amount of value to the sequel, and makes it that much more meaningful overall as it’s pretty much an exact continuation of the story for almost everyone involved.
Writer/Director Troy Duffy took considerable care of his baby, as he didn’t rush this sequel into play. In fact, it’s been ‘in production’ almost immediately after the first one picked up a following, as rumours flew within the community, and Duffy himself said a sequel was coming; though after a while, hope began to fade. During that time, his visions were obviously clear as to how he wanted the sequel perceived, as the style, and substance within All Saints Day are rock solid. He took the concepts he used the first time around, and elaborated on them, making sure this wasn’t just a rehash of the old.
Sequels to beloved movies have pros and cons: on the plus side, they have a built in audience. On the downside, that same audience knows what it wants, and loves the original for a reason. Any major amount of tinkering, or unjustifiable changes can make them feel alienated, and as seen many times before, they will act as though the sequel never existed. Luckily, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is a film that fans of the original will likely be pleased with. While it doesn’t grab you with the same magic the first film had, it still grabs you, and makes sure it secures itself a place not far behind.
Released in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day looks great visually. There aren’t any moments where you find yourself distracted by any sort of blur, or fuzzy edges as everything in this transfer looks sharp. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital, and sounds solid. While some will have no problems, others may find themselves turning on the subtitles in order to clearly hear through some of the accents, or faster spoken dialogue at certain times. Overall, however, there’s no issue with the sound quality.
Deleted Scenes – As someone who isn’t a major fan of deleted scenes, mainly due to the fact that they’re usually deleted for a reason, I was curious to see what Duffy chose to cut. After watching the film, it’s nice to see that there were only two deleted scenes, and both, understandably cut. While one could have found a place, and would have been nice to have seen, it is also clear to see that it would’ve thrown the pacing of the film off dramatically, and it better left on the cutting room floor.
Director/Cast Commentaries – There are two separate commentaries, both with different cast members joining Duffy. Fans will no doubt get a kick out of hearing these guys all talking together, as they really love what they do with these characters, and that always helps make everything that much stronger.
Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes featurette – Coming in at just under half an hour, this behind the scenes pass takes you right into things with Troy Duffy, the producers, as well as the cast. It’s a great piece, that adds some interesting knowledge to certain scenes in the film, and fans will definitely want to check this one out.
Billy Connolly & Troy Duffy: Unedited – This featurette comes in at just under 10 minutes, and is just Duffy and Connolly talking about how he brought the original project to Connolly, and other trips down memory lane. It’s a nice piece, and shows how these two really enjoy one another’s company.
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day has had almost a decade of build-up and hype to live up to. While it doesn’t have the same affect the original did, it fits perfectly in the universe as the rightful continuation to the Saints story, and hopefully, we haven’t heard the last of the MacManus brothers.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. Directed by: Troy Duffy. Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr., Julie Bens, Peter Fonda, Billy Connolly. Running time: 117 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: March, 9, 2010. Available at Amazon.com
Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.