Troy Duffy, the writer and director of “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,” spent years desperately seeking financial backing. After Sony finally picked up the option the film was supposed to be released to just 67 theaters. However, the fans of the cult classic demanded the heavily anticipated sequel to “Boondock Saints.” On Nov. 13th it was released nation wide.While most sequels to cult classic movies tend to pervert their original stories to a point where fans feel ostracized by the director, Troy Duffy stuck with the formula that made the original film extremely popular. The story follows the McManus brothers, two Irish Catholic twins in a quest to rid their small Boston town of mobsters and scumbags.
Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) start the movie hiding out in their motherland, complete with Jesus beards and hairstyles, following in their savior’s footsteps by becoming shepherds. The boys fled to Ireland following a public execution of a local mob head, along with their father Noah “ll Duce” McManus (Billy Connelly).
The boys still thirst for the job that they believe they were born to do. The “Saints” of Boston feel out of touch with their own lives while toiling away, living off the land. Connelly says of his sons “Peace, they say, is the enemy of memory. So it had been for my boys. For some time now, their past had felt like a dream. Then, suddenly, it was back.”
The boys hankering for their previous life does not linger long as they are visited by a priest with news of the execution of a Boston-based Catholic priest, a good man that the boys were familiar with because of his community service and dedication to the priesthood. Even more important, the murderer used the boy’s calling card from their own killing spree: two bullets in the back of the skull along with pennies in the eyes to pay for the ferry to the afterlife.
The boys travel back to Boston in search of revenge and eventually find themselves back to their old ways, knocking off every wise guy and hoodlum that gets in their way. During their search for the tiny assassin, Ottilio “Napoleon” Panza (Daniel DeSanto), the boys find themselves wrapped up in a search for a man bigger than the mob, a man that haunts the boys past more than they know.
The movie includes a look into the rise of glory from Noah “ll Duce.” In a Godfather-esque back-story, we learn about Noah’s roots as a leather worker who witnessed the murder of his father.
With the aid of his best friend Louie, Noah goes on a killing spree seeking vengeance for his father’s brutal murder. The back-story proves that the apple does not fall far from the tree, as the story of Noah is very similar to that of his sons.
Duffy was tasked with replacing several main characters from the original movie for his sequel. First and foremost, Willem Dafoe did not return as Special Agent Paul Smecker. Julie Benz was tasked to take this role, portraying Special Agent Eunice Bloom. Though Benz was much more aesthetically pleasing than watching Dafoe in drag, her character seemed like a cheap knock-off of the original Special Agent assigned to the “Saints” case.
Another gapping hole that Duffy had to fill was a sidekick for the McManus boys.
David Della Rocco was the ears and eyes for the boys in the original film. Rocco was a package boy for the mob so he was able to gather information. He also was crucial, living up to his nickname of “the funny man” to bring comedic relief to the hard-hitting, action packed film. Following his death at the conclusion of the first film, someone had to step in and take his place as a proper sidekick for the twins.
Though Della Rocco makes a few celestial appearances in the film, it is Clifton Collins Jr. that has to fill his shoes as Romeo. Connor and Murphy meet the Mexican fighter on their freighter from Ireland to the states and immediately befriend the tattoo-covered, Hispanic warrior. Collins Jr. succeeds in acting as the fool to support Flanery and Reedus’ dry witticisms, but his character does not stand up to its predecessor Rocco. Perhaps that is why Rocco makes three appearances in the film from the afterlife.
Also supporting the comedy are Boston’s most infamous, bumbling homicide detectives: Dolly (David Ferry), Duffy (Brian Mahoney) and Greenly (Bob Marley). The three detectives spend most of the film terrified of the brilliant Bloom, while all secretly, or in Greenly’s case, openly, enamored with her beauty. The three know that it is just a matter of time before she learns of their assistance with the McManus family’s killing spree.
They are well aware of what prisoners do to cops when they are locked up with the same murderers and thugs they put away.
The film is filled with plenty of laughs to ease the tension of the intense action sequences. The McManus family is willing to kill their way to the top of the mafia but eventually they find themselves caught up in a feud 35 years in the making.
Much like “Star Wars: A New Hope” was successful in connecting the viewer with sentimental characters, “Boondock Saints” has viewers supporting the McManus brothers in all their attacks on the evil empire of Boston. Connor and Murphy were a perfect match for Han and Luke. “All Saints Days” succeeds with the same formula that “Empire Strikes Back” did, intensifying the plot and revealing the true storylines that will force the action. Troy Duffy is eagerly waiting the chance to go forward with a third and possibly final installment in the “Boondock Saints” series. He claims that he wants to take care of his other projects first. For fans of the cult hit it appears like it might be another ten years before they find out the fate of the McManus twins.
After the gripping sequel fans will be desperate to hear the boys once again voice their famous prayer “shepherds we shall be, for Thee, my Lord, for Thee. Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, that our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to Thee, and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In nomine Patri.
Ken Schmidt is a fifth-year student majoring in English with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at KS609536@wcupa.edu.