All Saints Day
- Rated R
- Buy the Blu-ray
All photos © Sony Pictures
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
he story behind the making of the original “Boondock Saints” is like a modern day fairy tale, but the story behind its sequel is even more amazing. For anyone familiar with the 2003 documentary, “Overnight,” the sheer idea that egotistical bartender-turned-filmmaker Troy Duffy would ever get another shot after he pissed away a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would sound like the ramblings of a mad man. But thanks to the countless pleads for a sequel from his rabid supporters, Duffy has been given a chance to repay their kindness with a movie exclusively for the fans. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any good, because although “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” is loaded with everything that made the original so much fun, it also shares many of the same faults that were ignored by most the first time around.
It’s been eight years since the MacManus brothers last took to the streets of Boston to rid the city of organized crime, and in that time, they’ve been living a quiet life in Ireland with their father (Billy Connolly). But when they learn that a beloved priest has been killed by a group of mobsters looking to frame the MacManus brothers for the murder, Connor (Sean Patrick Flannery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) hop on the first boat back to avenge his death. This time around, however, they have a lot more help thanks to friends both old and new, including a Mexican madman named Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.) and FBI agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz), the protégé of Paul Smecker.
Fans have been waiting for this movie for quite some time, but that usually only raises expectations even higher, so it’s hard to imagine that they won’t be somewhat disappointed. Though Duffy does a pretty good job of giving the sequel a life of its own (namely through a series of flashbacks exploring the origins of Billy Connelly’s Il Duce), there’s also a lot of material that’s been recycled. Thankfully, both Clifton Collins Jr. and Julie Benz provide some of the best moments in the film, despite the fact that they’re essentially retreads of characters from the first movie. Collins Jr. packs quite a punch as the flashy, loud-mouthed third Saint, while Benz (although she takes some time to grow on you) brings almost as much fun to the role as her predecessor, Willem Dafoe.
Where the movie fails is with the returning characters. Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus are given very little to do other than shoot guns and crack gay jokes, while Connelly hardly appears at all. The decision to bring back the Boston police detectives played by Bob Marley, Brian Mahoney and David Ferry, however, is what ultimately kills the film. These guys are terrible actors, only made worse by Duffy’s amateur dialogue, and though they weren’t as distracting in the first film when serving simply as comic relief, the fact that they play a much bigger role in this installment will have some running for the exits. If you can stomach the first 30 minutes, "All Saints Day" does get better, but like most sequels, it never lives up to the reputation of the original.
Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
Sony has put together a really solid collection of bonus features for the film’s Blu-ray release, including two audio commentaries and an excellent production featurette (“Unprecedented Access”) about making the film. Though the commentary by writer/director Troy Duffy and his cast may be the more entertaining of the pair, the track featuring Duffy by himself allows for a more informative discussion about the movie. Also included are a few deleted scenes, an intimate conversation between Duffy and Billy Connolly, and Blu-ray exclusive extras like interviews with the cast, a rundown of the weapons used in the film, and footage from the panel at last year’s Comic-Con.