Blu-Ray Review: Cult Phenomenon Continues in ‘Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day’

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CHICAGO – The first “Boondock Saints” was so over-the-top that its abundance of style actually became substance. While I certainly don’t bow to the film like so many of its devoted fans, I totally get the obsession with it that led to a surprising sequel and even a comic book. The movie is fun. And that’s where the sequel fails. “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” is bloated and boring, missing the spark that made the first a surprising cult hit. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

The relatively simple script for “Boondock Saints” was one of the main reasons it worked. The Tarantino-esque structure of a lawman (Willem Dafoe) retracing the steps of two vigilante killers largely through slow-motion flashback wasn’t perfect but it was fun and structurally clever.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Video

“All Saints Day” picks up years after the murderous end of the first film with the two Macmanus boys (Norman Reedus & Sean Patrick Flannnery) in hiding with their father Il Duce (Billy Connolly). When a murder of a priest appears to both copycat the vigilante crimes of the saints and be a blatant attempt to bring them out of hiding, it unleashes a cavalcade of new supporting characters including comic relief played by Clifton Collins Jr., over-the-top villainy played by a horribly miscast Judd Nelson, and a sexy new agent played by Julie Benz.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Video

The overly complicated plot of “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” is once again mostly just an excuse to link together scenes of extreme, pointless violence. The first movie had a relatively concrete through line about the justified killing of evil men, but the new script by writer/director Troy Duffy is cluttered with flashbacks, subplots, and pure nonsense to the point that it runs nearly two hours.

As for the cast, Collins Jr. is annoying, Nelson is awful, and creating a bigger role for the movie-stealing Connolly was a mistake. Flannery and Reedus are good but the script lets them down by focusing so often on characters other than the two leads. And the absence of the great Willem Dafoe is noticeable even if Benz is better than expected.

After its initial box office failure, a sequel to “Boondock Saints” seemed highly unlikely. How ironic it is that something that fan appreciation forced into being has fallen into the same trap as big Hollywood blockbusters - the mistaken impression that more is always better. “All Saints Day” is far from awful and the technically impressive Blu-ray with its interesting special features helps the package but it seems funny to note that the ending of this film practically sets up another sequel as if it’s a guaranteed franchise now. If a third film does happen, Duffy and crew would be wise to go back to what worked about the first - the structure and style. Don’t overcrowd it. Focus on the Saints and their righteous fight for justice. Leave the rest for the comic books.

Special features on “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” includes deleted scenes, filmmaer & cast commentaries, “Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes,” “Billy Connolly & Troy Duffy: Unedited,” and the following exclusive to Blu-ray - “Inside the Vault: The Weapons,” “The Cast Confesses: Secrets From the Set,” and “The Boondock Saints Hit Comic-Con”.

‘Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day’ is released by Sony Pictures Home Video and stars Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr., Julie Benz, Judd Nelson, Peter Fonda, and Billy Connolly. It was written and directed by Troy Duffy. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 9th, 2010. It is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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