A sequel is generally expected to provide more of the same, but every so often, a fresh installment not only meets but exceeds the original. For fans of the original underground hit, the sequel we were all wishing for has arrived.
Word has reached the shores of Ireland that a priest has been killed in Boston, Massachusetts. What is most unusual about the heinous crime isn’t so much the act itself as to the way it was done; the murder follows the modus operandi of the legendary “Saints” killers who have been missing since publicly executing a mob boss. It’s obvious that whoever perpetrated the crime did so with the knowledge that it may well bring the Saints back to U.S. soil for bloody vengeance, but there’s one fatal flaw in the assassin’s plan: it’s going to work.
Like many, my first experience with The Boondock Saints was long after any theatrical run. With no knowledge of the sorted history bringing this film to the big screen, it was a feast of memorable characters, stylized violence, and twisted humor tied together by a simple plot: what to do with those above the law. Now the MacManus brothers have returned (again played by Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus), but the new story is both darker yet still just as zany. For any fans worried that anything has tainted their beloved Saints, the plot comes together like a mirror breaking in reverse, scattered pieces that suddenly falls perfectly together to become crystal clear. It’s exactly what you wanted plus a few things more (thanks, Troy! Can we call you Troy?)
Writer/director/producer Troy Duffy knows his story and runs with his film like a child with scissors. All Saints Day furthers the stylization of the original, beginning with the discovered aftermath of a crime scene before someone starts theorizing how it all went down. Half the fun, however, is watching the corrected revisions of the embellished events that never happen as planned and are usually inspired by some other action flick. In spite of losses in the first film, a common question being asked by fans, “Is everyone back?” Let’s tentatively say yes, including paying respects to those lost in the original and in the time between the two films (and that’s about as much in spoilers as you’ll squeeze out of me.)
Saints newcomer Julie Benz (as a FBI special agent) steals every scene she’s in, even from the MacManus brothers themselves. Judd Nelson does a wicked turn as a paranoid mob boss, and there’s a few additional surprises worked into the cast as well. If every film as beloved as The Boondock Saints could enjoy a sequel this well-crafted and thought out, no film fan would ever complain about franchises again, plus there’s still enough wiggle room in the storyline to put one more Saints film out there. And while we’re waiting for Mr. Duffy to pool his talent together one last time? We’ll have a Coke.
(a four skull recommendation out of four)