After the first Boondock Saints was a financial failure in its theatrical run, it seemed like first time director Troy Duffy was done making films. But then word of mouth got around about a film that had two men going around playing vigilante, killing a lot of bad people in their native Boston. This appealed to a lot of people, and it became a cult classic, making over $50 million in home video sales.
Now, 10 years later, Most of the original cast has been called back to make a sequel, subtitled All Saints Day. Once again directed and written by Troy Duffy, this film finds the Saints, brothers Connor and Murphy (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) hiding in Ireland with their father, Noah (Billy Connolly). In the first film, they publicly executed someone, so they had to flee. I guess their mission from God wasn’t that important after all, or else they would have continued killing people. Oh well, that small point only negates any possible motivating factors they had before.
Regardless, news reaches them that a priest has been killed, using their signature style. The dead priest was shot with two guns, and had coins placed on his eyes. Not happy that they were set-up, and also a little upset that a priest was murdered, they decide to head back to Boston to kill everyone that was involved with the murder. Logic, it would seem, is not something that the Saints use when making decisions.
The police and FBI also return, although there’s no Willem Dafoe this time around. I was disappointed by that, because his overacting was the funniest part of the previous film. In his place is Julie Benz, as another FBI agent that ends up working with the local police, investigating the crimes that the Saints may or may not have committed. Once again, they serve little purpose overall, and I would have liked to see them excluded.
Seeing as how the Saints no longer have a third person in their group, they recruit someone else. While getting back to America, we watch a Mexican fighter by the name of Romeo (Clofton Collins, Jr.) who defeats another fighter while handcuffed. Seems like a good person to recruit when all you’re interested in is murdering people. He serves the same purpose as Rocco did in the first film, except he doesn’t get to determine who the Satins go after; they already have a target, after all.
But doesn’t making this a strict revenge flick defeat the entire purpose of the first film? Previously, they only targeted bad people, and did so because God told them to. This time, they’re killing select people, leaving out anyone else who’s “bad”, because they’re focused on certain individuals. What happened? They didn’t lose faith, I don’t think. They still carry around crosses, and say the same lines before executions, so that can’t be it.
I’ll tell you what I think happened. I think that director and writer Troy Duffy spent a long time crafting the first Boondock Saints film, and never planned on making a sequel. After the disappointment box office return, and the disheartening experience he may or may not have had in getting his first film created, he never thought that a second film would be made. I figure that he returned to his day job or something. And then he was approached to make another film. But he had to get it done quickly, and didn’t get enough time to think about these things. He also had to balance finding a decent enough story, while also throwing in enough things to please the devote fans that allowed him to even create another one of these.
The result is a film that doesn’t make complete sense when looking at it as a continuation of the series, and also one that feels really derivative of Duffy’s only other film. While the plot is different, the characters are all the same, and there isn’t much different to see here. Everything that happens in this film has been seen in other films before, and easily done better.
One of the problems that the first Boondock film had was lackluster action scenes. Once again, this rings true. The only difference is that the action scenes take a long time to get going, with their only being one in the first 45 minutes or so. But once they do get going, they aren’t all that enjoyable, serving only to have people shoot at one another, and have the Saints do exactly what they say they will do.
Look, there’s a reason that Duffy didn’t get any work after his first film: It wasn’t all that good. Bad movies sometimes get a cult following, and that’s what happened here. It had so many problems, and all that All Saints Day goes to prove is that the problems weren’t a fluke. His writing, style — whatever you want to call it — that is where the problems lie. If they decide to make another Boondock Saints film, leave its creator out of it, and you’ll likely get a better film.
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is, more so than anything else, a cash-grab film. The first Boondock Saints made a lot of money with home media, and therefore, we got a second one. It feels rushed, going against everything that the first film stood for, while also going to prove that the first film’s problems came from its writer and director, not from anywhere else. This is another poor action film, only this time, there is less action, making it even worse than the original.