It's always odd to see a director return to a successful film after a few years have gone by. In 1999 first-time director Troy Duffy made a film called The Boondock Saints. It gained a huge cult following and Duffy ended up being blackballed due to his attitude, never making another film. Last year he revealed he had secured funding for a sequel to his first film, and cut to 2009 and we have the continuation of the MacManus Brothers. Unfortunately, all the goodwill from Duffy's first film is lost with this moronic sequel that plays like a low-budget action film and simply rehashes the elements of the original.
Connor and Murphy MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus) are living a quiet life in Ireland along with their father (Billy Connelly). When a priest is killed in the same manner of the brothers past killings, they return to Boston. Once there they gain a new sidekick (Clifton Collins, Jr), seek to destroy the head of the Yakavetta crime family (Judd Nelson) and team up with the group of cops from the first film led by FBI agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz).
It's hard to find the good in this thankless sequel, especially considering how fantastic the original Boondock Saints is after ten years. In that regard the strongest aspect of The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day are the elements recycled from the first. A scene where the brothers are being transported in a box and start squabbling and beating on each other brings memories of a similar scene with them in an air shaft from the original. The best scene is when they're outside a building, cobbling together a plan that supposedly came from a film Connor saw. That's probably the most original moment and it's brought together with Murphy asking why they always have to deal with rope. That brings up all the little touches that are dropped in to remind fans of the original film. David Della Rocco returns in a few dream sequences along with the deceased cat Skippy to lend some laughs. The oddest thing is that this movie has a lot of quippy one-liners and humorous moments making it almost a straight comedy with a few action moments.
Unfortunately fans expecting this to be the fantastic sequel to a fantastic film will be sorely disappointed. Troy Duffy purely rehashes the original with the boys going after the Mafia, but tacks on a completely ridiculous and unnecessary side plot involving IL Duce, the boys father, and a mysterious man named The Roman. It's almost as if Duffy means to make his own Godfather II with the origins of the father but here it feels cliche and stupid when everyone wants the main focus to be on the MacManus brothers. The brothers themselves seem to be cast to the side throughout because not only do we have the stories mentioned above but there's a huge side story involving the three Keystone Cops from the first film and Eunice Bloom, the protege of Agent Smecker (Willem Dafoe). When Duffy manages to return to his core characters it's in blatant rip-offs of scenes from the first one. I mentioned the rope and the dream sequence with Rocco but there's also a rip of the boys fighting while the big mob boss gives a speech, mirroring the same scene in the original except the boss' speech is in English. It's almost like the director couldn't think of anything original so just repeated what he knew. When he does go for originality it's so terrible it's beyond funny. The cops all act like they're making a cheap B-movie with a lot of yelling and profanity. Duffy also seems to be making a music video in this film with a lot of cheesy shots of Julie Benz in various costumes and poses, excessive slow-motion and then rapid gunshots. The ending of this is also flat-out stupid, attempting to show the Catholic Church as some type of know-it-all corporation that can do anything which makes you say “Why did I stay through this?”
The acting in this is all over the board, ranging from enjoyable to terrible as all hell. Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus prove they still have what it takes to play the brothers MacManus but the movie doesn't focus on them nearly enough. Billy Connelly is also solid as the father and Clifton Collins, Jr. is funny as Romeo, the new sidekick although he's really channeling David Della Rocco so again it's not too original. Julie Benz gets the award for worst actress because her role as Eunice Bloom is so awful every time she appears the movie grinds to a halt, and she appears a lot! Duffy seems to be in love with her and always focuses the camera on her face for long lengths of time. Several scenes where she's trying to “recreate” the scenes of the crime she feels the need to act like a model, strutting in front of the camera and smiling. Her accent is a bad cross between Blanche Du Bois and Kyra Sedgewick from The Closer which is grating and she always feels the need to overemphasize her usage of the F-word. It doesn't help that Dafoe makes an appearance to slap fans in the face for having to watch her. The other insult is having Peter Fonda make a thankless appearance as an Italian! For some reason he plays the role incredibly stereotypical sounding like Mario meets a vampire.
The Boondock Saints II is so bad and it's a shame because the first is so original. Fans of the original will go see this, just be prepared for it to suck. If you haven't seen the original, just pretend this doesn't exist. The Boondock Saints II gets a paltry 2/5.