“Boondock Saints,” the 1999 film that achieved cult status on DVD, was a ridiculously over-the-top action film about a pair of Irish-American twins who set out with guns and some reckless and boozy bravado to rid Boston of criminals and mafia.
Writer-director Troy Duffy, a former Los Angeles bartender, had no experience in movies when his screenplay for “Boondock Saints” became a sensation in the late ’90s.
Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein took in Duffy as his next Quentin Tarantino or Kevin Smith, but Duffy’s bullying behavior and swelling ego got him kicked out of Tinsel Town before he had even gotten through the gate.
Ten years after the original, Duffy has managed to reunite his cast for “Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.”
The film opens with the two MacManus brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus) on a hillside in Ireland herding sheep. Along with Poppa M (Billy Connolly), they are laying low since the last time they were seen in public (at the end of the first film), they executed a mob boss in the middle of a courtroom.
The brothers are soon pulled back to Boston, hellbent on avenging the murder of a local priest. Catholicism runs deep throughout “Boondock Saints II”: The MacManus brothers boast huge tattoos of Jesus on their backs, chant spooky-sounding scripture and always pray over the dead bodies of their victims.
Instead of offering a picture of urban decay and crime, the film gives us only cardboard cutout mobsters. It spends its energy in highly orchestrated gun fights and assassinations.
Cloaking vigilante justice (not to mention casual racism and homophobia) in religion eventually turns “Boondock Saints II” from merely a bad movie to a distasteful one.
“Boondock Saints II” is playing at the Magic Lantern Theatre.