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Norman Reedus, right, and Sean Patrick Flanery reprise their roles as avenging Irish Bostonians in The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.

2 out of 4 stars


The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

  • Written and directed by Troy Duffy
  • Starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Julie Benz, Billy Connolly, Clifton Collins Jr., Judd Nelson, Robb Wells, Peter Fonda and Willem Dafoe
  • Classification: 14A

Movies are generally made by refined types who came of age listening to Talking Heads - wine drinkers, let's call them. Without even trying, they cut themselves off from the vast, vaguely resentful demographic that grew up on Guns N' Roses and (non-imported) beer.

No surprise, then, that when a beer guy somehow gets a movie made, wine drinkers - the film industry - smirk and look the other way. No surprise, either, that the movie goes right to video. Nor, perhaps, should we be truly shocked when the scruffy reject becomes a hit anyway.

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Such is the story of the cult favourite The Boondock Saints , a 1999 film with lots of slow-motion shoot-'em-ups and a soundtrack cranked way up to 11. Made by a New England pit bull named Troy Duffy, The Saints made it into only five theatres, and was whacked by critics, but eventually raked in over $50-million (U.S.) in DVD rentals and sales. (Duffy reportedly never made a cent.)

Now, 10 years later, comes the inevitable sequel, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day , the story of the chain-smoking, Jaysus-loving McManus brothers - two fine Irish lads, native Bostonians who have been hiding out on the Emerald Isle, Corleone-style (they've even grown beards), but must now return home to avenge the death of a beloved parish priest.

Arriving stateside, the brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) land smack in the middle of a gang war, a vicious contest involving gun-toting Irish and Italian hoodlums. Why Italians? Well, tradition. There is a history of tubby Italian screen mobsters from The Godfather 's Luca Brasi to Fat Tony on The Simpson s. And filmmaker Duffy enjoys filming cool, super-slow-mo sequences featuring bullet-riddled jelly bellies.

There are also a number of "funny" scenes that include fat, naked gangsters. More jiggling. And sometimes, for a change of pace, we get fat, hairy Italians wearing nothing but bright, skimpy underwear.

In fact, every scene here is supposed to be cool or funny, sometimes both at the same time. Imagine Quentin Tarantino if he got his brow lowered. Duffy's film even resorts to that kindergarten comedy staple: turned-around names. The presumably ill-equipped, gay FBI agent here is named - wait for it - Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe).

Other characters include a leggy FBI agent ( Dexter 's Julie Benz trying out a kooky Tennessee Williams Southern-belle accent), and Peter Fonda talking baby-I'm-a-want-you Italian.

While every shtick is as obvious and overemphatic as the guitar riff on Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water , The Boondock Saints II does, from time to time, display a vulgar charm. Or maybe it just wears you out. Both wine and beer drinkers at its Toronto premiere laughed in harmony at the scene where the Italian mob leader (Judd Nelson) smacks a traitorous underling with a cured, three-foot sausage.

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Special to The Globe and Mail

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