Fans of Troy Duffy’s cult classic waited 10 years for the sequel, and it doesn’t disappoint. I can guarantee you this, if you liked the first one you’ll like the second one. That being said, it doesn’t exactly have the same goodness as the first. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good shoot’em up, action-revenge story that fufills everything a fanboy desires: inside jokes, fidelity to the concept and inside jokes.
There is very little bad about the film, but there is a fair amount that is mediocre. All Saints Day, is essentially a remodel of the original, paralleling the concept right down to the excentric and intelligent FBI detective, except this time it’s a women…and she’s hot.
Eunice Bloom, played averagely by Julie Benz (Dexter and Punisher War Zone), swoops in to the crime scene of a murdered priest, executed in such a fashion to make everyone believe it was done by the Saints. But the Saints have gone on the lamb in Ireland, but when they hear about the murdered priest they feel called out and return to Boston to continue their “virtuous” revenge killings.
Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus, reprise their rolls as the McMannus twins and Bill Connolly comes back as their father; all of whom more than live up to their characters. But the duo’s hilariously convoluted means of going about their crusade is interrupted by Clifford Collins Jr as the replacement for the beloved, but departed, Rocko, from the first installment, as the semi-dumb/emotional third wheel. Collins Jr overacting brings some normally great scenes down, not that he ruins the film, but just doesn’t live up to his predecessor.
This is the same problem that Julie Benz faces when trying to replace the incomparable Willem Defoe. But to Benz’s credit, it wasn’t all her fault. Duffy created Eunice Bloom as the protege of William Smecker (Defoe), and as such tries to carry over Smeckers oddities into Bloom; but it falls short. These character problems though are overcome by strong perfomances by the established characters and by Peter Fonda, who plays Billy Connolly’s archenemies in a revealing back story drama that rounds out the McMannus family and how the Saints carry on the family tradition of bloody vengeance.
There is a great twist in this film, that definitely leaves the door open for a third film without requiring one. All in All it’s a solid B action movie, but an over the top A fanboy movie. And given the mountain of challenges that Troy Duffy had to make this film, both legal and creative, you’d have to say it’s a pretty good effort on his part.
Starring Julie Benz, Clifton Collins Jr., Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Judd Nelson, Peter Fonda, Billy Connolly, David Della Rocco, Bob Marley, Sweeney MacArthur, and directed by Troy Duffy. (trailer for this film is on the trailers page of this site.)
Boondocks Saints II: All Saints Day opens in select theaters. Find the theater near you with the link!
Interesting Production Aside – The sequel for this cult classic began it’s journey in 2002 after Boondock Saints had picked up a strong college following of the limited theater release. Duffy reportedly had secured twice the budget for a sequel, a release date was announced for September 2005 but due to funding problems it never materialized.
After a legal battle with the owning studio, Duffy was able to secure the appropriate funding and rights to make the sequel: All Saints Day. But William Dafoe would be unable to rejoin the cast as Agent Smecker, resulting in the casting of Julie Benz as his protege.
As the sequel gained popular momentum at the 2009 comic-con, a trailer was demanded; but due to some promotional errors a trailer wasn’t released until September, leading some fans to question whether their would be a nation wide release.
Cool Screening Note
Last night I was fortunate enough to be at the first screening of the film here in Boston. Troy Duffy, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Bob Marley and Billy Connelly were at the screening and did a short Q and A afterwards. Most of the questions were the standard, “what was your favorite part”, but Duffy look some of those questions and formulated some curious responses.
The most interesting thing that resulted from this conversation was the above discussed production issues. But he did have some insightes into the difficulty in creating a sequel to the cult classic.
Duffy talked heavily about the fear that the production team felt about potentially disappointing the fan base. After all it was the fan base that took the 6 million dollar indie and made it into a cult classic, Duffy remarked (I’m paraphrasing here). He further discussed how fear gave way to focus and enjoyment of the project and he thought the common fear/stakes took the production to a higher level.
It was obvious to me that Duffy was incredibly nervous about this film reception. Although, he was certainly preaching to the choir with the audience, which was heavily made up of fan boys, who could not have not loved the movie.