For those who wondered what became of the MacManus brothers, Michael and Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus) and their Da (Billy Connelly after the credits rolled on THE BOONDOCK SAINTS back in 1999, there is finally a sequel, and a brash and bracing piece of work it is. Stylish, tongue-in-cheek, and audaciously operatic, it brings the brothers out of retirement and back into the vigilante justice business.
It’s the murder of a Boston priest in his own church that starts the action. The lone assassin, a man with height issues, mimics the brothers’ trademark dual shots to the head and a penny on each of the dead mans eyes. The local authorities jump to conclusions, but the FBI special agent, Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz), isn’t fooled. With a graceful circumnavigation of the crime scene, made all the more impressive for being accomplished while wearing four-inch stiletto heels over her seamed black stockings, she points out the obvious flaws. It comes as something of a relief to Greenly, Duffy, and Dolly (Bob Marley, Brian Mahoney, David Ferry), the three Boston cops who catch the case, but only momentarily. Having an FBI agent, particularly a special agent, particularly a smart one, particularly a toothsome blonde with a honeysuckle accent and tight-fitting skirts, makes them very, very nervous. They’re the ones who collaborated with the brothers all those years ago and jail time for ex-cops never goes well.
As for the brothers, who have grown as shaggy as the sheep they’ve been tending in the boonier regions of Ireland, they see the copycat killing as a personal affront, and head back to Boston to deliver their particular brand of Old Testament justice, complete with a prayer for the soon-to-be dead just before they pull the triggers in unison. Along the way, and in the interest of being as multi-cultural as possible, they pick up Romeo (Clifton Collins, Jr), a Mexican with self-esteem issues and a sentimental side that shows up when he’s trusted with serious firepower.
For all the charisma that Flannery and Reedus bring to the brothers and their exuberant tattoos, Collins holds his own. The brothers brawl and bond with each other by doing so, but when Romeo reaches detente with a hostage while searching for the right tag line to yell after the coming brouhaha, it’s so wacky that it’s irresistible, plus Collins has such a neediness that having the other guy duct-taped doesn’t necessarily put him in charge. Benz, as the most adult, and possibly the most dangerous, person of the piece, basks in the puerile environment as the adult supervision with a serene smile like a cat who has eaten every canary in sight, While everyone involved is seriously dedicated to producing a light-hearted, if loud, piece of entertainment, no one involved is taking it too seriously, and that’s a good thing. The point of the exercise is to create a testosterone-rich evocation of what it means to be a manly man, complete with a rap smack dab in the middle of things just to set the record straight.
BOONDOCK SAINTS 2:ALL SAINTS DAY is as visually adventurous as it is fast-paced and fun. It would be a disservice of an almost, you will pardon the expression, sinful nature to mistake it for anything deep, or anything more profound than the hellzapopping fireworks show that it is.