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Boondocks’ sequel a fresh addition to the original

Eric Prister | Thursday, November 12, 2009

The next installment of the cult classic series, “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day,” succeeded in the most crucial aspect of creating a sequel to a beloved movie — completely changing the plot, but retaining all of the aspects of the first movie that made it so beloved in the first place.

Director and writer Troy Duffy brought back actors Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus in as the two Boston vigilante killers affectionately called “the Saints.” The sequel follows the twin MacManus brothers on their trip back to Boston after many years of living with their father in Ireland. That quiet life is interrupted after they learn of the murder of a Boston priest, committed in their own style.

The “gratuitous violence” (as phrased by Reedus’ character, Murphy) that was ever-present in the original returns, highlighted in the impressive murder scenes which are characteristically shot in slow motion with a rotating camera angle around the boys. This is coupled with another favorite method used by the director — showing the murder simultaneously with the investigation of the crime — to give “Boondock II” a very similar feel to the original.

Introduced into the story are Romeo, an excitable and over-eager Mexican who joins the crew, replacing their previous accomplice Rocco, who was killed at the end of the original film. FBI Special Agent Eunice Bloom, played by Julie Benz of Showtime’s “Dexter,” follows in the footsteps of her flamboyant predecessor, Agent Smecker, played by Willem Dafoe in the original.

Romeo provides a much-needed comic relief in a movie that can cause numbness with over-the-top violence, and Eunice’s dominant and intelligent style of investigation is quite different, but just as entertaining, as Dafoe’s was in the first film.
Also providing comic relief was the return of three Boston police officers. Their role, more serious in the first movie, becomes humorous and lighthearted, which again is necessary in a movie with such serious and violent content.

As with the original, “The Boondock Saints II” has an excellent opening that draws in the viewers, but becomes somewhat jumbled in the middle. Duffy tries to combine many storylines, and the scenes seem to jump around without any coherent focus. They are eventually brought together in the end, however, and the movie wraps up in an exciting and satisfying way. The “Boondock” movies are by no means meant to be works of theatrical genius, and a second viewing of the movie would surely clear up the seemingly jumpy style.

The music throughout the movie was once again well done, truly capturing the excitement and mood of the movie. Duffy chose only artists who were unsigned in order to create a soundtrack that was uniquely “Boondock.” He once again succeeded with his choices, particularly the music during one of the opening scenes as the boys prepare to leave for Boston. The music is high-tempo and energetic, and truly sets the mood for the movie as a whole.

For those who enjoyed the first film, “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” should be exactly what they expected. It retains the most important aspects of the original without reproducing the same movie, and has a refreshingly new plot line. It could be considered somewhat more substantial than the first, but likely will not change the minds of those who did not enjoy the original. Overall, it succeeds as a sequel, a difficult achievement for which “The Boondock Saints” fans should be thankful.