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'Saints' sequel sticks too close to previous plot

By Brendan Barnes, Staff Writer

It took nearly five years for "Boondock Saints II," the sequel to 1999's "Boondock Saints," to finally find a theatrical release. The question is, however, whether the long wait was justified by the film itself.

After an unremarkable opening sequence, the film shifts to the two Irish brothers (played by Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus), who wreaked havoc on Boston's criminal underworld in the first film, living quiet lives as shepherds. However, their secluded life comes to an abrupt end when a priest is murdered by the mob in a Church back in Boston, and the brothers decide to return and pick up where they left off ten years ago.

Replacing Rocco (David Della Rocco), the brothers' sidekick from the first film, is Romeo, played Clifton Collins, Jr. Willem Dafoe's superbly-acted character, gay FBI agent Paul Smecker, is replaced by an irritating Agent Eunice Bloom, played irritatingly by Julie Benz. The majority of the cast of "Boondock Saints" returns for the sequel, including Rocco, who appears in a lengthy dream sequence.

Yet, with so much of the original film still a part of "Boondock Saints II," the movie fails to equal, or even come close to, the power and bleakness of its predecessor. Part of the reason for this is that the new film does not bring anything new to the table; it relies on all the same basic plot points as "Boondock Saints" and the villains are basically all the same. The gunfights are more or less traced from the original—the brothers' squabbling once again leads them into a melee of bullets unprepared. The dark humor prevalent in director Troy Duffy's initial film, here, seems very forced and often misses the mark because it is self acknowledging; there are some moments, though, where Duffy gets some laughs, namely in Romeo's taste in guns.

Despite these setbacks, "Boondock Saints II" does manage to be entertaining at some points, if only because of the violence. The final gunfight rivals any from the original film, from its sheer ridiculousness to the countless number of bullets fired. What saves the film ultimately is the ending, which will be welcomed pleasantly by fans of the films.
Though the movie has been out for less than a week, Duffy has already announced intentions for a third film in the series. How practical a third film will be remains to be seen with how the second film fares at the box office. Regardless, it seems, from the second film, Duffy had one good idea and it materialized as "The Boondock Saints."

Consequently, Duffy stretches that idea into the second film, making it seem more like an afterthought to the first rather than a sequel. Moreover, unless Duffy manages to add a significant and innovative element to the story, a third film might not fare well with audiences and the box office, or, worse, not even get produced at all.

Sean Patrick Flannery (Right) and Norman Reedus (Left) are back in action in “Boondock Saints II (Photo Courtesy of movies.nytimes.com)

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