The Boondock Saints (1999)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Unrated)
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Overall Rating 75%
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Ranked #643
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Connections: The Boondock Saints

Tired of the crime overrunning the streets of Boston, Irish Catholic twin brothers Conner and Murphy are inspired by their faith to cleanse their hometown of evil with their own brand of zealous vigilante justice. As they hunt down and kill one notorious gangster after another, they become controversial folk heroes in the community. But Paul Smecker, an eccentric FBI agent, is fast closing in on their blood-soaked trail. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: August 31, 2007
And shepherds we will be,
for Thee, my Lord, for Thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand;
that our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
and teeming with souls shall it ever be.

I'm sure you've all seen this poem in blogs and forum signatures all over the interweb. Normally, this type of attention is usually reserved for things like My Chemical Romance lyrics, but every now and then something of actual quality gets its due credit. Even blind squirrels will find an occasional nut.

The MacManus twins, Connor and Murphy, are two deeply religious Boston men who don't have a lot of ambition in life. They work at a slaughterhouse, attend mass, and then drink with their Italian buddy, David Della Rocco, at the local Irish pub. While celebrating St. Patty's Day, the bartender just finishes telling them that his bar had been bought out by the Russian Mafia, whenn three Russian mobsters enter and tell the group that the bar is closing immediately. None too happy about their friend being pushed around the MacManuses, Rocco and the other patrons beat the Russians in a fist fight. The following morning their bodies are found in an alley, surrounded by Boston's finest trying to piece together what happened. After he listens to their shoddy deduction theories, FBI Agent Paul Smecker steps in and announces the he is taking over the investigation since the victims are connected with the Russian Mafia. With just a quick once-over of the crime scene, he figures out exactly what has happened and calls a manhunt on Connor and Murphy. Meanwhile, said siblings are at a Catholic hospital, half-naked and looking quite the worse for wear. After hearing they are wanted men, they willingly head down to the police station to turn themselves in. Meeting with Smecker, the two tell their story of the bar fight the night before and are let off for self defense. In an effort to avoid the media, they spend the night in an empty jail cell where both brothers are simultaneously jolted from their sleep by a Divine Calling. "And whosoever shed man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. Destroy all that which is evil, so that which is good may flourish." With this new ambition, they set out to stamp out the sadistic works of organized crime rings running the city.

This one is usually written off as just another pointless, overly violent Tarantino clone. Sure, writer/director Troy Duffy gives Quinton a few nods here and there, mostly with his use of an "out of sync" plotline, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a clone. Its message is more of a social commentary than anything else. Maybe not so far as to say everyone should go out and kill murderers and rapists, but merely the acknowledgment that everyone is thinking about it. The man was inspired to write the screenplay after coming home one evening to see a dead women being taken from a drug dealer's apartment across the hall from his own. That incident, along with thousands of similar happenings across the country, absolutely disgusted him. The Boondock Saints is the result of the man blowing off steam. If he couldn't solve the problem himself, then by God he would create a world where he could.

Murphy and Connor were played by Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery respectively. In a movie that admittedly puts the big picture ahead of its smaller parts, I'm glad to see they were able to differentiate the two characters. It would have been very easy to let the McManus twins be two peas in the pod and get away with it, but as it is, Connor is a lot more reserved and introspective than his brother. Of course, two Irish men in Boston are going to talk with a brogue, and further props to their work in picking up the accent. Sure, it sounds easy, but after watching some of the early takes, it's obvious to see that they both had to put quite a bit of work into it. David Della Rocco, who interestingly uses his own name in the movie, was pretty damned good in his own role as well. Something of a sidekick, he still shines in quite a few moments, most notably the argument with his hooker girlfriend over her cat. Despite the best efforts of those three however, Willem Dafoe absolutely steals it as Agent Paul Smecker. Smoothly shifting from his smooth, cocky demeanor in the beginning of the investigation to completely losing it as each crime scene comes up empty, this is one hell of a testament to his talent.

After it built up its small cult status, the sequel, All Saint's Day, has just been greenlit. Personally, I've got rather low hopes for it. This is one of those movies that stands just fine on its own, and any extra help along the way is probably going to do more harm than good. After all, the exposition is this movie's biggest strength, and the biggest thing a sequel is gonna offer is the on-going work of the Saints. That is, I have a feeling its base is going to be found in the action sequences. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it would be quite a letdown after this one. Hopefully, Duffy is able to pull a little more originality out of his hat. One last thing I have to point out is that even though religion is a major plot point here, it's not presented in that "ram it down your throat" way. So any non-religious people having second thoughts, worry not. Eight years after it's release, despite initially crashing, this movie is slowly building up its fanbase. Better late than never I suppose. 9/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 08/31/2007, 11:40 AM
This has always been one of those films I thought to be highly overrated. But, it doesn't remind me of Tarantino nearly as much as it reminds me of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". I just found the film boring. It did steal from a lot of sources, I didn't find the writing that original and it kind of just seemed flat. I remember being really disappointed when I finally got around to seeing this. 4/10.
ThunderStruck5a #2: ThunderStruck5a - added 08/31/2007, 12:37 PM
about two or three years ago my friends and i must have watched this movie a whole lot one summer (inbetween halo tornements) and we all thought it was just such a kick ass movie. we were also kids but im sure its still pretty awsome.
Crispy #3: Crispy - added 08/31/2007, 04:26 PM
Actually, I've been meaning to look into that, especially if you're grouping it with this one. Besides that, and I know you're not a fan of him, I've been meaning to look up some of Statham's earlier work.
QuietMan #4: QuietMan - added 08/31/2007, 10:35 PM
I heard about this movie b4 it got released on dvd in the here so the 1st version i saw was the german release ( frankly the best release) that i d/l, I was one of those people that over hyped it i guess but I really enjoyed it. I never saw how this reminds people of Tarantino movies gotta agree with Meanie much more like a Guy Richie film
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 09/30/2007, 10:47 PM
Good movie, but very overrated. I definitely see the Guy Richie influence, and Tarantino, and a handful of other directors. 7/10
Griffinheart #6: Griffinheart - added 09/30/2007, 11:49 PM
I'd have to disagree. This is one of my favorite movies, and I think it warrants a 8-9/10 easily.
Mojokc #7: Mojokc - added 02/09/2009, 11:19 AM
I loved this movie. Ok so it has elements seen in many other movies done by great directors but you know what name any movie coming out that hasn't done the same? The acting was great, plot semi-believable and the scene with the Cat is one of the absolute funniest things I have ever seen on film. By no means is this the end all be all of action movies or as I like to refer to them "Time warp" movies like Pulp fiction or just about any Tarantino film, but it holds its own nicely. In my opinion a solid 8/10
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