With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner and Walking Dead fans sporting “If Daryl Dies We Riot” t-shirts, it’s about time to learn about The Boondock Saints, starring Norman Reedus (Daryl of The Walking Dead fame) and Sean Patrick Flanery (Dexter, The Young and the Restless). In 1999 an unknown writer/director named Troy Duffy made his mark with The Boondock Saints, a movie that has since been living in cult infamy. Set in Boston the story begins on St. Patrick’s Day in an Irish neighborhood where brothers Connor and Murphy MacManus work at a meat packing plant by day and drink beer with their friends by night. Following a violent encounter with local Russian mobsters, Murphy and Connor believe they are called by God to protect their neighborhood by killing evil men. Their rules are simple: do not kill, do not rape, do not steal, but for those who do the Boondock Saints, “will send you to whatever God you wish.”
The Boondock Saints isn’t the typical action movie. It mocks action thrillers with bloated shootouts and suave heroes who never miss a shot while flying through the air or jumping behind a couch. They stumble through their rough-hewn plans by a combination of luck and roughneck guts. It isn’t revenge that drives the MacManus brothers, like many action stars, it’s the expectation that a positive difference will be made by killing their community’s villains. These guys may be antiheroes, passing capitol judgment on their foes, but the story isn’t melodramatically layered with a hard knocks backstory. Connor and Murphy are just average guys pushed to the limit by the indecency and violence around them. What makes the story supremely interesting is the notion that God would anoint someone to kill as a means of protecting the innocent. While the saints have no qualms with this calling, the profoundly observant FBI Agent Paul Smecker tries to piece together who is taking out all the lowlifes in Boston...and decide if he wants to stop them.
Though the premise is philosophical and complex, Duffy and his cast bring plenty of humor with their bartender’s mismatched proverbs, bizarre soundtrack choices, and exuberant character tirades. But for people who are tired of injustices and violence dictating their lives, tired of seeing criminals never pay for their crimes, it’s a movie worth seeing. The film’s major downfall is in not having a single decent female character. Ladies are sidelined, often not in a very flattering light, while the boys cause and solve trouble.
Reedus and Flanery take on the roles of Murphy and Connor, respectively, with Willem Dafoe as Agent Smecker, Billy Connolly as Il Duce, and Duffy’s real life friend David Della Rocco as the loveable, inept package boy Rocco. The film is Rated R, which it earns in violence, strong language, and some nudity.
Special features on the DVD include director and cast filmographies, outtakes, trailer, and deleted scenes, which is worth it just for the scene “Mom Calls From Ireland.” The special edition includes writer/director commentary, commentary with Billy Connolly, deleted scenes, filmographies, outtakes, original theatrical trailer, and printable script. Both editions can be found for $10 to $20 at Wal-Mart, Target, and FYE.