The original Boondock Saints was relegated to video store shelves before most would-be fans had an inkling it had passed them by in theaters. But eventually, chances are one night a friend would suggest watching this weird, violent movie about hot twin brothers with a serious gun fetish, Catholic complex, and Latin tattoos, and you'd pass the word along. Basically, Murphy MacManus (Norman Reedus) and Connor MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery) were blue-collar Irish guys who decided that they'd had enough of the scum on the streets and began wiping them out in various creative ways, although their favorite weapons were and remain the gun. Their buddy Rocco, a mob errand boy, was the de facto third Saint. Meanwhile, they're being tracked by a very odd FBI agent by the name of Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe in a fabulously bizarre performance) and three bumbling local cops. And then there's Il Duce (Billy Connolly), the infamous assassin who's finally paroled from prison.

Ten years later, the Saints are in Ireland with Il Duce, aka their dad, when the word comes that someone in Boston killed a priest they knew and tried to make it look like the Saints did it. Game on. The boys shed their woolly sweaters and their long hair and beards and return to Boston.


They pick up a new Saint on the way, Romeo (Clifton Collins Jr.), a Hispanic guy hooked into the Mexican mob in Boston. The new FBI agent on the case is Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz), a slick and smart Southern woman who wears high heels to murder scenes and wears her gun holster like an expensive belt. The Boondock Saints II offers more guns, more un-PC jokes ("A real man never says he'll just put the tip in and then just puts the tip in!"), and more mobsters – basically, just more of everything. Even Duffy admitted, "We definitely poured on the cheese factor sometimes with the story, and frankly a lot of the characters, we pushed that humor a little bit farther than we did last time."

Unfortunately, the cheese drowns out what was so attractive about the Saints and their quest the first time around. The original was a dark comedy – remember the cat? – and the brothers were obviously quite happy to drink a lot, get into bar fights, and generally act like bad boys, but they never would have said, "Let's do some gratuitous violence," like Murphy (Reedus) does as the brothers head towards another showdown in Boondock Saints II.

Smecker was totally over-the-top batsh*t awesome, and trying to bring in another character that's flatter than flat to replace him doesn't work. It takes quite a while for Bloom to get into her groove, but by then it's too late to really care about her. The dialogue is weaker, the characters are sillier, the plot is thinner, and even the mobsters are dumber. (And let's not even discuss either Judd Nelson as the mob boss with a panic room or the priest-killer with a height complex.)

Overall, as a Boondock Saints fan (not an uberfan with Boondock clothing or tattoos, mind you), I was disappointed by the sequel, even though it's not that bad. It's just not that good, either.