Almost Famous: “Boondock Saints”

Guns + Irish accents = cinematic brilliance.

Title:Boondock Saints

Tagline: They’re on a Mission from God.

Category: Slick crime/action drama


There is a lot of crime in the world. Society has to deal with the fact that there are numerous rapists, murderers, and drug dealers in existence. We have the law on our side but it seems like it isn’t enough — mob leaders with the right kind of money have a Get Out of Jail Free card; serial killers are let go because of insufficient evidence; drug dealers with connections never get the chance to see the inside of a prison.

You have to admit sometimes you just want to do something yourself, but how far does one go? Troy Duffy explores this issue in his fictional action/crime drama “Boondock Saints.” On the days following Saint Patrick’s Day, two Irish Catholic brothers of South Boston believe it is time to take a stand and fight back the crime that has plagued their home.

With God giving them the strength and “the right,” they embark on a journey to eliminate two vicious mobs and anyone who defiles the laws of the Church. Hot on their trail is Agent Smecker of the FBI whose job it is to bring any murderer to jail, even those who are on a “mission from God.”

Major Characters:

The MacManus Brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery & Norman Reedus): A pair of devout Catholic Irishmen who attend mass every Sunday morning, speak several foreign languages, work at a meat-packing plant, and have a strong gripe against evil men. With a huge stash of weaponry, these guys go at great lengths to rid Boston of murderers while pissing off the local mafia. Women, prepare to swoon.

Agent Paul Smecker (brilliantly portrayed by Willem Dafoe): Probably one of the coolest characters ever created in straight-to-video movie history. Smecker is a homosexual FBI agent with a passion for classical music (reminiscent of Gary Oldman’s character in “The Professional”). He walks like a delicate man ready to shatter, but carries an inner ferocity that can make Mel Gibson’s “Lethal Weapon” character seem tame. Smecker is a crime-solving genius that practically carries the movie.

Memorable Movie Quotes:

“And shepherds we shall be — for Thee, my Lord, for Thee. Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, that our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command. We shall flow a river forth to Thee, and teeming with souls shall it ever be. In nomine patrie, et fili, et spiritus sancti.”

Why You’ll Like This Movie:

  • Doc, the bartender with Tourette Syndrome (so you know some funny shit is guaranteed to go down!) You may recognize this cute old man from the Fraggle Rock series.
  • Rocco, the Italian mob gopher and longtime friend of the MacManus brothers. He provides comedic relief and has a unique encounter with his girlfriend’s cat.
  • Detective Greenly, a silly cop of the Boston Police Department who also provides comedic relief. He’s pretty incompetent when it comes to a laying down what happened at a crime scene and generally becomes Agent Smecker’s little bitch. Gotta love those Boston cops and their accents.
  • Awesome action sequences — excellent use of slow motion with music provided by the band Boondock Saints. Go figure.
  • The movie’s irregular timeline — much like Quentin Tarantino’s style, the plot is chopped up in several key moments that fast forward through time and then rewind back again. Very cool.
  • As I mentioned above, the women will love the MacManus brothers. C’mon, a couple young Catholic boys with Irish accents, fluent in many languages, willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of justice and all that is good, and packed with finely ripped abs. They will make any woman realize there is a God.
  • It’s a great conversation starter — this movie deals with the ideas of capital punishment and modern vigilantism. What is just? What is right? Who deserves to die? Who deserves to live? Is the life of a murderer equal to that of a schoolteacher? You decide. I’m just here to watch a fucking movie.

Final Thought:

My friends and I were out looking for a movie during our spring break, and we came across “Boondock Saints.” Others told me how kickass this movie was, so we checked it out. Of course, they were right on the money.

This movie is several things: smart and slick. I always call this movie the “Intelligent Man’s Action Movie.” The issue of capital punishment smacks you in the face and makes you say “Hmmm …” Another important factor in this movie is how Troy Duffy tells the story. It’s not exactly the same way Tarantino does it with “Reservoir Dogs” or “Pulp Fiction.” It’s similar but still different. It reminds you of the style but at the same time keeps it refreshing and interesting to the audience.

After coming back from spring break, I told all my dormmates about this wonderful cinematic experience I had. Most shrugged me off thinking I just saw another porn movie or something, but I was able to convince others to watch “Boondock Saints.” But there was one problem: It seems as though independent movies have a hard time reaching the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I blame the Old Bay.

I called several video rental places in a 50-mile radius. Two Chestertown-based movie rental places didn’t have it. The one movie rental place in Centerville, the next town, also didn’t have it. The only place that did have it was a Blockbuster near the Bay Bridge.

So I called it in, reserved it, and drove with my friends Matt and D 45 minutes away to make it a Blockbuster night. When we got there, the young clerk dude had the movie in reserve for me and asked, “Have you seen this movie before?”

I instinctively said yes with a little gusto. He replied, “Oh my God! Isn’t it awesome? It’s like, nobody has ever seen it but those who have just love it!” I smiled and nodded in agreement.

The clerk’s statement makes “Boondock Saints” the ultimate example of the straight-to-video movie. It’s a gorgeous piece of cinematic treasure that surrounds itself in mystery and hides from those roaming the aisles of the local movie rental store. Almost like a Loch Ness Monster in VHS form. So go ahead and rent this little secret. I promise I won’t tell anybody. Although I’m sure you will.

Article © 2002 by Rob Roan