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The Boondock Saints (1999)

Thou shalt not kill. It's the one commandment they cannot keep.

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 108 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18


It’s easy to see why The Boondock Saints is a cult classic. It’s loud and different, packed full of action, a riotous performance from Willem Defoe and it’s got two guys living the American wet dream – killing bad guys with impunity. That’s if all this is your kind of thing though. And for many it isn’t.

The Boondock Saints is about two Oirish brothers, Connor (Flanery) and Murphy (Reedus) MacManus, who kill two members of the Russian Mafia in self defence. After this first accidental brush with the underworld, the boys then actively go seeking out the bad guys to mete out divine retribution to as many of Boston’s underworld as they can manage. On their case is unconventional (read total mental case) Detective Paul Smecker (Defoe) and Il Duce (Connolly), a killing machine released from prison by an Italian crime boss (Rota).

Troy Duffy’s movie sure is bombastic and schizophrenic. There are flourishes that work and those that don’t and some that feel timeless and others that already feel dated. One nice touch is that before each pretty unique action set piece unfolds the scene cuts to the aftermath and the goings on are explained away by Smecker. At the risk of sounding old, one of the problems of Duffy’s direction is that the soundtrack is a little too overwhelming – in other words a little loud – and there needs to be more moments for the action on screen to speak for itself. It is very entertaining though and has a great story and interesting characters.

Willem Defoe certainly steals the show as the camp, classical music loving, cross dressing, genius Detective who ties the narrative of the movie together. He’s played some weirdos in his time but surely he will never outdo Detective Smecker. The brothers are lovable however, to the untrained ear Norman Reedus’s Irish accent seems a bit dodgy yet almost passable, but to the Irish ear it is a massacre of the Gaelic tongue. Being Irish and all, Flanery’s accent is pretty convincing.

It's Got: Characters to root for, a popular plot device, porn legend Ron Jeremy

It Needs: More quieter moments, work doing on that accent

DVD Extras A theatrical trailer is all we get DVD Extras Rating: 1/10


The ridiculous and over-the-top nature of two Irish lads living the American wet dream is both the making of and the downfall of The Boondock Saints. Definitely one for the love-it or hate-it category.