The Boondock Saints (1999)

boondock saints poster 1999 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Willem Dafoe's unhinged performance

Thinks it is cooler than it really is

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Boondock Saints

Studio:  Franchise Pictures/Brood Syndicate/Fried Films

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 4, 1999 (Munchen Fantasy Filmfest)/January 21, 2000 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

boondock saints connor murphy macmanus david della rocco sean patrick flanery norman reedus

David Della Rocco is kind of the D’Artagnan of the Saints…

Connor MacManus (Sean Patrick Flanery) and his brother Murphy (Norman Reedus) find themselves as unlikely heroes in a war on crime.  Teamed with their friend David “The Funny Man” Della Rocco (David Della Rocco), they go on a war on crime as messengers of God…and the criminals are taking notice.  The police are trying to track the killers who are only targeting criminals led by eccentric FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) and the mob leader Giuseppe “Papa Joe” Yakavetta (Carlo Roto) has released killer Il Duce (Billy Connolly) to nail the brother.  Everyone is gunning for the Saints and they will need God to survive.

Written and directed by Troy Duffy, The Boondock Saints is an action crime movie.  The movie faced production hurdles and the Columbine High School massacre led to a limited release.  The film received mixed to negative reviews but quickly gained a cult following.

boondock saints il duce billy connolly

Il Duce is coming for you!

I never was on The Boondock Saints bandwagon.  I wasn’t really interested in seeing it when it was released and when I finally saw it, I wasn’t that impressed.  It feels like The Boondock Saints is a movie that thinks it is cooler than it really is.

The story is told in a non-linear fashion that was especially popular at the time.  It largely involves Dafoe’s character showing up at a crime scene and then the events of what happened at the crime being shown.  The “Saints” aren’t bad, and the concept is just, but the execution isn’t great.  It tries way too hard.

A means in which it tries is to load the film with weird or kooky characters.  Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus are the head of the film and have their strict moral code…but neither brother is developed enough independently.  David Della Rocco is their friend played by…David Della Rocco (a friend of Duffy who named the character after him).  Billy Connelly has an underdeveloped role as the professional killer Il Duce and Carol Rota plays the big baddy with former porn star Ron Jeremy as one of his men.  The standout of course is Willem Dafoe as the self-hating gay detective Paul Smecker.  His character feels like he doesn’t know he’s in this film and is doing his own thing.

boondock saints willem dafoe paul smecker in drag

Now we’ve entered the Looney Tunes Bugs Bunny in drag phase of the movie…

The film has a lot of snappy editing, but the time jumping story could be told better.  The movie is violent but the violent feels pretty gratuitous and mostly for cool factor.  There were a lot of movies at the time that did that and felt like they were trying to emulate Tarantino (but poorly).

The Boondock Saints wasn’t very entertaining.  It following is large, and those who love it, love it.  It didn’t do much for me.  I feel that I’d rather just watch Pulp Fiction again instead of watching a less entertaining knockoff.  The Boondock Saints did end up returning in The Boondock Saints II:  All Saints Day in 2009.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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