Boondock Saints Reunion Classes Up NYC
It's been a decade since Troy Duffy's vigilante epic The Boondock Saints crawled from one of film history's most infamous development hells to become one of its most storied cult sensations. But there wasn't a lot of time for reflection Tuesday night in New York, where the local premiere of the long-awaited sequel Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day drew Duffy (above, second from left) and stars (L-R) Billy Connelly, Sean Patrick Flanery and the humble Norman Reedus to a rare audience with a monster crowd.
Seriously -- it was like rowdy, ribald, working-class Twilight, drawing hundreds of viewers hours early and boasting a line that queued up Broadway before elbowing a full block east near Union Square. (The film's world premiere hit its home setting of Boston the night before.) "When I rolled up this evening, I thought that line was for the Michael Jackson thing," Duffy said afterward in a Q&A with his cast; the director, who's been known to flatter himself on occasion, wasn't quite exaggerating. "You did this; the fans made it," Connelly later added, gesturing to the packed house as Reedus photographed its occupants flipping him off by the dozens -- apparently the customary state of Saints repose.
Duffy went on to explain the five years of litigation that held up his planned sequel, the rights to which were held up in the filmmaker's attempts to procure some of the home-video windfall that followed its perfunctory theatrical release in 1999. By the time that was resolved, Duffy said, even the skittish film industry who knew his brash reputation had to acknowledge it was "fiscally irresponsible not to make the sequel after a while."
Pretty much anyone who could return for Part 2 did return, led by Flanery and Reedus as the avenging Irish siblings battling organized crime in Beantown. According to Flanery, it didn't require much arm twisting. "Did you see that?" Flanery asked rhetorically following the film, pointing at the screen. "They basically hand you a box of 9 mm guns and say, 'F*ck up the bad guys!'" Newcomers include Julie Benz as an FBI special agent investigating the Boston slaughter, Clifton Collins Jr. as the boys' new Mexican sidekick (it's as tasteful as it sounds), and Judd Nelson stealing scenes as a paranoid Mafia boss out to protect his turf from his panic-room HQ in the Prudential Building. And plenty of loud new weapons make their debuts as well.
If you didn't like the first Saints, whose ridiculous plot and mega-stylized violence was mitigated in part by an inarguably classic Willem Dafoe performance, then you really won't like Saints 2. I think it's an improvement, however, if only for the risks it takes with an $8 million budget (yes, that really is Flanery and Reedus jumping from the Pru) and Duffy's continued, utter rejection of compromise. Stay tuned for more with the director as Movieline catches up with him this week; the film opens Oct. 30.
[Photo: Steven A. Henry/WireImage.com]