Directed by: Troy Duffy. So I know this is heresy and an affront to the status of this “cult classic”, (and to my friends who revel in this film’s cult status), and I think that if I was really in the right mood to suspend all of my judgement and hop aboard this Irish-American train of bewildering and unnecessary revelling in bro-violence under the strange veil of a celebration of Irish culture, Catholic mysticism, and rugged, chainsmoking, tattooed masculine violence, I might actually like this movie. But as it was, I had a really hard time ignoring the fact that this just isn’t very good. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a dimwitted celebration of gritty, lower-class Boston, Irish-American, tattooed, shirtless, righteous violence, etc, etc, etc, but let’s be honest with each other—this is no The Departed. This is no In Bruges. This is isn’t even Fifty Dead Men Walking. This is like a slightly less dumb version of Kill the Irishman (but really that’s splitting dumb hairs). Every character is a cartoon, the two leads would be cartoons if they had any character to begin with, the Italian Frank Zappa sidekick is a pretty horrible douchebag, and the plot is kind of nonexistent. What’s supposed to tie the whole thing together is the lively sense of humour (as lively as the many corpses that litter this movie), and an unquestioning feeling of spiritual elevation at the sound of choral music and Latin prayers. Of course, the other way to interpret all of this is to say that this isn’t really a “cult movie”, it’s a B-movie. The constant quick fade ins and fade outs only help to give it the air of a poorly planned, hastily edited B-movie. But at the end of the day, every character in this movie is a terrible piece of shit, and watching them for 2 hours isn’t meant to be illuminating of anything about society, but pure escapism, and I have a hard time jumping into escapism like that. The image of Billy Connolly with a silly hat and sunglasses and chomping a cigar in his mouth and carrying 12 guns on him isn’t remotely scary or even “cool”, but just kind of funny and silly and stupid. When you add in the blood-curdling late 90’s cock rock soundtrack (by the director’s own band I believe) and a small role by Ron Jeremy of all people—why would we ever want to see Ron Jeremy dropping n-bombs in a movie ever?—and you have a recipe for a not good movie. The one saving grace is the fact that Willem Dafoe is a great actor, and he apparently “got it” enough to give this role a pretty sizable boost of life, and it’s about the one thing you can really hold onto in this mess of a film to keep yourself from throwing up.
I guess I’ve said enough to fully enrage any uber-fans out there (and films like this only seem to spawn uber-fans, not normal fans). I’m probably just missing the Boondock Saints gene, and I’m incapable of appreciating the subtle and subversive perfection of this counter-culture gem. All this time I was watching it, I just saw a crappy movie. My mistake. Go ahead and watch Boondock Saints 2 without me.