THE BOONDOCK SAINTS. Divine messengers cleanse the city

“The Boondock Saints,” despite being 25 years old, is still a film with an edge, on one hand full of violence and dark scenes, on the other hand, packed with humor and – as...

Dawid Myśliwiec

27 March 2024

Long, long ago, when VHS rental stores were still in operation and DVD rental stores were already functioning (often in the same places), my almost adult self was raiding the resources of the neighborhood movie library with a dear friend. Back then, we devoured movies like madmen – “Training Day” by Antoine Fuqua or “The Ring” by Gore Verbinski were some of the most memorable screenings of that era. But if I were to point out a title for which we almost paid a fine at the rental store, it would be “The Boondock Saints”.

What incurred fines in VHS/DVD rental stores? Usually, it was for keeping the media too long. Typically, you rented it for 24 or 48 hours, but my friend and I were so taken with “The Boondock Saints” that we watched Troy Duffy’s cult classic three times in a row! And it wasn’t because we wanted to get more “value for money” – “The Boondock Saints” was simply something that resonated profoundly with the minds of budding men. Here were the MacManus brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus), Irishmen from Boston and devout Catholics, who decided to cleanse their turf of the worst scum in the name of God. They are of course pursued by a crazy detective (Willem Dafoe), but it’s not him – the representative of the law – that we root for the most, but these self-proclaimed divine messengers, anti-heroes, who ruthlessly take the lives of more gangsters, murderers, and rapists, convincing themselves that God himself has nominated them for this task. Doesn’t that sound incredible?!? I myself don’t know what I liked most: the chemistry between the brothers, the excellent supporting cast (David Della Rocco as… Rocco steals every scene!), or simply the vision of dispensing justice and cleansing the world of all criminal scum. Because who wouldn’t agree with the aforementioned Rocco, who in one of his many legendary scenes declares that such “cleaners” as the MacManus brothers should operate in every city?

“The Boondock Saints” has everything it needs to become a cult film – vivid characters, cheesy dialogues, violent scenes, and that drop of madness that characterizes bold and audacious creators. Troy Duffy is a filmmaker who hasn’t made any film other than the story of the MacManus brothers and its sequel, made 10 years later. Yet, thanks to “The Boondock Saints”… Duffy was somewhat immortalized in the world of cinema – a production that went through many problems (rejection by Miramax, a lawsuit with Franchise Pictures), barely noticed during its few days in theaters, became a true video market megahit, earning nearly $50 million (with just a seven-million-dollar budget). The sequel made a decade later lacked the same edge, although it still guaranteed a dose of hilarious kitsch and chemistry between the actors – Flanery and Reedus, actors who aren’t A-listers, excelled in the roles of not quite bright but morally strong brothers, who are not interested in earthly goods but justice and punishment for the wicked. “The Boondock Saints” is not your typical mainstream action movie – it’s a film aware of its campiness, yet well-executed and possessing incredible character. Like the cheesy action movies of the 80s from today’s perspective, it doesn’t aspire to greatness, but makes excellent use of its best genre qualities.

Święci z Bostonu

“The Boondock Saints,” despite being 25 years old, is still a film with an edge, on one hand full of violence and dark scenes, on the other hand, packed with humor and – as today’s youth says – meme potential. One can only fear that in times when there is increasingly more extremism in the world, Troy Duffy’s film may be interpreted as an encouragement to take justice into one’s own hands – and surely not everyone interprets it the same way as the MacManus brothers…

Dawid Myśliwiec

Dawid Myśliwiec

Always in "watching", "about to watch" or "just watched" mode. Once I've put my daughter to bed, I sit down in front of the screen and disappear - sometimes losing myself in some American black crime story, and sometimes just absorbing the latest Netflix movie. For the past 12 years, I have been blogging with varying intensity at MyśliwiecOglą

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