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Review The Boondock Saints 1999: A cult classic?

genre: action, crime, thriller

The Boondock Saints is one of those films that pretends more is going on while in truth it's nothing but a generic action film. Sure the action is inspired by John Woo but that doesn't mean it's even close to Woo's worst films.

According to writer / director Troy Duffy he wrote the story after he found a dead hooker being wheeled out of a drug dealer’s apartment across the hall. He wanted people to feel the disgust he felt so that they too wanted to do something about it. In a way I think it's admirable how Duffy points out that inaction by good people is more evil than evil men doing evil deeds. However he doesn't really do that much to display that inaction. The film is more focused on two brothers who have put themselves on the righteous path by eliminating the mafia hoodlums the police seem to struggle with. The police and FBI are very willing to help out these brothers complete forsaking the fact that it's not that their hands are tied but that the corruption runs so deep that most of the time they don't want to act since they have a stake in it as well. None of this gets displayed or exposed. If you want to make a satire or be critical of the justice system and vigilantism in general you have to discuss the corruption. Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus as the brothers are incredibly charming. Even with their fake Irish accents. However they aren't well rounded characters. The only one who gets to have fun acting wise is Willem Dafoe and he is absolutely brilliant in it. But let's face it, when isn't he?

As an action film The Boondock Saints totally sucks. Apart from a few gunplay scenes (mostly assassinations) the choreography is absent. The slow motion does make the scenes seem dramatic but everything else that could have made the action exciting is not present. The brothers never really are in trouble. They can either walk away or the villains wait too long to actually kill them. How convenient! Of course the addition of Billy Connelly as a gunslinger is fun to watch while they last but why weren't those scenes longer? If I had to guess this could be due budget contstraints. Still Hong Kong would have done far better with half the budget so that's not really a valid excuse. 

Overall the film is a bore. This is coming from someone who used to love this film. A classic film has to have redeeming elements despite it's flaws but first and foremost you need to be able to watch it time and time again without getting bored. And to be honest. The Boondock Saints is filled with dull scenes. 

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