By BRANDAN WONCH
Every once in awhile there’s a great movie released, but for some reason, it doesn’t do well at the box office. Maybe it lacked hype, advertisement, or just had an odd premise, causing people to lose interest and eventually forget about it.
Regardless of why, there is simply no ignoring the fact that more movies come out than the public can keep track of, and because of this, some fall by the wayside — forgotten. So I’d like to shed some light on these movies, starting with one of my all-time favorites and one of the truest forms of a cult classic — “Boondock Saints.”
The movie stars Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Norman Reedus. Two Irish brothers (Flanery and Reedus) were born and raised on the tough south side of Boston, and when the Russian mob starts to move in on their town, the two brothers find themselves knee deep in gangsters, murderers, and thieves and they feel it is their divine duty to put an end it. They feel they’re on a mission from God to rid the world of evil. Eventually the brothers’ act of divine justice draws the attention of one very unorthodox FBI agent (Dafoe). The movie follows the brothers on their war path against the mob all the while the FBI is trying to solve the murders and put a stop to them.
“Boondock Saints” is a great action movie with enough comedy and suspense to keep everything balanced. The writing is great, especially the dialog between the two brothers and their friends, and the acting is very solid all around. Willem Dafoe is of course Willem Dafoe and gets the job done with seemingly no effort on his part and his character is so absurd it’s both hilarious and just a little disturbing.
With most actors such character work would be near impossible and it would come off as sporadic, confusing, and just unnecessary; but Dafoe gets his transitions so seamless and smooth that it works and with the exception of one scene, it’s flawless. As for that one scene, well I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll just say at one point his character loses it and he went a little over the top with his acting for my liking.
Of course the performances of both Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus were also very solid and for those wondering where you may have heard the name Norman Reedus, he’s gained quite a bit of popularity recently due to his role in the AMC TV series, “The Walking Dead” where he plays Daryl Dixon. That’s one of the reasons I decided to do this article on the “Boondock Saints” — that and the fact that it is genuinely one of my favorite movies.
As for why it didn’t get the critical acclaim I and a few thousand others think it deserves? (I don’t know how much of a fan base it really has, but it did eventually get a sequel, so it’s a good number; it just slowly grew over time.) Can’t say for sure, maybe it was bad marketing or just poor timing. Another possibility could be how some viewers wouldn’t take kindly to the whole “mission from God to kill sinners” angle the movie takes.
And if you’re one of the people who doesn’t like the sound of that for a movie plot, it really isn’t a big deal; it’s more of a backdrop than anything. It’s part of the plot, no doubt; after all it’s the main reason the brothers become vigilantes, but it never gets in the way of the movie. Add all that to the fact that it came out in 1999 before the internet took off to become what it is now with twitter and facebook, it’s not hard to imagine that a lot could have gone wrong with the release and it was just overlooked.
But there is a happy ending to the story. As I said, it now has a sequel (2009) which is just as good as the original and there is hope for a third movie. With Norman Reedus becoming more famous with the successes of “The Walking Dead,” that hope could become a certainty.