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The Boondock Saints (1999)
Rated R

Starring: Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, and Willem Dafoe

Rating:
***
out of
*****

When two Irish brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flannery) and Murph (Norman Reedus), have a run-in with some Russian mobsters, they begin an unwitting career of vigilantism that makes the Boston Mafia quake in their shoes.

Willem Dafoe steals the show as he plays openly gay FBI agent Paul Smecker, who attempts to solve the puzzle of who is gunning down Boston's biggest criminals in some of the grisliest gun battles he's seen. Donning a set of earphones and listening to opera, Smecker can plot bullet trajectories and profile a crime scene while simultaneously insulting the local cops' apparent ineptness.

Writer/director Troy Duffy attempts to outgun and outswear Quentin Tarantino's crime epic Pulp Fiction but doesn't quite have the goods to do so. His attempt at making an explosive and funny action film with slow-motion gunplay is only successful because of the charisma of his cast. There certainly isn't much in the way of a plot or character development in this film.

Billy Connolly makes quite an impression in limited screentime as Il Duce ("The Duke"), a sort-of secret weapon brought out of prison by the mob to fight the brothers. Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery are adequately entertaining as they trade quips and make good use of the hardware used to deal out their own special brand of justice. Only David Della Rocco as (ahem) David Della Rocco manages to annoy, which is unfortunate because the role was written specifically for him to play himself.

While its not particularly original, The Boondock Saints is a reasonably entertaining, if not spectacular, post Tarantino action film.

Trivia: The Latin tattoos "Veritas" and "Aequitas" on the brothers' hands mean "truth" and "justice." (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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