"And shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand, that our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. We shall flow a river forth to thee, and teeming with souls shall it ever be. In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti."
This movie flows like a dream. It's all completely unrealistic, but that's what films are for, right? To take us places we can't go on our own?
The two leads are your stereotypical, hard-drinking, bar-crawling, church-going, rosary-saying, foul-mouthed, rough-and-tumble Irish-American blue collar workers. Éire stock at its feckin' finest. Except these boys know a few dozen languages, hear the will of God in their dreams, and trounce around Boston killing mobsters all day in dramatic James Bond-meets-Tarantino fashion. Okay?
Willem Dafoe plays near-psychic FBI agent Paul Smecker, an extremely arrogant crime scene genius who reconstructs the mythical feats of murder perpetrated by the Saints. He's a jerk, he's a tough guy, and he's a flaming homosexual. And very likable, too. Don't ask me; it just works. One of the beauties of this film is getting to see the crime scene before you know what happened. Then you get to laugh when Smecker throws it all together, since you see the Saints killing people in ways that defy physics and biology. But hey, they're God's angels or something, right? They have no family, they have "Veritas" and "Aequitas" tattoos on their hands, and they leave their victims coins for Charon's toll. Hardcore. This is one of those films that makes religion look so cool that even proselytizing über-atheists want to join the other side... for at least a couple minutes anyway.
Also notable is the stupidity of the mobsters (both Italian and Russian). While I love the great movies that tend to romanticize the life a little bit (Goodfellas, The Godfather, etc.), there's a bit of truth here too. Not everyone out there plugging holes in people is a criminal mastermind, following some family code etched in their hearts. Some are just plain dumb.
Faults? Well, like I've already said, the movie is unrealistic (and written by one guy), so the dialogue is corny, and the plot is holey. The trick is to get past that... if you can, you'll enjoy the film. There are other annoyances though, like Smecker playing Opera Man a little too much at a few crime scenes and a major character named Rocco who takes too much camera time away from the ultra-cool Saints.
A more critical and basic underlying problem is that the film is so damn derivative at times. Everyone involved with Pulp Fiction should get a cut of the video sales. But listen, I can't fault a film with the humor, action, and thoughtfulness of The Boondock Saints. It's a director's first film, and it shows... but with the utter shit being sent to AMCs across the country on a weekly basis, couldn't the major studios have given this fascinating little vigilante tale a chance?