This so-so sequel to a cult favourite was shot here, just like the original.
Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.
This one was a bit of a gimme since we profiled the original The Boondock Saints way back when. That 1999 flick has taken on the air of a cult classic, which made this middling follow-up something of a “long-awaited sequel.” It was released in 2009.
It’s a general rule that sequels are rarely better than the original, and yet while Boondock Saints impressed only 17 per cent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes, Boondock Saints II scored an impressive 23 per cent. So, there you go. Way to beat the odds!
Both Boondock Saints movies are awash in their own Boston-ness, but neither did more than token shooting in Beantown. No, whatever proud place the Boondock Saints franchise might hold in the cinematic firmament, Toronto is the city most responsible.
Of course, the key to deceiving your audience if you’re shooting Toronto for another city is to throw in some grand ol’ skyline shots like this one. Isn’t Boston lovely? Well, enjoy it while it lasts.
As in the first movie, it’s the east side of downtown that handles most of the action. Right after that shot we pan down to this, complete with a Green P meter on the left.
Then the camera pans down a bit more and we catch a glimpse of Henry’s. Indeed, it’s the same Henry’s location we saw back in the first movie, on Queen East.
Then we get closer still and see a bit more of the local buildings…
…before arriving at the steps of Metropolitan United Church.
The church is a major setting, seen outside…
But if you’re gonna make a post-Tarantino shoot ’em up drenched in Irish Catholic imagery you need more than just a church. You need a bar, too! Enter McVeigh’s Pub, which filled the same role in the first movie. And it’s practically around the corner from the church.
Speaking of bars, we keep seeing more and more of the Silver Dollar. It’s amazing that place still has time to function given how often movies seem to shoot there. But it’s a great place to chill…
…or hold a huge shootout.
This condo is a bit hard to peg down, but it looks like the southwest corner of the Richmond Adelaide Centre.
There aren’t too many generic, cruising-around-the-city scenes, but you can definitely spot the Eaton Centre in this one.
And, hey, the movie put some money in Judd Nelson’s pocket.
The Boondock Saints films will never be called classics, but, like a pint of Keith’s, those who like ’em, like ’em a lot. You can dig deeper by going through director Troy Duffy’s video diaries of the Toronto shoot on YouTube, or you can take heart from the rumours circulating of a possible third movie or (gulp!) TV series.
Because we all know that if there were no inferior, on-the-cheap sequels or TV series based on movies, Toronto would hardly have a film industry at all! Come back anytime, Mr. Duffy!
This post originally guessed that one of the shooting locations was 1 King West, when in fact it appears to be the southwest corner of the Richmond Adelaide Centre. The post has been updated to reflect this change.