A group of Irish men are vigilantes who make a career out of hunting down and executing criminals. The "Saints" are the MacManus family of the father Noah (played by Billy Connolly) and his two sons, Conner (played by Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy (played by Norman Reedus). Their last big job together was when they killed Papa Joe Yakavetta (played by Carlo Rota), many years earlier. They've been laying low in Ireland ever since. Someone in the USA is trying to frame them for the murder of a famous priest by imitating their execution style. They load up their weapons and ship out on a freighter bound for Boston.
On the freighter, they meet a Latino fighter named Romeo (played by Clifton Collins). Romeo knows who they are. Romeo joins the Saints. The investigation into the murder is a joint investigation between the Boston police Detectives Dolly (played by David Ferry), Duffy (played by Brian Mahoney), and Greenly (played by Bob Marley) and the FBI Special Agent Eunice Bloom (played by Julie Benz). Legendary FBI agent Paul Smecker who died trained Bloom. They quickly realize the murder was not done by the Saints and deduce the perpetrator was probably Ottilio Panza (played by Daniel DeSanto), who works for "The Roman" (played by Peter Fonda). On the ship the Saints figure out this set-up was probably done by the son of the mob boss they killed before, whose name is Concezio Yakavetta (played by Judd Nelson).
When they get off the ship, they attack a warehouse the Yakavetta gang is using to smuggle drugs. They kill everyone. They find out the guy who killed the priest was a contract assassin working alone. The police realize the Saints are back when they see the carnage at the warehouse. The Saints set up a meeting with the gang members of Yakavetta at a bar. When they arrive, they kill them all. Panza comes to kill them, but FBI Agent Bloom arrives just in time to shot him instead. Bloom wants to help the Saints get Panza because it will lead them to The Roman. The Saints fix up the crime scene to make it appear the mobsters shot each other. Bloom is willing to let them operate illegally as long as they eliminate gangsters.
The Yakavetta boss calls the remaining members of his gang for a meeting. The Saints arrive and kill them all. Panza shoots Greely. Noah threatens to kill Panza unless he tells them where The Roman is hiding. Panza refuses so Noah shoots him. Noah has a history with The Roman. They used to be partners. As kids, they saw gangsters brutally kill Noah's father. This started their vigilante efforts, which lasted until the seventies. After they had killed many mobsters together, The Roman turned Noah into the police and became a top mafia boss himself.
Bloom steals the police file containing The Roman's location. She gives it to Noah. The saints show up at The Roman's house. He is expecting them. The Roman tells Noah he has been using him all these years, first to get rid of all the mafia competition and now to kill the Yakavetta boss for him, so he can take over the mafia family himself. There is a huge gunfight. All of The Roman's men are killed. Noah kills The Roman right before he dies. The Boston police arrive. They arrest all the remaining Saints who are wounded but still alive.
Bloom meets up with Paul Smecker (played by William Dafoe), who is very much alive, having faked his own death so he could also become a vigilante working with the Saints, not restricted by the bounds of law when taking out criminals. They make plans to get Bloom out of the country so she will not be arrested and break the Saints out of jail. In jail, the Saints look at all the prisoners and are happy they will be very busy killing criminals, until they are broken out of jail.
Best part of story, including ending:
This is a non-stop action movie with some of the best shoot-outs on screen.
Best scene in story:
The scene when Bloom meets up with Smecker revealing a vast organization behind the efforts of the Saints. It's cool when the bad guys are good guys and the police break the law.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that family who kills together stays together, except for losing their dad, but the father did kill his arch enemy so he died in a worthwhile way.