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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Troy Duffy
Cast:
Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, David Della Rocco, Billy Connoly, David Ferry, Brian Mahoney, Bob Marley, Richard Fitzpatrick, William Young, Robert Pemberton
Writing Credits:
Troy Duffy

Tagline:
Brothers. Killers. Saints.

Synopsis:
Explore the harrowing world of The Boondock Saints as never before in this Unrated Special Edition! Digitally remastered for extraordinary picture quality and exploding in 5.1 EX Dolby Surround Sound, this definitive two-disc edition of the cult phenomenon features deleted scenes, outtakes, two audio commentaries, a printable script and more!

Hot on the trail of the assailants behind the brutal murder of Russian thugs, FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) is surprised to discover the killers are Irish twin brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) who believe they've been chosen to rid the world of evil. But as they unleash more brutality on the criminals of Boston's underworld, Smecker finds himself torn between busting the vigilantes?and joining them!

Box Office:
Budget
$7 million.
Opening Weekend
$19.930 thousand on 5 screens.
Domestic Gross
-unknown-

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $26.98
Release Date: 5/23/2006

Bonus:
Disc One
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Troy Duffy
• Audio Commentary with Actor Billy Connolly
Disc Two
• Filmographies
• Printable Script
• Outtakes
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Boondock Saints: Unrated Special Edition (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 6, 2006)

Sometimes I really feel out of the loop. At some point since its release in 1999, The Boondock Saints turned into a cult classic. I don’t think I’d ever heard of the movie until the release of this “Unrated Special Edition” in June 2006.

Better late than never, I suppose, so I decided to give the flick a look. Set in Boston, we meet Irish brothers Conner (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy McManus (Norman Reedus), both of whom work together at a meat packing operation. After a confrontation between representatives of a Russian crime syndicate and the owner and patrons of an Irish bar, two of the Russkies end up murdered.

FBI Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) comes onto the case, and we quickly learn that the McManus boys committed the crime, allegedly in self-defense. They turn themselves in but the police decide not to charge them. The press gets hold of the story and treats the boys as heroes; the paper dubs them the “Saints of South Boston”.

In the aftermath of this, both experience what they consider to be a religious awakening of sorts. They take their “sainthood” and a priest’s words about inaction to heart. They decide to become avenging angels in their community and off anyone they decide is evil. They stock up on weapons and conduct a hit on a Russian crime boss and his men. They let their buddy Rocco (David Del Rocco) – a package boy/numbers runner for the Boston Italian Mafia – in on their secret and he joins the cause. We see the three conduct their series of killings along with Smecker’s pursuit of them – and that of super-assassin “Il Duce” (Billy Connolly), brought in by the Italian Mafia to nail Rocco.

Would flicks like Saints exist without the success of Quentin Tarantino? Perhaps, but his influence made it easier for filmmakers to follow in his footsteps. Saints doesn’t come across as a rip-off of Tarantino, though it shows clear signs of his style, especially in the casual depiction of violence.

Saints tends to come across as a mix of its influences. The Smecker character shows signs of Gary Oldman’s flamboyant cop in Leon, while the music often seems lifted from The Matrix. Some of the actors display their inspirations on their sleeves, especially via Del Rocco’s very Pacino-esque turn.

All that said, Saints manages to become its own movie – at times. It jumps around an awful lot and never manages to consistently engage. However, it can bring us in for certain parts, and it occasionally works really well. There’s a definite spark on display, and the story bears notice.

There’s just not enough originality or consistency to make the movie hold up from start to finish. Even the parts that hit can sometimes miss. Take Dafoe’s flamboyant turn. On one hand, he makes his character different and engaging. On the other, I don’t like the choice to make the gay character so broad. It’s interesting to create a homosexual FBI agent, but the stereotypical portrayal of a gay man is unseemly and crass.

I had more notable problems with the score, though. It jumps from standard nearly operatic fare to thumping techno pop. The former works okay, but the latter fizzles. The techno elements seem like a weak attempt to give the movie a Matrix feel, and that’s out of place in this sort of flick. The visuals and the music don’t match on those occasions, and they distract.

The Boondock Saints shows promise, and it offers some interesting twists on the hit man genre. There’s enough here to keep us involved. That makes its foibles the more glaring, unfortunately. There’s some good material on display here, but the flick’s pitfalls make it an inconsistent pleasure.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

The Boondock Saints appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Perhaps that was too much content for one disc, as the presentation didn’t seem particularly strong.

Sharpness suffered at times. Most of the movie looked reasonably crisp and well-defined, but more than a few exceptions occurred. I noticed mild edge haloes along with a moderately soft feel to wider shots. Occasional examples of jagged edges and shimmering occurred, and source flaws became a distraction. Specks and grit appeared throughout the film.

Colors were more successful. The flick featured a surprisingly natural palette, as it didn’t display the stylized tones I expected from this sort of effort. The hues were accurate and dynamic. Blacks also seemed dark and firm, while low-light shots demonstrated good clarity and delineation. Unfortunately, the combination of print defects and softness made this image mediocre.

At least the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack of The Boondock Saints worked better. The soundfield opened up quire well through most of the movie. It displayed good stereo imaging for the music and spread the score to the surrounds in a useful manner as well. Effects came to life during the many gun-related scenes. These showed nice localization and involvement, and they used the rear speakers well.

Audio quality was positive. Speech sounded concise and distinctive, and I noticed no signs of edginess or other concerns. Music was lively and dynamic, and effects followed the same lines. Those elements came across as full and rich, with clean highs and warm lows. This was a consistently strong mix.

As we move to the package’s extras, DVD One features two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Troy Duffy. He offers a running, screen-specific chat. Duffy touches on many useful issues. He gets into cast and characters, sets and locations, life influences that affect the movie and the challenges related to being a first-time director, story and pacing, camerawork and music, and relationships among the crew and anecdotes from on and off the set.

At his best, Duffy turns this into a frank and informative chat. You’ll learn quite a lot about the film’s creation and connected subjects. Unfortunately, you have to put up with Duffy’s attitude along the way. He seems rather full of himself, and he peppers the commentary with remarks like “I love this shot!” This makes matters rather self-absorbed at times.

Case in point: Duffy’s discussion of how the Columbine tragedy affected Saints. He tells us that the atmosphere after those shooting made it impossible for a movie like this one to get shown in wide release. He’s right, and I like the fact that he’s honest about his disappointment. However, he seems a bit too concerned with his own problems so he comes across as more than slightly callous. Duffy gives off an attitude of “Sure, it’s too bad some kids died, but what about me?” Anyway, if you can take his self-puffery, this ends up as a good commentary.

For the second commentary, we hear from actor Billy Connolly in his own running, screen-specific chat. Connolly seems like an odd choice for a full commentary since his character doesn’t enter the film until the 69-minute mark. He manages to fill much of the time, though he inevitably slows along the way.

Connolly discusses how he got the part and why he wanted it, his thoughts about the story and characters, his impressions of the other participants and his opinions of them, his training for the flick, his approach to the part, and general anecdotes. At his best, Connolly offers a funny and lively chat. He certainly makes this more enriching than I expected given the modest size of his role.

However, he does peter out after a while, as he can’t stretch his ideas into a full 108 minutes. Connolly also too often tells us how much he loves everything about the film. He goes on and on about its greatness and how many people tell him its great and how great all aspects of it are. This gets more than slightly tedious. Connolly ekes out a decent commentary, but you’ll probably start to lose interest after half an hour or so.

The presence of a second DVD might make you think this set comes with tons of supplements, but that’s not the case. The second disc is sparsely populated with materials. The main attraction comes from seven Deleted Scenes. We find “Rozengurtle Baumgartener” (two minutes, 54 seconds), “Mom Calls from Ireland” (5:47), “Greenly’s Theory” (3:04), “Respect Is Earned, Never Given” (0:23), “Get a Hold of Yourself” (0:44), “Getting Out of the Porno Business” (0:57) and “Smecker’s Confession” (4:49).

“Baumgartner” presents a longer version of the snippets we see with the lesbian co-worker, while “Ireland” introduces us to the boys’ crazy ma. It’s probably the most interesting of the bunch, though it definitely shouldn’t have been in the final film; it’s a self-indulgent scene that stands fine on its own but would have halted any vague form of narrative. “Greenly” extends that officer’s cockeyed concept of the killing; again, it’s entertaining, but way too long to fit the final cut.

“Respect” follows up Smecker’s many knocks on Greenly, while “Hold” shows Rocco out of control. “Business” is an odd clip in which an actor freaks out after some mayhem; it’s also an appropriate excision. Finally, “Confession” shows a longer take of the scene in which Smecker reveals his thoughts about the brothers and their work. It’s also moderately interesting but not particularly useful, especially because it really drags. That thought goes for this whole collection. We see some intriguing bits but there’s nothing that needed to be in the movie.

The Outtakes last a mere 90 seconds. We see the actors fool around and not much else. However, a clip in which Del Rocco tries to do a scene for TV coverage is somewhat interesting.

In the Trailers area, we get ads for Saints and Donnie Darko. Filmographies presents entries for Duffy along with actors Connolly, Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery and Willem Dafoe. Finally, DVD-ROM users can access the movie’s script.

And that’s it! We get a total of roughly 25 minutes content on one whole DVD. This seems nuts to me. Fox should have dropped the useless fullscreen version of the movie and packaged everything on one platter. The inclusion of a second disc feels like a marketing gimmick to me.

Because of many inconsistencies, The Boondock Saints never manages to quite live up to its potential. Still, the movie fires on enough cylinders to make it generally enjoyable. The DVD presents mediocre picture but rebounds with good audio and a smattering of useful extras.

This movie’s worth a rental for folks with a taste for bloody action flicks, but purchase is a different subject, especially for folks who already own the prior DVD – at least those who want fresh extras. I never saw that one, so I can’t compare video or audio. Based on what I read, the two releases seem to be very similar in regard to extras. The Connolly commentary appears to be the main new addition to this set, and it’s definitely not worth a “double-dip” for those elements.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.4666 Stars Number of Votes: 30
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main