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.