The Boondock Saints appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No real issues cropped up here.
Sharpness seemed good. A few wide shots appeared slightly soft, but those were exceptions to the rule. The majority of the movie offered nice clarity and delineation. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, and edge haloes remained absent. Except for one intentionally flawed sequence, print defects were absent; we never saw any unplanned marks or problems.
Like its predecessor, 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. Only the minor examples of softness knocked my grade down to a “B+”.
For a big shoot-em-up, Saints Day came with a somewhat lackluster DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. While not subdued, it didn’t seem as active and involving as expected. Action scenes boasted decent pizzazz, but they didn’t use the various speakers as impressively as I thought they should. Music featured nice stereo imaging, and the many violent sequences blasted at us in a positive manner; the latter simply weren’t as lively as anticipated.
No issues with audio quality emerged. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music appeared vivid and full, while effects presented good depth and power. Those elements showed nice reproduction and accuracy, with solid bass punch. Overall, the track was perfectly satisfactory; it just lacked the over-the-top factor a film like this could use.
How did the 2013 Blu-ray compare to the original 2010 disc? Both appeared identical to me; if any visual/auditory improvements occurred, I didn’t discern them.
This 2013 release combines old and new materials. Disc One contains all the movie’s new components, including a Director’s Cut (2:18:01) of the film. Disc Two replicates the original disc and includes the Theatrical Cut (1:57:31). I’d like to compare the two but only saw the Theatrical Cut once and don’t know it well enough to offer notes about the differences. I’m sure fans will be happy to see the longer version, though.
Did I think the Director’s Cut worked better? Nope, not really. It might’ve been a bit better fleshed out, but I don’t think it alleviated any of the problems I had with the Theatrical version. It’s an interesting variation but not revelatory.
Note that picture and audio quality appears to be virtually the same for both the Theatrical and Director’s Cuts. I thought they demonstrated very similar presentations.
As we move to the package’s extras, the disc features two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Troy Duffy and actor Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and Billy Connelly. They offer a running, screen-specific chat that gets into… well, not much of anything. At times they touch on cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and a few other production elements.
For the most part, however, the guys just joke around a whole bunch. This isn’t a particularly focused track, though the participants do become more on-task during the flick’s second half. Perhaps not coincidentally, this change of pace follows a break; I’d guess the commentary’s producers told the guys to shape up their act.
Not that we learn a whole lot more about the film in that span, as the focus remains jovial. And that’s not an awful thing; even though I get the feeling we’re subjected to many an inside joke, the nuttiness remains reasonably entertaining. It’s just not an informative chat, though, so don’t expect to learn many useful nuggets about the flick.
For the second commentary, we hear from writer/director Troy Duffy and actor Willem Dafoe. Dafoe doesn’t join Duffy until about halfway through the film, but he remains for the rest of the running, screen-specific track. During the initial hour, Duffy digs into the gap between the two Saints films and issues related to making a sequel, cast, characters and performances, story areas, sets and locations, and other production areas. When Dafoe joins the filmmaker, the conversation becomes more general and reflective. The pair discuss various thoughts about acting and movies.
For the first half, Duffy delves the subjects in a compelling way and makes this a radically more informative piece than the prior track. That one’s about laughs, while Duffy’s all business here. When Dafoe comes along, we lose that intense focus, but the track remains intriguing, as the pair deliver interesting thoughts about movie making. (Dafoe does seem irritated when then-37-year-old Duffy has no idea who Warren Oates is.) Though it has a split personality, this commentary offers a lot of good info and keeps us consistently interested.
Note that the two commentaries accompany both the Theatrical and Director’s Cuts. I assumed that these tracks were originally recorded for the Theatrical versions and we’d just be stuck with dead air during the extended scenes.
Nope. It appears that both tracks were taped alongside the Director’s Cut and then edited/rearranged for the for the Theatrical version. This makes the DC commentaries a pleasant surprise and somewhat more informative than the edited tracks on the Theatrical edition.
Two Deleted Scenes fill a total of two minutes, 38 seconds. These include “Detectives Mourn Greenly’s Death” (1:14) and “Romeo Plays Chess” (1:24). The first is self-explanatory – and a bit of a spoiler; it’s interesting for emotional reasons but would’ve slowed down the movie too much as it approached its climax. “Chess” gives us a little more of the Saints’ wacky sidekick. It’s another piece of unnecessary exposition.
A few featurettes follow. Unprecedented Access: Behind the Scenes runs 25 minutes, 49 seconds and provides notes from Duffy, Flanery, Reedus, Connolly, producers Chris Brinker and Don Carmody, and actors Clifton Collins, Jr., Julie Benz, Brian Mahoney, David Ferry, and Bob Marley. It looks at cast and performances, Duffy’s working style on the set, and general thoughts from the shoot.
During “Access”, the soundbites act to accentuate the shots from the set. Those become the main attraction here, as they offer a pretty nice glimpse of the production. Though the piece can be a little self-congratulatory at times, it combines comments and behind the scenes footage well enough to satisfy.
For the nine-minute, 22-second Billy Connolly and Troy Duffy: Unedited. Those two chat about their first meeting, Connolly’s casting, and their interactions during the film shoots. Both are expansive, engaging personalities, so their discussion becomes amusing and enjoyable.
The Cast Confesses: Secrets from the Set goes for seven minutes, 13 seconds and offers comments from Reedus, Flanery, Connolly, Collins, Benz, and Marley. “Secrets” goes over character and performance areas. A lot of this is pretty fluffy, but we get a decent amount of interesting info, so the show merits a look.
Next comes Inside the Vault: The Weapons. It goes for eight minutes, 28 seconds and includes head armorer Charles Taylor as he leads us through a tour of the movie’s firearms. Taylor delivers a concise overview of the weapons.
Finally, The Boondock Saints Hit Comic-Con runs 57 minutes, two seconds. The panel discussion features Duffy, Flanery, Reedus, Collins, Benz and Connolly as they address the Comic-Con crowd. (David Della Rocco and original Saints actor Ron Jeremy also pop up late in the piece.) The convention occurred during post-production and acts as promotion for the film. It takes more than half the program to get to audience questions, and virtually all the pre-crowd moments just exist to puff up the movie.
Matters actually go downhill more when the fans get to ask questions. The first guy wants to know if there’ll be an autograph signing – and then another fan makes the same request a few minutes later! They’re rocket scientists compared to the sorority girl who wants to know about the Saints’ prayer; if she’s in college, it must be a clown college. The Comic-Con session is almost entirely promotional or inane, so don’t expect much from it.
Two new pieces appear on Disc One. Saints Off Script goes for 19 minutes, 34 seconds and features Duffy, Reedus, Flanery, Collins, Marley, Brinker, and Rubin. Essentially a repository for little bits and pieces about the shoot, “Off Script” doesn’t pursue any clear subjects. It just gives us random thoughts and anecdotes about the movie and its production. It’s loose but fun.
During the 20-minute, 51-second Back to Boondock, we hear from Duffy, Brinker, Collins, and Flanery. “Back” looks at pre-production and discusses locations, costumes and hair, and other issues related to the shoot. Though not an especially tight piece, “Back” covers a lot of useful topics and does so in a blunt manner. That makes it an appealing addition to the set.
Disc One opens with ads for Bad Country, This Is The End, Magic Magic, Evil Dead (2013) and Breakout. These reappear under Previews. No ad for All Saints Day materializes here.
After 10 years, fans of The Boondock Saints got a sequel: All Saints Day. Though it suffers from sloppy storytelling and doesn’t work as well as its predecessor, the second chapter comes with enough pleasures of its own to make it reasonably entertaining. The Blu-ray provides very good picture, generally positive audio and a mix of mostly informative bonus materials. I’m not sure the Director’s Cut improves on the theatrical version, but this becomes a nice release for fans.
To rate this film, visit the Blu-Ray review of BOONDOCK SAINTS 2 - ALL SAINT'S DAY