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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:
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:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 108 min. (Theatrical Cut) / 108 min. (Unrated Director’s Cut)
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 6/14/2011

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Troy Duffy
• Audio Commentary with Actor Billy Connolly
• “The Boondock Saints: The Film and the Phenomenon” Documentary
• Outtakes
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer
• Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Boondock Saints [Blu-Ray] (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 15, 2011)

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 an “Unrated Special Edition” DVD in June 2006.

Better late than never, I suppose, so I decided to give the flick a look back then. 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.

(Final aside: this set comes billed as the “Truth and Justice 10th Anniversary Edition”. 10th anniversary? 10th anniversary of what? The movie came out in 1999. I didn’t major in math, but I’m pretty sure that was 12 years ago.)


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

The Boondock Saints appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This wasn’t a great transfer, but it was generally positive.

Overall definition was good. A little softness – and edge haloes – cropped up in some wider shots, but those weren’t a significant distraction. For the most part, the movie looked accurate and concise. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects appeared, and print flaws were modest. I noticed a few specks along the way but nothing major.

Colors were pretty 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. The image was strong enough for a “B”.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Boondock Saints worked well, too. The soundfield opened up quite 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.

How did the picture and sound of this Blu-Ray compare with those of the 2006 DVD? As usual, audio showed a little more kick due to the lossless nature of the DTS-HD track; it wasn’t a ton stronger, but it seemed a bit more dynamic. Visuals also offered the typical improvements in terms of accuracy and definition; colors were more vivid, and the print showed fewer flaws.

The Blu-ray provides most of the 2006 DVD’s extras with a new one. We launch with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Troy Duffy, as 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 disc includes both the film’s theatrical version (1:48:21) and an Unrated Director’s Cut (1:48:26). Five seconds? That’s the difference between the two? I have no idea if the two feature alternate edits/sequences to make them substantially difference or if the Director’s Cut simply adds five seconds of… something. I’ve only ever seen the Director’s Cut, so I can’t comment on the differences. But I wanted to mention that we get both versions, so there you go!

Seven Deleted Scenes go for a total of 19 minutes, nine seconds. We find “Rozengurtle Baumgartener” (two minutes, 58 seconds), “Mom Calls from Ireland” (5:52), “Greenly’s Theory” (3:08), “Respect Is Earned, Never Given” (0:27), “Get a Hold of Yourself” (0:48), “Getting Out of the Porno Business” (1:02) and “Smecker’s Confession” (4:54).

“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 92 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.

For something new, we find a documentary called The Boondock Saints: The Film and the Phenomenon. It runs 28 minutes, 56 seconds and provides notes from Duffy, and actors Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and David Della Rocco, all of whom sit together for a panel discussion. They cover casting, characters, and performances, some production aspects, the film’s release and its legacy.

Inevitably, some of the material repeats from the commentaries, especially when Duffy gets into aspects of its release and cult status. Also inevitably, the “legacy” portion gets pretty self-congratulatory, as we hear about the film’s super-awesome popularity. I’m less wild about that part, but we get some interesting notes, so the show’s worth a look.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a digital copy of Saints. It reside son a separate disc and allows you to transfer the movie to a portable viewing device or computer. I’ve never done this, but I’m sure someone has.

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 Blu-ray delivers pretty good picture and audio along with a fairly nice set of supplements. Fans should like this quality release.

To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of THE BOONDOCK SAINTS

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