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Boondock Saints, The (1999) Print E-mail
Friday, 20 February 2009
Image“The Boondock Saints” has developed a cult following over the past decade.  While many take greater pleasure in “The Departed,” “The Boondock Saints” has something that its successor doesn’t – Purpose and originality.  The story may not seem original, but the fashion in which it is carried out most definitely is.  Still, the film was only in theaters for one month, with a pitiful gross of $30,000.  Once released on home video however, the sales rose.  Best of all, the original creators and actors deemed that a sequel, a decade later, is called for. 

Scheduled for late 2009, “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day” is to be released.  Original writer/director, Troy Duffy returns to the sequel, as do the original main actors, Sean Patrick Flannery, Billy Connolly and Norman Reedus.  Additions to the cast include Julie Benz and Judd Nelson.  Willem Dafoe will not be reprising his role in the sequel.

“The Boondock Saints” is a classic crime syndicate film.  However, instead of centering its story on the war between mobs, it is about the vigilantes that take the law, judge and jury, into their own hands.  At the same time, the film contains humor.  Just when you think you have the film style figured out, the direction and acting changes on a dime.

Connor and Murphy McManus (Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus) are Irish brothers that work at a meatpacking plant and are devout Catholics.  After a bar fight with a few thugs from the Russian mob, their lives change forever.  The thugs return to the brothers’ “home” and are about ready to execute them.  The brothers manage to defeat the Russians and escape.  Enter the FBI.  Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) plays the FBI agent that is gay, seemingly only as a joke, but not really.  Nonetheless, he is a genius when it comes to piecing together the events of a shoot out.

The McManus brothers proceed to turn themselves in to the police for the Russian killing.  However, it is found to be self-defense.  The brothers both feel they are called upon by God to fight the evil of the world.  They taken up arms an begin to kill all the evil doers in the world.  It starts with the Russian mob and expands to pornographic perverts.  All the while, Smecker is hot on their trail.  However, Smecker must decide whether he wants to arrest the brothers or join them.

The McManus brothers have a friend known as Rocco the Funny Man (David Della Rocco).  Rocco is a scatter-brained imbecile that might just be a genius.  Well, probably not.  Rocco becomes the brothers’ advisor as to who should die.  Some rash decisions by the trio lead to trouble.

I cannot take you any further than that in order to avoid the fantastic ending to the film. For a minor film, it had a decent budget of $7 million.  While the video transfer is not pristine, it surely is much better than I had expected.  The original DVD release of the film is plagued by a horrible transfer.  Not to mention, the DVD release contains a 2.35:1 letterboxed presentation, which is simply horrid.  The Blu-ray release presents the film in its native 2.35:1 aspect ratio with a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encode.  The colors in the film are drab, a stylistic choice to replicate the crime feeling of Boston.  The largest problem with the transfer is that it is hazy and soft pretty much throughout.  It appears to be the work of digital noise reduction.  There are still several occurrences of original film print scratches, dust and dirt.  The black levels are decent.  They don’t provide a popping image, but that isn’t the intent of the film.  Shadow delineation is also decent but far from perfect.  This is most definitely a worthwhile upgrade from the original standard DVD release and probably will be the best the film ever looks.

The audio is surprisingly well presented.  Fox gives us a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track.  It is the only track present.  The surround channels contain some localized sound effects during the gunfights.  The dynamic is above average, but not the best.  The LFE channel is sorely lacking in the mix.  However, the music score is nicely represented.  It is spread into the rear channels.  The rear channels are present but only in an ambient fashion.  The dialogue is clean but not always intelligible.  Sometimes it is due to the dialogue recreation and other times it is simply due to the thick Irish accents.  This is strong audio presentation for an independent-type film.

The Blu-ray contains all the special features from the previously released standard DVD edition.  When the disc is first played, you are asked to select whether you would like to watch the Theatrical or Director’s cut of the film.  The extended cut of the film does not offer much in the way of added story.  It only contains added violence.  The first bonus feature is an audio commentary by director/writer Troy Duffy.  This is an extremely dry track and does not warrant a listen.  The second audio commentary track is with actor Billy Connolly and most assuredly worth a listen.  He provides information about the actors’ experiences working with Duffy and the joy of the project.  Both commentaries are only available on the theatrical cut of the film.  Next, there is a section of outtakes and a section of deleted scenes.  Neither section is really interesting.  Lastly, the disc is equipped with the script of the film and enhanced for D-Box motion control systems.

“The Boondock Saints” is a artistic representation of the crime syndication.  It is not a film for the family that is for certain.  However, the film does demand a respect and should not be missed.  The video quality is strong for the age of the film and its low budget.  The sound is more impressive, but still lacks that overall punch.  I would definitely recommend this disc for fans of the film and others may want to rent it first.

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