Boondock Saints (The) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (15th March 2009).
The Film

Of all the Tarantino copy cats that have emerged over the years after the success of films like "Reservoir Dogs" (1992) and "Pulp Fiction" (1994), Troy Duffy's "The Boondock Saints" could be considered the most successful in cultivating a cult audience and seeing multiple DVD editions be issue by various studios. Released in 1999 to limited screens the film failed to make a significant impact upon audiences and critics, earning mixed reviews and leaving distributor Franchise Pictures with a relative dud. The film managed to find its audience on DVD earning a cult status with the film's slick-talking style and violence. As the film started to make the rounds on home video, word started to spread publicly about the film's difficult and ego-centric director.

The subject of the film's troubled production history and the insanity of the director was documented in the roughly put together film "Overnight" (2003) which chronicles Duffy almost immediate rise into the spot light as the most sought after screenwriter in Hollywood with his script for the film attracting attention generated by then Miramax head Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein paid Duffy an exorbitant amount of money and even going as far as buying the bar he worked in for him as a symbol of his dedication to both the rising filmmaker and his film. However, things started to go south quickly as Weinstein lost interest when budget issues started to arise and the director's ego started to get in the way. Several years passed as Duffy's status as flavor of the month started to loose it's flavor and Miramax dumped the film. As a result Duffy's relationship with the studio, his family and friends began to suffer. Luckily for him, Independent Franchise Pictures took on the film at a drastically reduced budget.

The film tells the story of two Irish brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy McManus (Norman Reedus) who are set out by God to take out the trash in their neighborhood and punish the evil. Joined by their dimwitted gangster wanna-be Rocco (David Della Rocco) they get involved with the criminal underworld, taking out both big and small time players, meanwhile an FBI investigator; Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) develops an unhealthy fascination with the brothers and an encounter with hit man Il Duce (Billy Connolly) changes everything for the brothers and their mission from God.

What makes "The Boondock Saints" similar to most of Tarantino's early films is the style in which things are presented, with witty banter and tough-guy talk mixed with violence and and flashy editing... there's plenty of 'cool kid' elements to this film but overall it's entertaining veneer is somewhat tarnished by its try-hard sensibility, over-the-top characters and a plot that's not entirely engaging. "The Boondock Saints" tries to be smarter than it actually is with it's unnecessarily convoluted plot that involves far more characters than required to move the story along.

The film feels likes a late 90's time capsule into the type of films which were popular then, and in many ways feels a little dated as a result, with it's rock-inspired soundtrack to the way the characters dress. There are however, some saving graces; the two leads played by Patrick Flanery and Reedus are a likable enough pair. They demonstrate good chemistry and their scenes are generally entertaining, as are Connelly's as the murderous Il Duce; he exudes 'cool' in his scenes mainly because of how he looks and the fact that he remains quite for most of the film. Unfortunately I can't say the same about the supporting players, mainly David Della Rocco who is just plain annoying and Mob Boss Yakavetta played by Carlo Rota who is a cardboard cut-out mob villain that is more like a caricature than a serious character.

Overall "The Boondock Saints" is a serviceable film that features some entertaining elements but isn't exactly a good film, nor is it worth owning, that is unless you're a fan... This Blu-ray edition features both the original R-rated 'Theatrical Cut' as well as the 'Unrated Cut' which features w whopping 5 seconds of restored footage.

Video

The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio, both versions of which are in high-definition 1080p 24/fps mastered using AVC MPEG-4 compression. For a film only 10 years old the image isn't all that great. Sharpness tends to vary from scene to scene and detail also suffers. The film is unusually grainy and features some dirt, specks and blemishes that put it's source material into question. This image only provides a slight improvement over its DVD release, with colors that look better and solid blacks. However the flaws of which that seem to plague this release are a real let down.

Audio

There's a single audio track present on this disc in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixed at 48kHz/24-bit. The film's audio makes a significant improvement over previous DVD editions as the DTS-HD track provides for more depth and range. Dialogue is solid and distortion free, but the film's more active scenes that feature gun fire feels a little flat. The music is well rendered throughout the sound space and makes for an immersive feel, however the music can be a bit overwhelming at times over the dialogue.
Optional subtitles are included in both English for the hearing impaired and Spanish.

Extras

Fox has released this film with two audio commentaries, a series of deleted scenes, outtakes, the film's theatrical trailers and a printable script, below is a closer look at these supplements.

The first feature-length audio commentary is with writer/director Troy Duffy, accessible only on the 'Theatrical Cut' version of the film. Having previously seen the documentary "Overnight" I was provided with an insight into the type of person Duffy is, an arrogant and egotistical man and this does come out in this track as well, mainly in his tone and delivery. I was often bored with his banter only adding informative comments every now and then about the film's production but nothing that I already didn't know or was able to find out online. Frankly it was an uninteresting and rather boring track that could easily be skipped.

There's a second feature-length audio commentary with actor Billy Connolly, also only accessible on the 'Theatrical Cut' version of the film. Connelly is much more likable person to listen to and does go into the production a lot more than Duffy does in his track. Of course the actor/comedian only has a limited scope compared to the director but in this track seems to deliver a lot more interesting information. However, like the previous track I was bored rather quickly and found my finger on the 'fast-forward' button, I'm not sure why Fox chose to included these two tracks as stand alone tracks rather than to simply edit the two together.

Next up are a series of 7 deleted scenes, all of which are in terrible quality and include:

- "Rozengurtle Baumgartner" runs for 2 minutes 58 seconds, in this scene the meat works boss introduces the new worker to the brothers in this extended sequence.
- "Mom Calls From Ireland" runs for 5 minutes 51 seconds, the brother's mother drunk dials them from home.
- "Greenly's Theory" runs for 3 minutes 7 seconds, Detective Greenly offers up his theory about the two dead Russian mobsters in the alley in this extended scene.
- "Respect Is Earned, Never Given" runs for 27 seconds, Smecker messes with Greenly at a crime scene.
- "Get A Hold Of Yourself" runs for 48 seconds, the brothers tell Rocco to get a hold of himself after the hotel massacre in this extended scene.
- "Getting Out Of The Porno Business" runs for 1 minute 1 second, another extended scene from the strip club crime scene as Smecker consoles one of the girls.
- "Smecker's Confession" runs for 4 minutes 54 seconds, Smecker wakes up in a confessional booth in this extended scene.

There's a fairly average outtakes reel hat runs for 1 minute 31 seconds and features the usual line flubs and missed cues.

There is also a compete script that you can scroll through using your remote.

Following that is the film's original theatrical trailer that runs for 2 minutes 5 seconds.

Following that are a series of bonus trailers for:

- "Babylon A.D." which runs for 1 minute 53 seconds.
- "Max Payne" which runs for 1 minute 28 seconds.

This disc is also D-Box enabled for those that have the equipment.

Overall

The Film: C- Video: C+ Audio: B+ Extras: C Overall: C-

 


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