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The Boondock Saints(1999)
Irish brothers Connor and Murphy MacManus live and work in South Boston. After killing a Russian mobster in self-defense, the brothers believe they have found their calling from God ridding the earth of human evil. So they set out to complete their divine deed by ridding the streets of gangsters, criminals and lowlifes; and as the body count rises, the brothers become local heroes (deemed the “Boondock Saints”) even as the police are on their trail. By risking their lives for their beliefs of Veritas (truth) and Aequitas (justice), the vigilante brothers take the law into their own hands…until they are pursued by unorthodox FBI agent Paul Smecker who follows their trail of bloodshed, but admits that the boys are doing exactly what he has always secretly wished to happen.
For more about The Boondock Saints and the The Boondock Saints Blu-ray release, see the The Boondock Saints Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on March 4, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Director: Troy Duffy
Writer: Troy Duffy
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, David Ferry, Brian Mahoney (I)
» See full cast & crew
The Boondock Saints Blu-ray Review
They're on a mission from God.
Reviewed by Ben Williams, March 4, 2009
If one were to combine Pulp Fiction with The Passion of the Christ; mix in a little of The Departed and just a sprinkle of Bonnie and Clyde, you'd have something like The Boondock Saints. It's a strange amalgamation of a film that attempts to be funny, violent and insightful, all at the same time, while never quite succeeding. The Boondock Saints is a cult film that failed miserably at the box-office; critics hated it and audiences weren't interested. Only through home video did the film ever find an audience; a pattern that seems to be repeating itself more frequently in recent years. The Boondock Saints has puzzled me for years and I've never been able to understand the film's appeal. So, thanks to Blu-ray, here's another chance.
Twin Irish / American brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flannery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus) McManus, become local heroes when they kill several Russian mob members in the throes of a barroom brawl. The brothers, both deeply religious, experience a vision from God that tells them to take the law into their own hands and to kill those who follow a life of crime. What follows is a vigilante rampage as Connor and Murphy embark on a killing spree targeting Boston's criminal underworld. FBI Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) is dispatched to track down the wayward duo; finding himself conflicted as he inches closer and closer to putting a stop to the McManus' vengeful spree. Are these wayward souls saints on a mission from God, or sinners as equally in the wrong as the criminals they seek?
There's no doubt, whatsoever, that The Boondock Saints is, at times, terrifically entertaining. The McManus brothers are compelling characters who strike a different chord than the more traditional anti-heroes that occasionally find their way into films. Strangely, the film's plot is not unlike The Blues Brothers; a little more violence here, some catchy tunes there. What's missing from The Boondock Saints, is coherence. The film is all to often satisfied with being over the top and violent and often misses the mark in the subtleties of following any recognizable plot. Some of the film's shootouts and action scenes just continue on far too long to remain interesting; I often found myself bored by the non-stop action and witty one liners.
One of my biggest complaints about the film lies in the character of FBI Agent Paul Smeckler. Willem Dafoe is great in the role and seems to relish the flamboyant antics of his character, so no problem there. I do take issue, however, with the filmmakers' attempts at making Smeckler a homosexual, simply as a tool to make him more "shocking." By resorting to stereotyping as a characterization, the character seems designed for generating cheap laughs over anything of substance. It's all comes across as disingenuous in comparison to the seemingly earnest plight of the McManus twins.
Not that any of this really matters, of course; fans of the film will line up with glee to experience both the theatrical and extended cuts of The Boondock Saints that are included via seamless branching in this set. This is a film that you'll either love or loathe, with hardly any viewers falling in between.
The Boondock Saints Blu-ray, Video Quality
Anyone purchasing a copy of The Boondock Saints on Blu-ray, expecting to find a pristine looking film that dazzles the senses, is bound to be disappointed with the video contained on this release. Despite AVC Mpeg-4 encoding at 1080p, in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1, this Blu-ray encode exposes the film's visual limitations and budgetary constraints. Inconsistency reigns with The Boondock Saints; the print is dirty, scarred and abused, while cheap film stock hampers almost every frame.
Black levels vary throughout the presentation; deep in some scenes, crushed in others. Colors are often vivid, but occasionally dull. Detail also lacks consistency; it's exceptionally rendered throughout most of the film, while occasionally devolving into non- existent softness. While it is clear that The Boondock Saints looks better on Blu-ray than on DVD, the upgrade isn't nearly as dramatic as the transition viewers have experienced with other releases. Proceed with caution.
The Boondock Saints Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Boondock Saints fares quite a bit better in the audio department; the film's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track does an exceptional job of presenting the action-packed film as dynamically as possible. I'm pretty certain that the original sound mix for The Boondock Saints was nowhere near as active as this track, but it's a nice upgrade that manages to overshadow some of this disc's video troubles. Thankfully, lossless encoding has helped to make the main characters' Irish brogues a bit more intelligible, though the thick accents still occasionally come across as mumbled and rushed. Perhaps the original recordings are at fault; perhaps I'm just not accustomed to the dialect.
There's plenty of surround activity in The Boondock Saints; directional effects and discreet spatial ambience are used to great effect throughout the movie. Bass is also tremendously effective, creating an exceptional bottom-end that anchors every action scene. Fans of The Boondock Saints are bound to be impressed with the track; I'm very pleased with the appreciable upgrade that the Blu-ray edition offers over previous DVD releases. Recommended.
The Boondock Saints Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
- Audio Commentary with director Troy Duffy
- Audio Commentary with actor Bill Connelly
- Deleted Scenes
- Complete The Boondock Saints Screenplay
- Theatrical Trailer
Fans expecting a true special edition of The Boondock Saints might end up a wee bit disappointed with the supplements included on this Blu-ray release. The two feature-length commentary tracks are the highlight of the set; Billy Connelly provides a reasonably entertaining experience, while Troy Duffy is boring and difficult to listen to. From the way he talks about his movie and himself, one would think Duffy was the most heralded director in modern cinema; he's clearly overly impressed with his own abilities. The film's deleted scenes and outtakes are presented in abysmal quality and don't offer much to the overall scope of the film. Finally, Fox has included the complete screenplay for The Boondock Saints in a printable form. Budding screenwriters now have the opportunity to pour over every intricate detail of the film's script in a form that is suitable for autographs and edits. Get those red markers out!
The Boondock Saints Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Since first seeing the film, I've been confounded by The Boondock Saints. There is certainly a lot to like about the movie; its spirited performances, inspired casting and a genuinely unique story seem to be the ingredients that foster a successful film. Unfortunately, these positive elements just never quite gel into a coherent narrative, and I always manage to part ways with The Boondock Saints asking myself what the point of the movie was. In spite of the flick's legions of fans, I can't help but feel that a good number of viewers will be left scratching their heads by the strange plot twists and characters. It's just a bizarre movie. Fox has done their best with this Blu-ray release, but the low budget origins of the film seriously limit the image quality. Audio fares better than the video and offers some nice surround action, but the supplementary section is pretty poor. The Boondock Saints has a built-in audience that will jump at the chance to own the film in high definition. Despite any flaws in this release, this is clearly the finest treatment that the film has yet received. Recommended for fans.
The Boondock Saints: Other Editions
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• The Boondock Saints II Announced and Detailed - January 21, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced 'The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day' for release on Blu-ray on March 9. This sequel to the cult crime movie 'The Boondock Saints' was made possible by the home video success of the first film. In it, the MacManus ...
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• The Boondock Saints Blu-ray Gets Detailed - December 5, 2008
Fox Home Entertainment has revealed the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'The Boondock Saints', which is due to hit store shelves on January 13th. Though the film was widely panned by critics, it has developed a strong cult ...
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