By now, The Boondock Saints has climbed the ranks of the “cult” favorites list, often settling in about mid-way into a top 50 list whenever one is constructed. It’s easy to see why as well; your first glance of this film offers up an entertaining, fast-paced action flick that is so stylistic that you’ll quickly forget about its lack of substance. The quality of interactions between the main characters remains strong on repeat viewings, however, so that is an easy source of likeability when it comes to this flick. Although a recent DVD re-release in 2006 gave fans an “uncut” version, Fox is now gracing us with a repeat performance with this Blu-ray release, containing all the same goodies as before.
Irish brothers Connor (Sean Patrick Flannery) and Murphy MacManus (Norman Reedus) 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 (Willem DaFoe) who follows their trail of bloodshed, but admits that the boys are doing exactly what he has always secretly wished to happen.
Admittedly the film is a bit vague on details, and it was only after I read the above synopsis did I actually fully comprehend why the two brothers were killing machines. Hell, the introduction of their father (?),or whoever it was, was completely random and I’m still not sure what that was about. One thing is for sure though, I certainly had a lot of fun watching this mess of a film. Guns firing, people falling in bloody mists and Willem DaFoe crossdressing. Honestly, it doesn’t get much more entertaining than that.
And I think that’s why the film has become such a cult favorite. It doesn’t do much that’s original, nor does it do much of…well, anything really, but it is really a ton of fun to watch. I can’t say it’ll be all that great on subsequent viewings, but for the first time you’re in such a confused state of mind that it’s entertaining solely because of that. I won’t give it high points for characterization or writing as it seems to be a bit of a sloppy mess, but it really was quite an enjoyable production through and through.
Which is probably why a sequel is now in the works. Thankfully it has all the same cast returning (minus DaFoe, whose character isn’t’ even in it), so hopefully it’ll be at least an entertaining romp. Honestly after watching this film I was surprised there wasn’t some sort of sequel, so it’s both nice and worrisome that they’re now doing one. I guess the DVD sales were high enough to allow them to do a sequel, although I imagine it’ll end up being DTV. Here’s hoping it doesn’t just make the cult classic into a joke.
When it comes to the two cuts of the film…well, there isn’t a whole lot of difference. Both have the same run time so that should tell you how much of a difference there is between the two; the only discernible difference I saw was a few extended sequences of violence, but nothing that actually changed the construction of the film or anything.
Still, no matter which way you cut it for the time being, Boondock Saints is a great film and one that’s highly entertaining, both because of the visuals and insanity that they cause but also because it’s just one of those films that is an easy way to be entertained. Recommended.
Fox has released Boondock Saints in a single disc release without any notices other than a firmware upgrade and disc art that mimics the cover. No slipcover is included and the menus for the film are simple and easy to navigate (with a cool bullet sound effect each time you change options). One nice thing about this Blu-ray release is Fox didn’t merely re-use the previous editions covers, but rather created a custom look for this release. Extras are the same as the “Uncut” DVD release from 2006.
Included here is an AVC encoded (@38mbps) transfer that is really a toss-up. Considering it’s ten years old, there isn’t a whole lot here to really take in in terms of fantastic detail or anything, so the film, while pretty to look at, definitely isn’t a demonstration transfer as there really aren’t any sequences that made me go “wow.” I will say there were some artistic shots, but in all it really just looked like Guy Ritchie lite. The audio, a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, is slightly more entertaining with decent surround spread and fantastic subwoofer output with each bullet shot. English, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.
Seven deleted scenes (19:04)
Director’s Cut seamlessly branched
The Boondock Saints theatrical trailer (2:11)
Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery, Willem Dafoe, Billy Connolly and Troy Duffy Filmographies
The Boondock Saints script
Audio commentary with writer/director Troy Duffy
Audio commentary with actor Billy Connolly
Look a bit light? Well…it is. I’m rather surprised there wasn’t a single mention of All Saints Day included here. There’s also no real making-of, although the two commentaries kind of make up for that. All in all a decent release, but slightly disappointing that a cult classic couldn’t get a little more in the featurettes department, especially considering this basically serves as it’s 10th Anniversary release.
Overall a solid release that’s Recommended if you don’t already own the previous edition. If you do own the 2006 two-disc release, however, then you can safely Skip this one as the video and audio aren’t really worth the upgrade.
The Boondock Saints is now available on Blu-ray.