Plot: What’s it about?
Connor & Murphy McManus (Sean Patrick Flanery & Norman Reedus) are Irish brothers who live in Boston, as part of a small, close community. The area is home to a lot of people, but most of them remain close and the businesses are mostly owned by locals, so it is sort of a self sustained neighborhood, if you will. So when the Russian mafia starts to push into the neighborhood and take over, it doesn’t sit well with anyone. But since most of the locals have little resources, the Russians are able to get a foothold and soon after, begin sending out business owners, to further their own financial plans. When a pub comes under the scope of the Russians, Connor, Murphy, and some others stand up to the intruders, but that’s just the start. Connor and Murphy begin to have visions that they’ve been chosen by the powers above, to fight evil and make the streets safe again, no matter what the cost. The rash of criminals murdered leaves the locals pleased, but FBI agent Smecker (Willem Dafoe) is called in to capture those responsible. But when he slowly discovers that the work being done is the type he wishes he could do himself, can he complete his assignment and bring in the killers?
The Boondock Saints has arrived on Blu-ray, complete with both the theatrical and extended versions, which is sure to please fans to no end. I really like this movie and I’m impressed it came from a first timer director in Troy Duffy, as it really has the polish often only seen in more experienced filmmakers. I do think some flaws are exposed in the acting at times, but for a first timer director, Duffy delivered and The Boondock Saints is one hell of a debut. This film is brash, violent, clever, and very fun to watch, thanks to a special brand of energy present throughout, an energy that never runs out of steam, not even for a second. The dialogue is well written and delivered to full effect, while the action scenes are filmed with skill, especially in terms of attention to detail. The premise is not too unique, but as the story unfolds, it pulls itself away from others like it enough, mostly due to the unusual characters found throughout. The cast is led by Willem Dafoe and is solid across the board, with good casting choices. This Blu-ray release is one fans will not want to miss and for first timers, this is the best way to experience The Boondock Saints.
His career is loaded with performances of quirky characters, so Willem Dafoe seems right at home within The Boondock Saints. His work here is as solid as usual, as Dafoe isn’t known for sleepwalking through a role, even in smaller roles and lesser known films. Dafoe is able to be a normal person with some unusual traits, which is perhaps due to his profession, perhaps just to some personal issues. His performance had to be top notch, as he is the connection between the movie and the audience at times, if he would have slacked off, the movie simply wouldn’t have maintained the same impact levels. Other films with Dafoe include Shadow of the Vampire, Platoon, The English Patient, Spider-Man, and Body of Evidence. The cast also includes Sean Patrick Flanery (Body Shots, Suicide Kings), Norman Reedus (Blade II, 8MM), and Billy Connolly (An Everlasting Piece, Beautiful Joe).
Video: How does it look?
The Boondock Saints is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This turns out to be a good, though not quite great visual treatment. I’ve seen several incarnations of this movie on DVD and without question, this transfer blows them all out of the water and then some. The film’s fine grain remains intact, which gives us a natural, film-like appearance and detail remains solid from start to finish. Not the kind of detail that earns rave reviews perhaps, but enhanced detail that makes a lot of difference. The colors remain as intended, so the hues are on the drab side, while contrast is spot on throughout. Not much else I could report here, just a good effort that should please fans.
Audio: How does it sound?
This DTS HD 5.1 option packs more punch than I expected, with an active surround presence that grabs your attention. The surrounds are alive throughout the film, but really come to life when the action heats up. Whenever the guns are drawn, you can be sure you’ll feel like you need to duck behind the couch. The sound design is just superb here, great presence and your home theater will be working hard on this one. The vocals and music also sound great, while subtle elements are well handled too. This disc also includes Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Up first is an audio commentary with writer/director Troy Duffy, who details the entire production process, from writing to financing to the actual shoot. Duffy is very laid back and relaxed, so his comments are informative and his memory is excellent, as he recalls all kinds of small details. I found this to be a solid, informative session and fans will of course not want to miss it, as Duffy is very candid here. A second session has star Billy Connolly on deck and while passable, this one has a lot of down time. But if you want to know as much as possible about the production, give it a spin. This disc also includes some deleted scenes, an outtakes reel, and the film’s trailer.