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THE BOONDOCK SAINTS ($35) is a film that is notable for the behind-the-scene drama that surrounded its production, as well as its first-time director Troy Duffy. I wonít dwell on the details of what happened, but there is a lesson in itÖ unless you are an "A" list director with a bunch of blockbusters in your resume, you really canít afford to bite the hand that feeds you. As a result of what happened behind-the-scenes, THE BOONDOCK SAINTS ended up being made on a shoestring budget; saw a miniscule theatrical release, and then it was dumped practically direct-to-video. Of course, video proved to be the saving grace for THE BOONDOCK SAINTS, as the film developed an audience during the decade, since it was made. Not only that, the cult popularity of the film on video has resurrected the career of Troy Duffy to the point where he was able to write and direct an up and coming sequel.

As for a movie itself, THE BOONDOCK SAINTS is and over-the-top, violent, vigilante exploitation film, but it is also intensely fun and funny, thanks to satirical edge and some black comic flavoring. The premise of THE BOONDOCK SAINTS follows Irish American fraternal twin brothers Connor McManus (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy McManus (Norman Reedus), whose destiny is changed after getting into a brawl with a few Russian mobsters, while celebrating St. Patrick's Day in a Boston neighborhood bar. The brothers McManus, along with some cohorts, end up totally humiliating the Russians, who come back for revenge on Connor and Murphy. Nearly getting murdered, Connor and Murphy come away from the encounter a bit battered, but thatís a lot better the dead Russians they in the alley outside their flat.

As expected, the bodies of the mobsters attract the attention of the Boston PD, as well as that of FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe- in an unrestrained one of a kind performance), who ultimately clears the brothers, citing it as a case of self-defense. From this experience, Connor and Murphy have something of an epiphany, and decide to rid Boston of the criminal element with the help of their friend David "The Funnyman" Della Rocco (David Della Rocco). Of course, the local mob boss isnít about roll over, so he enlists the aid of infamous contract killer Il Duce (Billy Connolly), who proves to be the kind of uncontrollable wildcard that he didnít count on.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made THE BOONDOCK SAINTS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Both the original Theatrical Version and the Directorís Cut of the film are present on the disc. Considering age and the filmís small budget, the 1080p presentations of THE BOONDOCK SAINTS really looks great. Sure, one will not confuse THE BOONDOCK SAINTS with a new, big budget movie, but this is a truly fine hi-def presentation of a low budget film. Image sharpness and detail are fairly strong; even fine details like individual hairs are rendered with more than respectable clarity, especially in close up. Some shots appear softer than others, but nothing is out of sorts. Much of the time, there is a nice sense of dimensionality to the picture, but it is not outstanding. Colors are warmly saturated and the flesh tones are reasonably natural. Blacks are deep, whites are stable, plus the picture has smooth contrast and more than respectable shadow detail. The elements from which THE BOONDOCK SAINTS was transferred display modest blemishes. There is some grain in the picture, but it is never excessive.

THE BOONDOCK SAINTS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. THE BOONDOCK SAINTS offers plenty of shoot Ďem up action, so the sound design is pretty aggressive. All of the outlying channels are well utilized, to fire sound effects all over the soundstage. Plus, the bass channel is deep and percussive, which enhances the gunfire. Fidelity is pretty great; both the music and sound effects come across quite. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. No other language tracks have been included on the disc, but English subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Starting things off are two running Audio Commentaries included on the Blu-ray Disc; the first is with director Troy Duffy, while the second features actor Billy Connolly. Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, a copy of the filmís Script and Theatrical Trailer close out the extras.

Violent and blackly comic, THE BOONDOCK SAINTS is a movie that I had a whole lot of fun watching. As I stated above, the Blu-ray release offers a truly fine hi-def presentation of a low budget film. Definitely recommended to fans.



The Boondock Saints [Blu-ray] (2000)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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