Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on March 17th, 2010
“There’s two kinds of people in this world when you boil it all down. You’ve got your talkers and you’ve got your doers. Most people are just talkers. All they got is talk. But, when all is said and done, it’s the doers who change the world. And, when they do that, they change us. And, that’s why we never forget them.”
And while The Boondock Saints never did bring in box office gold (heck, it didn’t even bring in Box Office aluminum) like the characters in the film, they were not forgotten. There were conventions and local film festival showings that brought out untold thousands to share the movie experience. It became what we commonly call today a cult hit. But that’s a term of endearment used by critics and fans to describe this kind of grass roots fan base. Unfortunately, it’s a dirty word in Hollywood. No one in the studio highchairs wants to produce a cult film. Well, no one except maybe Troy Duffy.
It’s been 8 years since the violent events of the first film. If you have no idea what events I’m talking about, you really need to see that movie to bring yourself up to date. There’s no learning on the job with The Boondock Saints, and there’s no way I could do the job for you in this review. The boys are in hiding with their father in Ireland. It’s been an uncharacteristic peaceful existence for the MacManus clan. That is until word reaches them that a priest has been murdered back home in Boston. The crime was a brutal one. The Father was executed at his own altar, and the signature was that of the Saints. There were two bullets to the back of the head and pennies on their eyes. No doubt about it. It must have been the Saints. Except it wasn’t. What it was, was a message to the MacManus boys. Someone is calling the Saints out. With their honor at stake, the boys head back to Boston to root out the responsible party. They pick up a new sidekick along the way, the Mexican Romeo (Collins, Jr.). Together they set back to their old ways. Meanwhile a new FBI agent is on the case. She’s the eccentric agent with a flair Eunice (Benz). That appears to be bad news for a trio of detectives who helped cover up the Saints’ vigilante crimes in the past. Of course, tracking down the boys isn’t going to be that difficult. Just follow the trail of bodies.
In my review for the original film I called it somewhat of a black comedy. In that case it was all very subtle to be found in the quirks and edges of the action packed film. This time the comedic angle is far more in your face. Nowhere is that more evident than in the new character of Agent Eunice played by Buffy and Dexter star Julie Benz. She’s actually perfect in the part and plays it with more style than I’ve seen her with before. Unfortunately, the character is just too over the top. And, believe you me, that’s saying something when you compare her to Dafoe’s gay agent from the first film. You can’t blame the actress here. She’s obviously having the time of her life, and nothing happens in a Troy Duffy film that he doesn’t want to happen. Many of the supporting bad guys are also somewhat over the proverbial top, although not to the extent of Eunice. The sidekick Romeo also adds a ton of comic relief. I really could have seen Cheech Marin in this role. It’s that kind of exaggerated Mexican. Finally, there’s Peter Fonda in the climax with a Guido Sarducci Italian accent having a showdown with Billy Connolly. This is all to be expected, but it appears that Duffy had all of these ideas throughout the 10 years it took him to be cut loose again, that he just had too many gags and not enough movie to display them all. The result is a film that goes off on incredibly off the wall tangents and doesn’t ever really look tight.
Like the characters themselves, this movie is indeed a force of nature. The action is non-stop, and the bloody violence is far ahead of that you saw in the first film. The original trio of MacManus boys are back, with Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus back as the Saints. Of course, you can’t have a Boondock Saints film without Poppa MacManus in the guise of Billy Connolly. The three pick up right where they left off. They were obviously born to play these roles, and the ease with which they shed the 10 years is pretty amazing. Many of the supporting cast from the first film remains, at least those who survived the first film, and at least one who did not. The ending gets quite a bit contrived, but you just know that Duffy’s trying to say they’ll be back. The box office would seem to disagree. Still, these Saints have come back from worse.
The Boondock Saints is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is a very good 1080p image brought to you through a strong AVC/MPEG-4 codec. There’s a fine 30 mbps bit rate to keep the compression demons away. Much of the image plays into that larger than life mentality you have to accept from the film. Colors aren’t going to jump out at you, and sometimes the image is going to look like a gritty, grainy affair. It’s all a part of the style. The print is pristine, which I could not say about the original film’s HD release. The sharpness allows you to enjoy the details of these over the top crimes. Blood splatters everywhere, and cartridges fly from chambers, and it looks pretty good doing it. Black levels are a little better than average here. If I’m giving you the impression of a not so great image that still delivers, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. There’s a gritty naturalism that shows in this image presentation quite nicely, indeed.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track delivers a lot of pop for your 30 bucks. Now you’re not going to get a very aggressive surround mix; in fact the rears don’t appear to be delivering much of anything. You do get some dynamic ear-poppin’ sound from the front mains. The firefights don’t surround you, but they do explode for you. Subs get a pretty good workout as well. Dialog is clear, and you’ll be able to hear it all fine. Now, the often Celtic score is at times a phenomenal presentation. I like Celtic music in general, but it sounds like some extra effort went into reproducing the haunting melodies for this presentation. There’s plenty of loud music that drives your system, but it’s this subtle sweet music that will make you take the most notice; after all, anyone can do loud.
There are 2 Audio Commentaries. The first has director Troy Duffy and actor Billy Connolly, Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus. For such a rousing film, both of these tracks are pretty laid back. Duffy pretty much gives you the analytical point of view while Connolly and “sons paint with broader strokes, looking at the themes and issues of the entire film. There’s a lot of the expected “good to be back” material here, and they genuinely are glad to be together. It’s a fun and refreshing track.
The second track features Duffy returning but this time with Willem Defoe. The presence of the original film actor is a bit of a spoiler so don’t listen to it on your first run through.
Deleted Scenes: (2:38) SD Just two very short scenes with an optional play all. I have to believe there was more than this cut from the film. Come on, guys. Don’t hold back now.
Unprecedented Access – Behind The Scenes: (25:49) HD The typical cast and crew sound bites are intercut with some nice and very raw behind the scenes footage. It progresses through the production chronologically stopping at milestone days and shoots.
Billy Connolly And Troy Duffy – Unedited: (9:22) HD The two hang out in Billy’s hotel room for some tea and a lot of informal talking and joking around. It’s not a big deal, but it says the piece is unedited but there are some rather jarring edits in the thing. Uncensored might have been what they were going for, since Duffy has a rather lurid love affair with the F Bomb. Of note is that there is a painting on the hotel wall behind the guys that has been digitally frosted, likely for rights clearance concerns. I understand the situation, but you would think someone would think to clear these kinds of things, I don’t know, maybe before you shoot the piece. It’s distracting to say the least.
The Cast Confesses Secrets From The Set: (7:13) HD Sorry. No secrets revealed here. It’s really just a big love fest where everyone compliments everyone else for nearly 8 minutes.
Inside The Vault – The Weapons: (8:28) HD What would a Boondocks Saints film be without all of that firepower? Here’s a look at the film’s arsenal.
The Boondock Saints Hit Comic Con: (57:02 HD The cast and crew spend the day at San Diego’s Comic Con. The piece has plenty of behind the scenes footage of them at the event and a Q&A session held at the event.
After 10 years of “will they or won’t they” talk, gossip, and insider talk, a film that barely cleared 30 grand at the box office gets a $8 million sequel. How could that happen, you might ask. It doesn’t, is the stock answer. But Boondock Saints was no ordinary movie. Unfortunately, history repeated itself, and this film also tanked at the box. But this one didn’t fall quite so hard. It actually made a couple of bucks. $2 million to be exact. Is that enough to bring the Saints back for more? Give it about 10 years, and let’s see what happens. You see, Troy Duffy had this plan. It took a little over 10 years to work out. It was a little plan as plans go, I suppose. “Only one problem with this little plan … it worked.”