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Featured Blu-ray review - Boondock Saints: Truth and Justice Edition

June 16th, 2011

Boondock Saints: Truth and Justice Edition - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

Boondock Saints is a movie with a reputation that is hard to ignore. In fact, the behind-the-scenes, Overnight, earned better reviews than Boondock Saints earned. Boondock Saints also bombed hard at the box office. However, it developed a huge following on the home market with some reports giving its total home market revenue at $50 million. It has done so well that the studio recently gave the film its second Blu-ray release. But is it worth the upgrade? Will newcomers to the film want to grab the new version?

The Movie

The film starts in church and we are introduced to Conner and Murphy MacManus, two Irish immigrants living in Boston who work in a meatpacking plant. They like to have a good time, but their favorite bar is closing down, because the local Russian Mob is forcing the owner out of business. When three Mob enforcers come into the bar to shut it down early, Conner and Murphy try to reason with them. After all, it is Saint Patrick's Day and letting him stay open a couple more days won't make that much of a difference.

Flash forward the next day and two of the mobsters are lying dead in an alleyway with wounds that are a little hard to explain. Fortunately, FBI agent Paul Smecker is on the case, and with the help of classical music, he's able to piece things together. But while he has the how, he doesn't have the who. That changes when Conner and Murphy MacManus come into the police precinct and confess, arguing self-defense. After giving their side of the story, he's convinced and decides not to charge them. He does allow them to stay in a holding cell, till the press are escorted away.

It's while in that cell the two brothers decide they've been given a calling from God and that they were put on Earth to rid the world of the bad guys so that the good guys can flourish. They go after the various crime bosses in Boston. But of course, this attracts the attention of FBI agent Paul Smecker, who doesn't connect the earlier self-defense killings with the new professional looking hits. Also, the Mafia types are not ones to let something like this go, and they hire one of the best hitmen around, Il Duce to kill the brothers. The three forces will collide, it's just a matter of who will get to the brothers, the cops of the mob?

Boondock Saints is a film that is loaded with action and style, but little else. Like I mentioned the last time I reviewed the film, it feels like the writer / director watched too many similar movies and combined the various elements into one movie and plastered over the cracks with way too much style. The style in this film is oppressive at times, including the overuse of slow motion, which is a pet peeve of mine. (It also feels borrowed, which further reenforces the predictability of the film.) The non-chronological nature of the story-telling works the first time, but that too is overused by the end. Add in a few elements that were superfluous and you have a movie that is a bit of a mess.

On the other hand, there are some elements that work, including Willem Dafoe's acting, which I would argue is the best part of the movie. There are also several good action set pieces that are effective, despite the director's ham-fisted attempts to add style to them. Not enough of the film works for a full recommendation, but it's not as bad as its Tomatometer Score either.

The Extras

As for the extras, do you want the good news first, or the bad news? The good news is that there are a lot of extras, including two audio commentary tracks, deleted scenes, outtakes, etc. The bad news is that there's only one extra that's new to this addition, but at least it's a rather meaty 29-minute retrospective. The Bookdock Saints: The Film & The Phenomenon is way too heavy on the praise for my liking, but fans of the film should enjoy it.

The video and audio are good, given the production budget of the film. There is a layer of grain in the film that's a little on the heavy side, but that's very likely due to the source material and nothing can fix that. (Using digital noise reduction, or DNR, generally makes things worse overall.) There are a few scenes where the colors pop, but for the most part they are a little muted. The black levels are good, but not great. While there are nearly no flaws with the print. (I think I saw one or two specs here and there.) The dialogue is clear, while there is good use of your surround sound speakers for ambient sounds, as well as directional effects.

There is a problem with the price. Right now, the original Blu-ray release cost just $13 on Amazon.com, but this version costs $28. With only one additional extra, it's not worth that much for the upgrade.

The Movie

While Boondock Saints isn't as bad as its Tomatometer Score, it isn't particularly good either. There are too many borrowed elements, too much style, and not enough substance for the movie to be completely satisfying. On the other hand, if you just want some mindless action, you could do worse. The Truth and Justice Edition doesn't offer enough to warrant the upgrade, while the previous Blu-ray release is far less expensive.


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Filed under: Video Review, The Boondock Saints