Boondock Saints: Truth and Justice Edition (Bluray)

As much as I try to keep up on 'all things movie', even I miss a few things. For example, about 5 or 6 years ago a friend and I were talking DVDs (big surprise) and he was shocked that I didn’t have a copy of "Boondock Saints." I mentioned that I not only did not have a copy, but hadn't even heard of the movie. (In my defense, this was before all of the hype that the movie has gotten recently.)

He looked at me like I was from another planet (as I'm sure some of you might be looking at this review in much the same way), and he proceeded to tell me it was the coolest movie ever, and that I had to see it as soon as possible. Well, with my curiosity piqued, the next time I happened into a used DVD shop, I picked up a copy.

Now, I planned on bringing it home and watching it that same night, but as fate would have it the night did not go as planned.

The next thing I knew I had a back log of DVDs I needed to watch and review so I set it aside. As the weeks went by, the DVD eventually made it up onto my shelf, but still had not been slipped into my player. This, unfortunately ends up being the case for the handful of DVDs I actually buy instead of getting for review. More weeks went by, more reviews got written, more dust collected on the "Boondock Saints" DVD case. My friend kept asking me if I had seen it, but finally gave up a few months later.

I'll eschew all of the details surrounding the events of my life during that period of time (turning 40, adding a little girl to our family, etc…) and skip ahead a little. I received a DVD release of "Boondock Saints", but it was an 'Unrated' version. Of course, not having seen the original DVD release, I had no idea what differences there would be, but there was my chance. Finally, I got to schedule time to watch the movie so I could write about it. My first thought though, was why Fox re-released a movie that was so under the radar that I had not heard of it except that one time my friend brought it to my attention. Then, upon closer examination, I noticed that the 2-disc set was housed on a beautifully embossed metal case. What in the world could be so special about this movie as to re-release it in such an awesome case? The answer it seemed, lay in the director and the movie's loyal, and as I understood it, ever-growing fan base.

With "Boondock Saints", director Troy Duffy created a film that was excessively violent and utilized a non-linear style of story-telling that has been compared to Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction." It starred Sean Patrick Flanery (of "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" fame) and Norman Reedus as Irish brothers who believe they have been chosen to rid the world of evil. They target the drug dealers and the like, dealing out a brutality that almost surpasses that of their victims. Hot on their trail is FBI agent Paul Smecker, played by Willem DaFoe, but as he closes in on them he begins to question whether what they’re doing is all that wrong. (Admittedly, I often ask myself that question when it comes to vigilantism. Who says only law enforcement has the right to mete out justice?)

I also understand that Duffy, as well as his film have been the targets of a ton of controversy over the years. Most of this has been in relation to his supposed violent and obsessive nature. It has been reported that he was extremely rough on his actors during the making of this film, for example. It is also been said that his temper got him on the bad side of the studios involved in the film's release, and because of this barely got it into theatres at all. But all this controversy (that I somehow missed) created an interest in the film that has grown over the years.

As for my take on the movie? I have to agree with the opinion of my friend… to a point. I cannot say it is the 'best movie I have ever seen', but it showed promise for director that has a great movie in him somewhere. As people have said, the structure of the film was very similar to that of "Pulp Fiction" in more ways than its non-linear style. There were specific scenes that felt as though they were lifted directly from that film, nut I'm not sure Duffy meant for them to be a carbon copy. It was more a taking of the idea and expanding on it.

While I liked the movie very much, and do recommend it to consumers who like their films bloody and violent, there was still something missing that kept it from being the great movie it could have been. There was an air of detachment between myself and the lead characters, making it difficult to get totally drawn into their world. Usually, the best films for me have characters that I can identify with, even if for the littlest of reasons. Or, at the very least I need to feel an emotional stake in their lives. Here, the detachment left me a bit cold. I could agree with their actions, but could not celebrate them. They did what they did, and that was about it.

Skipping ahead to the present, I will say that I have since grown a greater appreciation for the film and actually quite liked its sequel. I’ve met both Flanery and Reedus and found them to be fun to talk to and have a strong appreciation for their fans. There’s a lot of talk about a third film, and I certainly hope there is one.

The reason I’m talking about all this now however is in light of 20th Century Fox’s decision to release a 10th anniversary Bluray Edition. This edition offers up both the theatrical and unrated editions, and with little difference in their running time I still can’t tell you what is different about them. Both versions look great in terms of the transfer, delivering a solid picture. Sound is a different story, and while it’s not a bad mix, there isn’t much in the way of ambient sounds. The dialogue however, is set right at center and is easy to hear, which is very important as everyone speaks with a thick Irish brogue.

Most of the extra features are the same ones that are included on the earlier DVD edition. There is a very telling commentary by Duffy, as well as some deleted scenes and outtakes. Additionally there is a commentary by actor Billy Connolly, who delivers a very open and honest series of anecdotes on the making of the film and the controversies surrounding it. He doesn’t dwell on the bad, but he doesn’t shirk them either. The one new feature is a 30 minute reunion with the director, Flanery, Reedus and David Della Rocca. They’ve been hitting the convention circuit recently and here they are given an opportunity to reminisce. Additionally you’ll find a Digital Copy of the film.

"Boondock Saints" is a very good movie that should have been great. But it is good enough for me to recommend to you… IF you like movies that are bloody and violent.

Directed by: Troy Duffy
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, David Della Rocca, Bill Connolly
Extras: Commentary by writer/director Troy Duffy, Commentary by actor Billy Connolly, Deleted scenes, Outtakes, Trailer
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: 6/14/2011

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