Down on the "Boondock"

Down on the "Boondock"

DVD Review

"The Boondock Saints." Maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't. Maybe you think its one of the greatest films ever, maybe you think it's the worst. Maybe you think its director, Troy Duffy, is a cinematic genius or maybe you think he's a overblown hack.

"Saints" might be one of the most polarizing films to be released in years, yet it was only released in five theaters in the entire world — and then went straight to video in 2000.

Now it is getting the release it justly — or unjustly, depending on your view of the movie — deserves in a re-mastered two-disc, unrated directors cut special edition DVD.

"The Boondocks Saints" is a bloody, vigilante story of two Irish brothers on a mission from God to kill evil men (in this film portrayed as the Russian mafia). The film was Duffy's directorial debut, and during the filming he made plenty of enemies. One of them was Harvey Weinstein, who owned the production company making the movie. Thus, the film was shelved and its only true release was in Blockbuster Video stores. Through word of mouth, the film garnered a fan base, and then all of a sudden Duffy and the "Saints" were commonplace in college dorm rooms across the nation. A fan base grew around a film that was supposed to be killed off.

(The story of the film's making is even more complex and sordid than can be explained here, but a documentary called "Overnight" chronicles the film's creation and Duffy's abrasive attitude.)

It's hard to pinpoint why "Saints" became such a cult hit. Possibly because of its clever action sequences and the Tarantino style of directing. Possibly its cast, which includes Willem Dafoe as a gay FBI agent and Billy Connolly as hitman Il Duce. Possibly because its content was incredibly controversial at the time due to Columbine and other shootings. Or maybe its just because the story behind the film being made was just that great that people needed to see it.

So now, six years after its release, Fox has put it back out with a few more minutes of blood and gore, a new commentary track from Billy Connolly, re-mastered image and sound ... though not much else.

The new footage is additional slow-motion shooting and bloodier deaths, which doesn't sound like much but does add a bit to some of the death scenes that seemed a little truncated in the original release. The new commentary is decent but really needs a screening of "Overnight" to go along with it.

The second disc of special features is a joke, with a few deleted scenes and a bloopers reel, both of which were offered on the original DVD. New are some cast and crew bios and theatrical trailers.

The new DVD is technically much better, but if you're just watching it on your standard-sized stereo television, you might not get more than some extra blood and a cool DVD metallic collector's case out of it.