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CSI: Grave Danger (Blu-ray Review)

4 Feb, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

Street 2/7/12
$24.99 Blu-ray/DVD combo
Not rated.
Stars William Peterson, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall.

If you watched the two-part season five finale of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and had no idea it was directed by Quentin Tarantino, don’t be ashamed.

Oh, there are plenty of signs “Grave Danger” is from the famed director: a plot point right out of Kill Bill Vol. 2 (and one of the actors, too, if you’re paying close attention), with our hero buried alive. A line of dialogue from that film as well (“Normally you’d be 100% right. But this time you’re 100% wrong”). And the nonlinear storytelling is a hint as well.

But for some reason the two-parter doesn’t scream Tarantino. It’s dark, edgy, full of fun dialogue, purposefully bizarre in places and definitely entertaining. But it just doesn’t have that same groovy feel every Tarantino flick has. Can’t fault CBS for pulling this out by itself for a Blu-ray/DVD release though — it’s a perfect release for a collector of Tarantino’s works who doesn’t want an entire season of “CSI.”

“Grave Danger” sees investigator Nick Stokes (George Eads) abducted while working an apparent crime scene, awakening a short while later to find himself buried alive in a glass box. The rest of the team gets a ransom demand along with an Internet stream to watch Stokes suffer live, but when it turns out the kidnapper wants revenge more than money, the episodes turn into a mad scramble by the CSI team to find Stokes before it’s too late.

“Grave Danger” was a fitting end to the fifth “CSI” season, reuniting the night shift team that had spent most of the year broken up. And it’s a very fast-paced, claustrophobic thriller that does feel less like a TV show and more like a feature flick.

There’s but one bonus feature in this Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, but it’s a great one. “CSI: Tarantino Style,” a leftover from the original fifth-season set, pairs interviews with cast and crew along with Tarantino on the set and is filled with tidbits you never would have guessed (like how “Grave Danger” wasn’t meant to be a two-parter, but the producers didn’t want to chop Tarantino’s work).

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