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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Drama > Killer > Murder > Torture > TV > Israel > Urban > Police > Crime > Corruption > CSI: Grave Danger (2005/CBS Blu-ray)/Rabies (2010/Image DVD)/The Son Of No One (2010/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)

CSI: Grave Danger (2005/CBS Blu-ray)/Rabies (2010/Image DVD)/The Son Of No One (2010/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)


Picture: B & C+/C+/B-     Sound: B & B-/B-/B-     Extras: C/D/C     Main Programs: B-/B-/C+



Here are some recent thrillers arriving on home video.


CSI: Grave Danger (2005) is actually a two-part episode directed by Quentin Tarantino (who also co-wrote with three regulars from the series) about one of the regular investigators being kidnapped by a madman and the team’s search to find him.  William Petersen was still the lead here and it is easily one of the best episodes of any of the variants of this series and maybe being a two-parter helped.  Tarantino is in his element joining the many great filmmakers of the 1970s who made gritty feature films, but also worked on the plethora of crime television shows in the same period from TV’s last golden era.  This can be tough to watch as expected, but I also liked the guest cast.  Besides Tony Curtis and Frank Gorshin showing up as themselves in some of their last work anywhere, the guest cast includes Scott Wilson, Lois Chiles, Andrew Prine and John Saxon in his best TV work since the early episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, reviewed elsewhere on this site.


Tarantino’s use of Saxon is creepy, clever, effective and adds to the many elements that make this feel grittier than these over-technologized police procedurals have typically been.  You do not need to be a fan of the series or even Tarantino (though I am) to enjoy what was accomplished here.  Makes me miss the original cycle of such shows, which many companies (especially CBS) have also been issuing of late.  Extras include the bonus DVD version and featurette CSI - Tarantino Style.



Dubbed the first Israeli Horror film, Navot Papushado‘s Rabies (2010) is the big surprise here, starting with the fact that no one gets the actual disease rabies and this is not a corny natural disaster genre film.  Instead, we get a surprisingly smart, clever outright thriller that easily outdoes the thousands of bad U.S. torture porn duds and second-rate genre works we have suffered through over the last decade or so.  A woman is out in the woods with her brother, but she has been trapped in an underground pit and we join her as her brother is trying to free her, but someone else comes along and attacks him.  In the meantime, two teen couples are on there way to the same place.


Instead of the four unexpectedly facing the killer and shock of what is going on, the script has all kinds of interesting developments, asides and twists in advance that make this more suspenseful than most such films in a long time.  Though we have still seen some of this and there are a few holes in logic, I was impressed and would not be surprised if someone tried to remake it or rip it off soon.  There are sadly no extras.



Finally, we get yet another police drama about corruption (and again in New York) with Dito Montiel’s The Son Of No One (2010) with Channing Tatum as a new police officer in New York City with a strange past secret.  He has a wife (Katie Holmes) and child, a goofy partner and somewhat peculiar boss (Ray Liotta) as he is about to strangely be haunted by events in the projects he grew up in.  We have seen more of this before than I would have liked to and the ending’s attempt to imitate Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River is a big mistake and idiotic.

Al Pacino also shows up in three scenes but like Liotta’s performance here, they are repeating themselves in the worst way and Tatum sometimes underacts too much in some scenes where that approach otherwise works.  Juliette Binoche is the newspaper reporter who is getting strange letters about the cover-up of two murders and this just never adds up to being believable.  Too bad, because a better script with more originality could have made this one work as the cast at least makes sense for the most part.  Extras include Deleted Scenes and a feature length audio commentary track by Montiel and Producer/Editor Jake Pushinsky.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on CSI is the best-looking of the discs here, as the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Son is a little softer and weaker than expected, even with its styling.  All in all, they Blu-rays are presentations faithful to the original productions, so I don’t think they could be any better.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD version of the CSI program also included is softer and weaker than expected, being no match for the Blu-ray.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Rabies is also on that weak side, but I bet a Blu-ray version would look nicer.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the CSI Blu-ray also happens to be the sonic champ among the new mixes here.  Its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD counterpart is more lively than expected.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on Son could be better and though the production can be dialogue-based, the mix is more towards the front channels than I would have liked.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Rabies is better than the Dolby 2.0 version and the recording and mixing is a plus, integrated into the narrative well.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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