Paramount // 2012 // 949 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // September 27th, 2013
"All this carnage..."
I say bleed out; you say Exsanguination. I say deep cuts; you say lacerations.
Bruised and battered. Evidence scattered.
Let's call the whole thing CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Thirteenth Season.
The long-running gross-out crime procedural picks up right where it left off last, with the CSI team in deadly crisis. The tension goes into turbo-drive when team leader D.B. Russell (Ted Danson, Cousins) learns that his granddaughter has been kidnapped.
Many questioned the wisdom of putting a "comedy actor" in the lead position, following Laurence Fishburne's exit at the end of season eleven. Those folks either have short memories, or have been unlucky enough to miss Danson's pre-Cheers work in The Onion Field, Body Heat, and Creepshow, to name a few. Nevertheless, those who feared that he wouldn't be able to handle the heavy stuff will be pleasantly surprised by his magnificent performance in edge-of-your-seat opener, "Karma To Burn."
Likewise, Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas) gets to show off the chops that once made her an Oscar contender, particularly in "CSI On Fire," which delves into the history of her rule-flaunting Julie Finlay character, and gets my vote as this season's highlight.
The bodies pile up and the gore flows freely throughout all twenty-two episodes during the show's bar mitzvah year, and just as these post-mortem detectives must routinely trawl through fragmented bone and jellied brain (not to mention dumpster diving -- think of the smells alone!), they occasionally find themselves immersed in improbable -- if not impossible -- circumstances, and forced to utter some pretty corny dialog.
Even so, year thirteen is an exceptionally strong one, giving each of its eleven principals his or her own spotlight time without disrupting the flow or sacrificing the any of high-tech glitz and gore its fans obviously crave. You like your murder with a side order of music video? Don't look now, but season-ender "Skin In The Game" features Black Sabbath performing cuts off their new album, also titled "13." Coincidental? Who knows? Who cares?
Hey, Seinfeld fans: Just wait until you see guest star Toby Huss (the guy who played Elaine's dreamy-eyed boyfriend Jack, a.k.a. TV pitchman "The Wiz") do his downright chilling Frank Sinatra impersonation in "It Was A Very Good Year" -- your mind will be blown. Remember where this series is set? Vegas, baby, Vegas!
Paramount gives this exercise in style plenty of substance with a spanking set of anamorphic widescreen transfers, and three audio options: 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo (in English) with a second stereo track in Spanish. Need just a bit more stimulation? There are also English captions for the hard-of-hearing, which no doubt includes most of the CSI crew by now.
They've also piled on the extras. "Seth And Apep," is a crossover episode from the ninth and final season of CSI: NY, and "A Tale Of Two CSI's" a twelve-minute promo about the making of that crossover episode. There are an additional eight short promos about various facets of the series, mostly focused on the season at hand, but one, called "Anatomy Of A TV Hit," examines the process of putting the original pilot together, and features erstwhile CSI star William Petersen (speaking in his capacity as series executive producer). Add audio commentaries and deleted scenes from selected episodes, and you've got more bonus features than you can shake a stick at -- and more than I'll ever get through, if I'm being honest.
Having survived its unlucky-numbered season (not to mention outliving all its spin-offs), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation seems to have gotten a strong second wind; this collection is a must for any true fan.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 949 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Bonus Episode
* Official Site