Video-store clerks have good reason to hate Quentin Tarantino — and not just because he’s one of the few in their ranks ever to make it on the other side of the counter. Ever since the director’s guns-and-gore debut, Reservoir Dogs, your local tape jockey has been forced to find space for dozens of subpar crime capers, replete with artificially offbeat gangsters and obvious pop-culture conversations. But a new two-disc DVD edition proves all the straight-to-shelf knockoffs in the world can’t diminish the thrills of ”Dogs.”
The film’s stylish, almost casual violence may have induced winces at the time, but it’s surprising how innocent the bank-robbery-goes-bad drama feels now, especially when watching the arsenal of extras. There’s a prefame Tarantino and Steve Buscemi rehearsing for a 1991 Sundance film workshop, and a lighthearted tribute to the late Lawrence Tierney, in which costars such as Michael Madsen and Chris Penn recount his amusingly volatile behavior. Tarantino himself even pops up sporadically on a cast-and-crew commentary track. It’s enough to forgive all the blatant ads for the spin-off merchandise.