Dead in Tombstone Blu-ray Review
“The West…They’ll tell you it’s built on the backs of God-fearing folks with true grit in their hands and the American Dream in their hearts. Whoever wrote that’s sellin’ snake oil…The real West is a heartless, lawless viper pit. An American nightmare forged by the flames of hell and the hammer of the beast…I devour the souls of men. In the West, I never go hungry.”
Those words are spoken by none other than Lucifer (Mickey Rourke, looking like a Halloween costume version of himself), who probably was no stranger to the Bird Cage Theatre.
Cut to the earth’s surface, where gunslinger Red Cavanaugh (Anthony Michael Hall, THE DARK KNIGHT) is set to be hanged—that is, until the Blackwater Gang, a band of baddies made up of murderers, arsonists and rustlers, comes to the rescue. The next day, he tells his pals he’s gotten wind of a big score in the Colorado mining town of Edendale. Things go according to plan until Red turns traitor and unleashes a storm of bullets into Guerrero De La Cruz (Danny Trejo, MACHETE/KILLS), the leader of the Blackwater Gang and his half-brother.
In Hell, De La Cruz makes a plea with Lucifer: if he lets him go, he’ll return to the West and bring back the souls of the rest of his former gang, who have names like Baptiste, Darko and Snake.
And so DEAD IN TOMBSTONE turns into a revenge movie, complete with blazing pistols and bloody corpses. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s a standard revenge actioner (despite the main character being a dead man trying to play nice with the Devil). De La Cruz goes through all of the motions such a character would, collecting heads one by one until he gets to the main enemy, which of course is Red.
DEAD IN TOMBSTONE is written by the team of Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn (THE SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION), and directed by Roel Reiné, who is no stranger to direct-to-video fare himself (or unwarranted sequels, as his credits include 2009’s THE MARINE 2, 2010’s DEATH RACE 2 and 2013’s 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED, not to leave out the aforementioned SCORPION KING sequel). As with the bulk of his works, Reiné has an idea of how to attract B-level stars (Rourke downgraded himself not long after his near-comeback); but putting Danny Trejo in a black hat and a leather jacket just isn’t enough, and neither is giving the geek who stole Molly Ringwald’s panties in SIXTEEN CANDLES a gun.
There are a lot of rough-and-tumble characters in DEAD IN TOMBSTONE, and maybe that will go over well with its target audience, who likely equate scruff and shaggy hair with toughness. But even they may get tired of the action sequences, which are nothing more than lazily shot collections of whizzing bullets and exploding squibs, and do little to heighten the excitement.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Roel Reiné was asked to direct a sequel to DEAD IN TOMBSTONE. Nor would it be a shock if he turned it down to helm THE REUNION 2.
DEAD IN TOMBSTONE BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. DEAD IN TOMBSTONE is given a very strong high-definition transfer, with accurate colors and fine details throughout.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0; English Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The score, dialogue and sound effects (gunfire, explosions, storming mobs) come through without any detectable issues.
Rated and Unrated Versions of DEAD IN TOMBSTONE
Feature Commentary: Director Roel Reiné goes solo for this track, in which he offers a number of tidbits about the production, including gathering the cast, filming a western and more.
The Making of DEAD IN TOMBSTONE (9:43): This standard behind-the-scenes piece offers interviews and on-set footage to give an overview of the movie.
Horses, Guns & Explosions (5:23) focuses on the stunts of DEAD IN TOMBSTONE.
Roel Reiné: The Leader of the Gang (4:28) puts the spotlight on director Reiné and his style.
A Town Transformed (4:04) looks at the sets and the work that went into creating Tombstone.
Creating Hell: The VFX (3:09) includes a collection of sequential images to show how Hell and Tombstone (and some of the effects therein) were completed.
Deleted Scenes (15:58): There are nine here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “It’s Time,” “Mrs. Massey is Queen,” “Death Walks Among Us,” “The Name of This Town is Tombstone,” “Ramos Visits Guerrero’s Grave,” “You Know It’s a Slaughterhouse,” “Who Should Be Left to Stand?,” “Guerrero Grabs the Guard,” and “Thanks Again Guerrero.”
Deleted Shots Montage (5:14)