Here’s a film that has been seen by just about everyone and rightfully so. TOMBSTONE is a highly entertaining, energetic western. I almost feel overwhelmed talking about all the details that are so great and not so great along with some of the behind the scene fiascos, but I will do my best to condense and stay on topic.
Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) enlists his brothers to head down to Tombstone, Arizona to strike it rich. Once there, success comes quite easily but they run into a gang that seems to run the town called The Cowboys. They are identifiable by red sashes they wear and believe they are above the law. The Earps try to keep their distance but it’s finally too much and can’t sit by why The Cowboys destroy the town. A battle between the Earps along with Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) against The Cowboys begins, including the famous OK Corral scene.
What really pulls this film through is the incredible performances. I’ll start with Kurt Russell who in a way, I think is very underrated. He plays Wyatt Earp with such quiet strength and confidence. On top of that, he apparently ghost directed the film during the firing of Kevin Jarre who wrote the script and was the original director of the film. The rumors were that Russell was a big reason the film kept afloat when Disney was threatening to shut down productions before finally bringing in George P. Cosmatos. But onto the rest of the cast which included an unforgettable legendary performance by Val Kilmer. After watching the film there is no doubt that you will be repeating lines and imitating his performance as Doc Holliday. Michael Biehn also has one his best roles as the psychotic educated quick draw Johnny Ringo, who is second in command for the Cowboys. The rest of the cast is like the who’s who convention of actors. It’s quite phenomenal and you will be surprised at who all is in this film and all do a terrific job including: Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Dana Delaney, Thomas Haden Church, Stephen Lang, Jason Priestley, John Corbett, Billy Zane, Terry O’Quinn, Michael Rooker, Billy Bob Thornton, Charlton Heston and Robert Mitchum as the narrator.
As mentioned before it sounds like the writer had an epic vision for the film with a bigger scale of character development, which I think would have greatly enhanced the film. But as it stands most of the characters have very small roles in the film that felt like they should have had a little more purpose. Unfortunately, the script got cut down and the film sometimes feels a little messy, jumping from scene to scene not letting anything settle in.
With that said, maybe the film flourished because of the negatives. The film is definitely sleeker, very brisk and entertaining. For the most part all the scenes are exciting besides a horseback riding love connection. The costuming is far more colorful and vibrant than one usually expects from a western but is accurate for a “boom” town like Tombstone. I can’t say enough on how enjoyable TOMBSTONE is to watch.
TOMBSTONE is a fun good-looking film with memorable scenes and lines contributed by the stellar cast. The positives definitely override some of the negatives like the lack of depth and care into the story the film provides. But if you’re looking for a good time, TOMBSTONE is your “huckleberry.” It may not be the most historically accurate western but check it out, “You’re a daisy if you do.”
Video: The transfer was extremely strong. The cinematography of the landscape, costuming and set pieces look beautiful on the Blu-ray edition…at times. At other times, it looked grainy and oversaturated.
Audio: The sound was very clear so much that the gunshots sounded like they were coming from my street. Thankfully I know the neighbors only use automatics rather than 6 shooters.
The Making of Tombstone (27:19): These are all interviews with the cast during the making of the film. It extremely interesting to see how the final product does not correlate with anything that some of them speak about. In some cases it’s the exact opposite of what the film represents.
Director’s Original Storyboards (19:41): This is a moving storyboard of the OK Corral scene. It’s kind of neat to see the action and shot choices before they happen.
Trailers & TV Spots (12:19): These are several trailers and spots. I always find these interesting because it sometimes sheds light on how a film was advertised back when it came out and it’s usually different than what you might think and really dates the film. What was really interesting about these were all the clips that were not even in the final film.