THE PLOT THUS FAR
This Western has become a modest cult favorite since its release in 1993, when the film was met with mixed reviews but the performances of Kurt Russell (as Wyatt Earp) and especially Val Kilmer, for his memorably eccentric performance as the dying gunslinger Doc Holliday, garnered high praise. The movie opens with Wyatt Earp trying to put his violent past behind him, living happily in Tombstone with his brothers and the woman (Dana Delany) who puts his soul at ease. But a murderous gang called the Cowboys has burst on the scene, and Earp can’t keep his gun belt off any longer. The plot sounds routine, and in many ways it is, but Western buffs won’t mind a bit thanks to a fine cast and some well-handled action on the part of Rambo director George P. Cosmatos, who has yet to make a better film than this.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Tombstone follows Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) after his retirement from being a lawman. Earp moves to Tombstone, a silver mining town, with his brothers (Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton) to make his fortune. However, a gang of rather uncouth lowlifes named the Cowboys, led by Curly Bill (Powers Boothe) and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), are ruling the town by terror. With the aid of eccentric Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), Earp takes back up the guns and tames the West as is suitable for a such a legend.
While the action is fairly good, what really shines in Tombstone are the characterizations and dialogue. Doc Holliday is nothing less than an anti-hero who holds to an honor code of loyalty and all things scoundrel. He’s got so much pinaché that it makes him a rare invincible character who becomes the center of any universe that he’s occupying.
Tombstone accurately depicts the Earps and Cowboy’s lifestyles; of course, from the Earp’s point of view. But that doesn’t take anything away from the film. Great Cinematography and a marvelous score really brings this tale of suspense to life. Kurt Russell pulls off his Wyatt Earp character quite well. Clearly showing his struggle to not be drawn into the Law again as well as trying not to fall for the free spirited Josephine Marcus. Russell’s performance is only overshadowed by Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Doc Holliday; quite possibly Kilmer’s best performance
Other notable characters are Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn) and Curly Bill Brocious (Powers Boothe), the leaders of the Cowboys. “Tombstone” should have ended at the Train Station as Wyatt shows his Marshall’s badge to Ike Clanton. This would have given the film a solid ending. Instead, it takes us through the chasing and killing of many Cowboys; long and drawn out through two montages.
RELEASE DATE: 04/27/2010