Title – Tombstone (1993)
Directors – George P. Cosmatos (Cobra) & Kevin Jarre (feature debut)
Cast – Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, Sam Elliot, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Charlton Heston, Thomas Hayden Church
Plot – Retired Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp (Russell) and a collection of his closest companions are forced to enter out of retirement and protect the township of Tombstone from a group of crazed cowboy outlaws.
“Make no mistake, it’s not revenge he’s after. It’s a reckonin”
Review by Eddie on 10/06/2020
When the discussion of Western’s comes up among film fans there’s the obvious choices like the Sergio Leone classics, The Searchers, Unforgiven and a myriad of other well-liked tales of the Wild Wild West but one film that has also managed to find itself in the conversation is 1993 hit Tombstone, a film not adored by critics upon release but one that’s stature has continued to grow in the years following its initial release.
Filled with one of the most eclectic and talented casts assembled in the 90’s, with some of the most enjoyable turns in the career’s of Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell in particular, George P. Cosmatos and Kevin Jarre’s film (with Jarre doing a bulk of the early filming only to find himself fired and replaced by Cosmatos) that chronicles the events leading up to the famous shootout at the O.K Corral that featured famed Western stalwarts Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and Wyatt’s brothers Virgil and Morgan.
Overcoming a somewhat loose and scatter-gun early approach that makes it hard to care to much for anyone or anything, Tombstone finds its pulpy western groove around the half way mark with it impossible not to get caught up in the retired lawman going on one last mission quest that sees Wyatt and his gang taking it to a group of marauding cowboys who are making the lives of those living in the town of Tombstone far harder than it need be.
With some of the best facial hair and swagger going around, the core cast of Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot, Val Kilmer and Bill Paxton make for some extremely enjoyable viewing with the gang of A-lister’s all clearly having a blast getting to play dress-up and enact out every young boys fantasy of western life, with Russell and Kilmer in particular shining in a loaded ensemble that find themselves competing for screen-time in a loaded two hour event.
There’s little nuance to anything going on and little deep reflection that is prevalent in the more thoughtful westerns like The Searchers or Unforgiven, to be expected when the director tasked with finalizing proceedings is responsible for the likes of Cobra and Rambo: First Blood Part 2, but there is a prevailing sense of playfulness and energy that keeps the film ticking along, particularly when the bodies start piling up in the films latter half.
Without providing anything that will make you ponder it once the credits begin to roll, Tombstone showcases how exciting and enjoyable the western genre can be, reminding us that its great to have the serious minded products but also that ones that feature Val Kilmer’s Southern accent and Powers Booth wandering around with custom made cowboy boots.
Final Say –
A fun western that eschews anything of lasting substance to instead give us an abundance of action and sassy attitudes, Tombstone is a fun ride to the wild west with one of the best casts ever assembled for such a product.
3 gun-toting audience members out of 5