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Friday, August 19, 2011

Tombstone (1993)

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell), now retired as a lawman, arrives in the growing mining town of Tombstone in the hopes of making his fortune. He is accompanied by his two brothers (Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton) and their wives as well as his common law wife (Dana Wheeler Nicholson). However, the law in Tombstone is ineffectual and overrun by outlaw activity. Directed by George Pan Cosmatos (RAMBO), this is a moderately entertaining if not very fresh western. Historically, it plays like dubious history but who goes to the cowboy movies for facts, right? In a western, it's the myth we want. The script by Kevin Jarre (who was fired as the film's director) is riddled with anachronistic dialogue while the acting goes from good (Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday) to adequate (Russell) to bad (Michael Biehn as Johnny Ringo). The busy score by Bruce Broughton isn't as effective as his western score to SILVERADO while the vivid wide screen lensing is by the great William Fraker (BULLITT). The huge cast includes Powers Boothe, Billy Bob Thornton, Dana Delany, Joanna Pacula, Jason Priestley, Terry O'Quinn, Thomas Haden Church, Stephen Lang, Michael Rooker, John Corbett, Billy Zane, Jon Tenney, Harry Carey Jr. and Charlton Heston, who has nothing to do but lend his iconic presence.

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