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Tombstone - Blu-ray

Blu-ray Review Tombstone

Directed by: George P. Cosmatos Cast: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, Sam Elliot, Powers Boothe Running Time: 2 hrs 10 mins Rating: R Due Out: April 27, 2010 Buy Tombstone [Blu-ray] on Amazon

PLOT: Legendary cowboy Wyatt Earp (Russell) tries to retire from justice with this brothers in the small town of Tombstone, Arizona. Their plans for peace are shortly disrupted by a group of outlaws who force the brothers to take up vigilantism one last time.

WHO'S IT FOR?: This 1993 western is best reserved for fans of the genre, as general moviegoers may not have the same tolerance for Tombstone's pacing or corny moments as those who prefer the likes of John Wayne and even Sergio Leone's "Dollars" trilogy. Also, this for those who think that Val Kilmer can't act very well - he's gives a quite a good performance here.


Westerns are a difficult genre for Hollywood. Every time a film studio makes one, they are given the challenge of trying to make cowboy hats and outlaws exciting again, if not somehow fresh. Tombstone is a big-budget western that doesn’t fare very well with this mission, as its too busy looking back and trying to imitate the golden days of the western instead of offering its audiences anything special. The R-rated violence offers a dash of roughness, but the movie itself is concerned with homage more than telling its own story. Val Kilmer’s performance of a dying Doc Holliday stands as the only memorable element of the dragged-out jaunt to Tombstone, even though the movie features a very loaded cast list, and a spare amount of gun-fights that could get someone’s heart to stop beating for a few seconds. Russell’s performance is ultimately corny, especially when he whines “No!” before killing a few bad guys in a moment that Eastwood could make instantly bad-ass in his sleep.

According to IMDb, Director George P. Cosmatos has said that the lighting and mustaches in Tombstone are real. While I believe him that the gorgeous sunset photography is indeed real, it doesn’t look like he’s telling the truth about Kurt Russell. The 1080p of this very sharp transfer really brings out every pore on Russell’s face, and if one should learn anything from gazing upon Sam Elliot’s lip beard, it looks like the man who plays Wyatt Earp here could possibly be faking it. If this is the case, then you’ve got a perfect metaphor for how Tombstone compares to the movies it wants to be just like: Sam Elliot’s mustache is completely genuine and looks natural, and Russell’s attempts are those of a half-successful imitator.



The Making of Tombstone: Making An Authentic Western - A lot of work went into making this film as authentic to the era of Earp as possible. Thus, this is a pitiful special feature that makes one wish all of the effort put into legitimate customing and borderline obsessive set design was used with a better script. This extra features an appearance from production designer Catherine Hardwicke, who would later move up in the film world to direct a small independent film called Twilight.

The Making of Tombstone: The Gunfight at the OK Corral - Apparently this shootout was a big deal, though it was covered in 30 seconds and was followed up by "more brutal" episodes of violence, as stated by Bill Paxton in this extra. The actors discuss the process of shooting the scene, and recount like historians how the character they are portraying acted to the exact movement.

Director's Original Storyboards - Accompanied by a mini-score, the original drawings scribbled out in great detail are shown here in order, though the focus is on the picture and less on the text below. It's interesting to see the film-making process broken down shot by shot, but it's also a tad difficult to completely keep up with.


Trailers and TV Spots



A total of 30 minutes of special features compliment this Blu-ray that is more than not for people who already have some sort of appreciation for Tombstone. Maybe you're a big fan of Kurt Russell, or want to keep up with every movie that Charlton Heston has a cameo in (Don't forget Armageddon!) Either way, the picture and sound are sharp on this Blu-ray, but the movie itself is not.


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