Monday, July 6, 2009
Day 157: Tombstone (1993) - Rank 4/5
After "Heavy Metal," it seems I'm on a guilty pleasure kick. "Tombstone," while intended as a quasi-biopic of Wyatt Earp's time in Tombstone, Arizona, it's purely an indulgence in shootin' Western action. Far more entertaining and action-packed than the tedious epic "Wyatt Earp" that followed less than a year later. The very fact that the "Bill Paxton factor" is present is utter proof that sheer amusement is the main goal of the story.
Kurt Russell plays the infamous, old West lawman with the greatest of acting proficiency that the B-movie star has to offer. He's backed by Sam Elliot, who time traveled from the 1880's into the present only to live out a quiet life as a character actor in the genre, and who plays Earp's older brother Virgil. The true ham among hams in the film though, is Val Kilmer, executing Doc Holiday with such invalid glee that he spouts out one liners as regularly as he does blood.
The film's greatest downfall is it lacks what could be considered a "true climax." The legendary shootout at the OK Corral takes place at the film's halfway point and all other gunfights are diminished in magnitude afterwards. I realize that the purpose was to paint a fairly accurate picture of Earp's more famous years and that life doesn't always provide perfectly scripted moments of conflict or denouement, but the film simply loses its momentum during its fourth act when it should be going out with a bang (if you'll forgive the pun).
Watch the Trailer