Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Charlton Heston, Jason Priestley, Jon Tenney, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, Dana Delany, Paula Malcomson, Lisa Collins, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Joanna Pacula, Michael Rooker, Harry Carey Jr., Billy Bob Thornton, Tomas Arana, Pat Brady, Paul Ben-Victor, John Philbin, Robert John Burke, Billy Zane, Wyatt Earp, John Corbett, W. R. Bo Gray, Forrie J. Smith, Peter Sherayko, Buck Taylor, Terry O'Quinn, Charles Schneider, Gary Clarke, Robert Mitchum (narrator)
Written by: Kevin Jarre
Directed by: George Pan Cosmatos
MPAA Rating: R for strong Western violence
Running Time: 130
Date: 12/25/1993

Tombstone (1993)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Wyatt Screen Presentation

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by George Pan Cosmatos (Rambo: First Blood Part II), Tombstone had an inauspicious start when it was released to theaters without press screenings. Before long, however, fans were cheering over the terrific performances by Kurt Russell and especially Val Kilmer as the cool, verbose Doc Holliday, and though this wasn't enough to make the movie a hit, it has gained a solid fan following over the years. Many viewers generally prefer it to the much higher-profile Wyatt Earp (1994), released six months later.

Former lawman Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) decides to retire in the growing town of Tombstone with his two brothers. There, they meet Wyatt's old friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), a gunslinger with tuberculosis. The Earps plan to take it easy and make some money on a drinking/gambling establishment. Unfortunately, a band of violent criminals called the Cowboys starts to make trouble, and before long it becomes apparent that the Earps must take up their guns once again to help keep the peace. Meanwhile, a saucy showgirl (Dana Delany) has caught the married Wyatt's eye, causing even more trouble for him. Will Wyatt survive all this, plus a showdown with the malevolent sharpshooter Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn)?

Tombstone has a few over-the-top moments, and there is perhaps too much story crammed into too little space, but it also has an energetic flow, and a genuinely rugged, exciting feel, unlike many of the more bloated, picturesque examples of the Western genre. Ultimately, it's Russell and Kilmer -- and their chemistry together -- that make this movie work. Billy Bob Thornton and Thomas Haden Church appear in early roles, and Charlton Heston makes a crucial, late appearance. Robert Mitchum narrates.

Disney released a great-looking Blu-Ray edition in 2010. Extras include a "making-of" featurette, storyboards, and trailers. There are also optional language tracks and subtitles.

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