Posted on 7/05/13 03:59 PM
Tombstone is once again a retelling by Hollywood of the legendary Wyatt Earp, this time with great production values and well known actors, including Kurt Russel and Val Kilmer. It's a colorful, exciting, and highly-stylized western that's a lot of fun, but it's also very flawed. It often slips into melodrama, and it really does feel like a Hollywood movie, which is a shame considering the events this movie highlights are really something to be told. At a run time of about two hours, it feels bloated, and there are lots of notable flaws. However, Tombstone is nonetheless worth a watch, especially with big names such as Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer.
Tombstone is about Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) who decides to retire from law enforcement and moves to the growing town known as Tombstone, Arizona, intending to make a living there with a normal life. Along the way, he reunites with his brothers, Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton), as well as his friend, Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer). They learn that a group of outlaws known as the "Cowboys" are terrorizing the citizens of Tombstone, and now, instead of Wyatt Earp residing in the town with his love interest and living normally, he is caught up in a conflict with the outlaws. The acting for the whole cast is pretty good, but the two actors that caught my eye right from when they were introduced was Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. They carried the movie for me, and without them, this movie probably would've been significantly worse. Kurt Russell is a really likable actor here, and has lots of great development as a character, but Val Kilmer is even better, stealing the show in every scene he's in. He's brilliant in his role and it's a shame that his performance here is not as recognized. He was legendary and he really should've won an Oscar for his performance, but he was overlooked completely. Although there's this really unintentionally funny and over the top scene where Kurt screams "Noooo!", but he and Val really carry this film on their shoulders.
The action is really well filmed and entertaining, as well as being pretty violent, but it's nothing too bad. I would have preferred that the O.K. Corral shoot-out was at the end instead of being replaced by something else, but both sequences were well made. You can tell that the production values of this film were big, with the cast having really over the top facial hair, and the set design looking nice and clean. But that's a problem in its own way, since westerns shouldn't really look "nice" and "clean", and even the dirt here looks pretty. It's highly-stylized and should look a lot more gritty to really capture what the old west was like, similar to what Leone did with his movies. In Leone's movies, everything looked really dusty and dirty, but here, everything is really bright, pretty, and colorful. Anyways, it's not too bothersome, it's just something I wanted to point out. The cinematography is still gorgeous, and the soundtrack is great, and the film as a whole really feels energetic and lively. When they say Tombstone is a growing town, it really does look vibrant and big. However, the film is a little bloated, and everything is interesting and fun except the bad romantic sub-plot. It's a little ridiculous and melodramatic, and I feel like it was under-developed. You're going to get a lot of characters that are under-developed and have little screen time, so they don't leave as much as of an impact on you. Tombstone also has the tendency to incorporate almost every western movie cliche available, and it often feels like you've seen parts of it many times before.
I feel like Tombstone will appeal more to the modern audience than to the old western audience, and the end result is a little underwhelming and ridiculous at times. It's clearly inaccurate in its portrayal of the events that happened, and lots of this movie was altered for entertainment purposes. However, there's no doubt that it's a very cool western, and the best thing out of this movie was Val Kilmer's legendary performance. His performance alone drove this film past its flaws, and is among the best performances I've seen in a western, or any film for that matter. If you can look past Tombstone's flaws, you're rewarded with a very entertaining and cool western, and it's nowhere near the best I've seen, but it's still well worth spending your time checking this out. By the way, "I'm your huckleberry".