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"Tombstone" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-may-2010-tombstone

Synopsis

Retired lawman Wyatt Earp (Russell) is looking for a quiet retirement with his two brothers and his wife.  They travel to the town of Tombstone, Arizona in hopes of getting away from it all.  They quickly discover the town is lawless and run by the Cowboy gang, the Old West’s version of organized crime.  Earp, his two brothers and friend Doc Holliday (Kilmer) soon run afoul of local gangsters Curly Bill (Boothe) and Johnny Ringo (Biehn).  The famous shootout at the OK Corral results in the deaths of several gang members.  The Cowboys quickly get their revenge when Wyatt’s younger brother Morgan (Bill Paxton) is killed and older brother Virgil (Sam Elliott) loses his arm.  Earp and Holliday quickly get themselves and their wives out of town.

All is not ended however when Earp takes up his badge and vows to wipe out the Cowboys once and for all.  After a series of fierce gun battles, Earp is victorious and Arizona is finally rid of the gang.  In a classic Hollywood ending, Earp even gets the girl and they live happily ever after.

 

Specifications

  • Cinergi Pictures Entertainment
  • 1997, Color, R, 2 hrs 10 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  not specified
  • English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Michael Biehn, and Powers Boothe
  • Directed by George P. Cosmatos
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence:  Yes, strong
  • Sex:  No
  • Language:  Yes

Commentary

I’m not a big fan of Westerns but found some recent films like 3:10 to Yuma to be quite enjoyable.  I had similar expectations for Tombstone but it played more like a B-grade Westerns from Hollywood’s Golden Age.  The scenery was dusty and dry and the acting over-the-top.  The script had many of the cliché lines we’ve come to know and love from classic Westerns.  Fans of the genre will undoubtedly enjoy this movie.  Historically, the events portrayed are based on truth.  I did find myself reading up on the real Wyatt Earp afterwards.  Action is fast and furious and there are no dull moments.  Our heroes have nary a moment of rest as they battle baddies at nearly every turn.  The violence is frequent and intense as people seem to have no regard for human life.  Even the good guys have no trouble dishing out vigilante justice with little provocation.  For those looking for a classic Western with modern production quality, Tombstone is your film.

Technical

Image quality is better than average for a catalog title.  I was surprised to learn this film is now 17 years old!  Color is nicely saturated yet natural and consistent.  The lighting is fairly flat which contributes to the classic Hollywood feel.  While it lacks dimension, it is appropriate to the material.  Facial details pop nicely with every bit of grit and grime readily apparent.  Contrast is excellent with deep blacks and good shadow detail.  The levels stay consistent throughout the film and there are many dark scenes.  Outdoor material is bright and vivid.  Overall image dynamics were very good.

Audio is decent though not exceptional.  The LFE channel is active during gun battles or when horses pass across the screen.  The surrounds are under-utilized however.  The action always happens in front of rather than around the viewer.  Dialog is clear but recessed in the soundstage.  The dynamics are somewhat flat but I think this is also in keeping with the material.

Extras

Bonus features include a making-of documentary in SD, director’s storyboards and a series of trailers and TV commercials also in SD.