Tombstone

Tombstone ★★★★

Over the years there have been numerous movies based on the life of Kansas lawman Wyatt Earp and the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral. Although encompassing that event here, this takes a broader look at one of the old West's most memorable names.
George P Cosmatos only made ten feature films before succumbing to cancer back in 2005. This, along with Rambo First Blood Part II are his most well known films and both have plenty of gunplay and a penchant for action. Starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Bill Paxton and Sam Elliott as his brothers Morgan and Virgil, the plot is a simple good versus evil affair as the lawmen take on a ruthless group of outlaws known as The Cowboys. Added to the mix is a wonderful turn from Val Kilmer as gunman and gambler Doc Holliday who sides with the Earps in their showdown with the Cowboys. There is a romantic subplot involving Wyatt and an actress that doesn't fully convince, but this is mainly a story about family loyalty, friendship, and the code of the old West. We get violence galore, more than a few cracking one-liners, mostly from Kilmer, and some real old school bad guys. Powers Boothe, Stephen Lang, and Michael Biehn bring the thunder as the main faces in the red-sash wearing Cowboy corner, and as events unfold we see Russell's Wyatt in full-on revenge mode after things get out of hand.
The script is sharp and offers a good mix of both the traditional Western and a more modern take with Kilmer's comedic sarcasm one of the highlights of the movie. One thing that does stand out though is the presence of Jason Priestley, (what the fuck were they thinking), who is truly awful. This is an exciting and thrilling Western and one that still seems fresh over twenty years later, and although very entertaining, it still makes me long for those traditional old black and white films that always had Slim Pickens in a support role.

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