Friday, May 26, 2006

Tombstone (1993)

Aww look they're all dressed up with no one to kill.

Genre: Western Action Drama

Starring: Kurt Russell (3000 Miles To Graceland; Big Trouble In Little China), Val Kilmer (The Saint; Heat)

Directed By: George P. Cosmatos (Leviathan; Rambo: First Blood Part II)

Overview: Based (ever so loosely) on the story of Wyatt Earp's move to Tombstone, Arizona, we find retired lawman Earp and his brothers facing the red-sashed Cowboys gang. That famous shootout at the OK Corral? That's here too.

Acting: From time to time it's clear another take should have been ordered up, usually a hammy bit of forgivable overemphasis on Kurt Russel's part, but I blame the director, I mean he directed Stallone's Cobra. I'm surprised this didn't have more muscle-bound shirt-tearing screaming scenes, frankly. When you look at it that way, this film is genius. One more thing: Val Kilmer's role as 'Doc' Holiday is awe-inspiring, no kidding.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: Pretty indeed. The shootouts and showdowns are suspenseful, ladies marching around in their parasols and all those gambling hall scenes and outdoor dusty city streets. However, slow motion walking down the street, though sometimes interesting has been played out to death. I know Reservoir Dogs did it, but the music kicked ass and it was during the opening credits, it's fine that way. In this, it was too melodramatic, and to do it in the film and at the end credits? Puh-lease! And they weren't even walking into the sunset, damnit.
Rating: 8

Script: "You die first, get it? Your friends might get me in a rush but not before I make your head a canoe, you understand me?"

Every time I thought this was a standard Hollywood script with the words as filler between gunfights, a line like the one above would be spoken. 'Doc' Holiday was full of poetic zeal and the motives and desires of all the major players was perfectly explained. Not perfect though: in one scene, a slow-motion Wyatt Earp yells "NOOOOO!" when one of his buddies gets it in the chest. Ouch, I know.
Rating: 8

Plot: It was quite interesting to realize that there was no group consensus when it came to an action, be it by the antagonistic 'Cowboys' gang members, or even by the heroic troupe of Wyatt's men. What this does for the story is give it a broad element of individuality, of self. You know that doing in the leader isn't going to change much, that vendettas are set between people, but by the same right, even a good man can go rogue when he has something to prove. This movie excels in the telling of the lives of men as men, and not as some force moving in unison. Terrific character development, even if the true story's facts are ignored.
Rating: 9

Mood: Granted, the happenings on-screen were often vainglorious, but chalk that up to the taint of corruption brought in by such films as 1988's Young Guns, not to mention the director's penchant for... What do you call that? Overzealous cock-slapping? Not to be too harsh, those moments were rare and overall i really had a good time with this.
Rating: 8

If I was a doctor with the consumption, I'd want to be Val Kilmer too.

Overall Rating: 82% (Wouldn't Kill Ya To Watch It)

Aftertaste: God, now I can't get Young Guns out of my head. Why is garbage like that so popular? They even made a sequel, too. Looking back at the late 80s I realize how lucky we are that we climbed out of that self-made hellpit. The "A-Team", Adventures In Babysitting, Cindy Lauper... Frightening. Sometimes a movie from the early 90s still shows signs of the throwback, but we try to forget, oh boy, do we ever try. Eesh, just had a flashback to all the movies where they disarm a bomb with the classic Eenie-Meenie-Miney-Mo method... At least we evolved.. not counting parachute pants...