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Tombstone, Arizona is a place you wouldn't want to be on October 28, 1881. Ex-lawman Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) has just moved there, eager to escape fame after his Dodge City exploits. Reunited with his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliot) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) and his long-time friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), they plan to build a profitable business in order to retire rich. But when a gang of outlaws known as The Cowboys and led by the Clanton and McClaury brothers arrive in town to cause mayhem, Wyatt and Holliday can't help but get back amongst the action. What occurs that day becomes legend - the bloody showdown at the OK Corral, and its painful consequences.

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
Based on one of the bloodiest gunfights in the history of America's wild west, Tombstone - not to be confused with the following year's Wyatt Earp (played by Kevin Costner) - is loaded with macho movie stars sporting handle-bar moustaches. Some said this film rang the death bells of the return of the western, and I see their point. For an action film based on a true story, it's deadpan boring and looks all wrong.

Kurt Russell is about as charismatic as a wagon wheel, and most of his co-stars follow suit. You actually start rooting for the cowboys to dust these aging vigilantes, who are identified by their black outfits, stiff collars, formal black hats and watch-chains (just check the DVD cover), while the bad guys are stereotypically stubbly, scruffy bandits - with red sashes. All we seem to be waiting for is the big finale showdown, and when it comes (you can tell from the warning trumpets), it seems terribly derivative of plenty other high noon showdowns (if only Gary, Jimmy, John or Grace were here instead...). It's a frenzied bloodbath shot in a completely artless way that rides on others' coattails - if only the cinematographer had as much flair as the costume designer.

Val Kilmer, discovering he may actually have a personality, is the best part of the film as the drawling, drunken Doc Holliday "You're either a good woman, or the anti-christ," he tells his girlfriend, and "one gun for each of you," he tells the cowboys, allowing for his double vision. Other throw-away lines come from love interest Dana Delaney's "I try to be good, but it's just so boring…" (like the film?). It's no wonder this film is a mess. Director George P Cosmatos (Rambo, Cobra) took over after writer Kevin Jarre was fired. He may as well cast Rambo as Earp.

The DVD features here are pretty standard behind-the-scenes commentary, with B-rolls proving it could have been just at home in the film. Check out the cast bios for their other better movies. This is strictly for die-hard western fans.

Published December 20, 2001

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CAST: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Michael Beihn, Jason Priestly, Michael Rooker, Billy Zane, Charlton Heston, Dana Delaney
DIRECTOR: George P Cosmatos
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: November 14, 2001

Widescreen 16.9, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby 2.0, English subtitles, Trailer, Scene Selection, Behind the Scenes featurette, B-Roll feature with interview clips, Cast and Crew biographies

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