When we think about classic westerns it is easy to forget that they weren’t all shot in the golden age of Hollywood or starring Clint Eastwood. Hollywood has managed over the years to occasionally produce westerns of significance Tombstone is one such effort.
Starring Kurt Russell as the tough as leather Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as the effete and deadly Doc Holliday Tombstone paints a picture of the west in its declining years that is sometimes pretty, sometimes romantic and very violent. You would expect violence in any movie about Tombstone the site of one of the most famous gunfights in history and it is here in spades. So too though is the message that violence begets violence and that not everyone touched by violence is necessarily killed or escapes unharmed. There isn’t a weak performance to be had in Tombstone. Kurt Russell is a flawless (in acting terms) Wyatt Earp who had as many flaws as he did virtues. Virgil Earp as played by character actor Sam Elliot is equally as uncompromising a character as Wyatt and in many ways the driving force behind the showdown at the O.K. Corral. Bill Paxton does a commendable job in the tough roll of Morgan Earp who was a gentler soul trying to live in the shadow of brothers who were legendary lawmen.
There is so much that is good about Tombstone that it is easy to overlook the bad. There are occasions when the dialogue is stilted and Wyatt Earp comes across like Steven Segal but these are minor issues. Val Kilmer is a true standout in this stellar cast creating one of the most stunning portrayals of Doc Holiday to ever visit the screen. The colors, the costume, the firearms great attention was paid to getting the details of the movie right. The ultimate success of Tombstone is that it is not about the showdown at the O.K Corral but it is about the law, organized crime and men who have been pushed too far. This is a must have video for any serious collector of western cinema.