Tombstone (1993)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 8/2/99
Cast: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn, Powers Boothe, Jason Priestley, Billy Zane, Dana Delaney, Joanna Pacula, Michael Rooker, Thomas Haden Church

This big budget Western epic is a virtual who's who of action cinema - just look at all of those familiar faces! One of the two Wyatt Earp films that came out that summer, this is a tale of retired U.S. Marshall Wyatt Earp and his family moving to the mining town of Tombstone to make their fortunes. Unfortunately, lawless decadence forces the men to pick up their guns again as an escalating feud heats up with a gang of bandits known as "The Cowboys." After his family and friends fall, Earp becomes a possessed demon as he hunts down the last of the gang, with whatever brave men would ride with him. A well made and good looking film with fine performances by everyone, but it takes its own sweet time getting anywhere and has a long running time. It seems as though the film relies solely on the strength of the characters to drive the story forward, but sadly that doesn't provide enough steam. Or maybe I'm just jaded and expect different things. It was also very interesting to see drug abuse play such a prevalent role in the film, and this was the first (and only?) time I've seen an Asian opium parlor in a Western. Fascinating.