“Tombstone” Force

Val Kilmer‘s Doc Holliday in the movie, Tombstone (1993), is ailing (from TB) but cool, a clever scoundrel whose masculinity is there but couldn’t be toxic if it wanted to be.  Kilmer is pronouncedly interesting, whereas Kurt Russell (as Wyatt Earp) is not as good, albeit he has more to achieve than Kilmer.  This is scenarist Kevin Jarre‘s version of the Earp-Holliday story, shot with a sound pace and pictorial energy as it tells of gun-firing losers who try hard to be winners.  Permanent winners.

Jarre’s dialogue could be better, but his narrative is compelling.  One assumes that Earp’s wife Mattie (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) leaves the dude, as the narrator implies, before Earp begins his relationship with lovely Josephine (Dana Delany).  Otherwise the film’s ending would be immoral.

At any rate, Powers Boothe is his usual fine, gripping self as one of the “Cowboys,” a lawless gang.  Bill Paxton and Sam Elliott are satisfactory as Earp’s brothers.  One actor after another strengthens this conventional Western, well directed by George Cosmatos.

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