Dead in Tombstone is the usual Danny Trejo action vehicle with a supernatural/western twist but everything else is standard quo. The acting is average although Anthony Michael Hall and Mickey Rourke seem to have a hell of a time (pardon the pun) and there isn’t enough of the revenge plot to keep the energy going until the end. I guess if you’re a fan of Danny Trejo, this might be the movie for you, otherwise you can outright skip it.
Genre(s): Western, Supernatural, Action
Universal | R/Unrated – 100 min. – $34.98 | October 22, 2013
Directed by: Roel Reine
Writer(s): Shane Kuhn & Brendan Cowles (written by)
Cast: Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dina Meyer, Mickey Rourke
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 39.4 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
Convict-turned-actor Danny Trejo has got to be the hardest working man in Hollywood appearing in seemingly dozens of movies each year, mostly of the direct-to-video variety with the occasional appearance in a Robert Rodriguez film such as the two Machete films and the Spy Kids franchise.
Dead in Tombstone is the latest in his repartee playing Guerrero Hernandez, an outlaw who, along with his crew, has rescued his half-brother Red Cavanaugh (ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL) from the noose. The Blackwater Gang – including Baptiste (EMIL HOSTINA), Darko (OVIDIU NICULESCU), Ramos (RONAN SUMMERS), Snake (EDWARD AKROUT) and Washington (RADU MICU) – are wanted for a variety of crimes from robbery to multiple murders. Back together they plan a heist worth millions in gold that would set them free for good.
A small Coloradoan town houses currency and gold during a land dispute where the gold was discovered with a wealthy businessman lays claim due to a contract while the land owner vehemently believes it is his. While the dispute goes through the courts, the town sheriff orders it to keep in town. This is an opening the gang needs with a rough and tumble robbery and after succeeding, rather than run Red decides not only to stay but to take the town over, first shooting the sheriff in cold blood, much to the dismay of Guerrero. Still peeved over a past discretion between the two, Red shoots his brother and convinces what was Guerrero’s team to join him in splitting the riches.
Once buried, Guerrero is sent to Hell where he meets a man credited as “Blacksmith” a.k.a. The Devil (MICKEY ROURKE) where he goes through the whole fire, brimstone and pain of being in Hell. Wanting to spare any more agony, Guerrero strikes up a deal with the Devil that in exchange for bringing him back, he will exact his revenge on his former gang and their wretched souls will then be sent down to Hell. The Devil agrees but only giving him 24 hours to complete the task, otherwise the torture will be 1,000 fold.
It’s a year later and the newly named town of Tombstone, to remind the locals what awaits if they disobey, is out of control with prostitutes running amuck and innocent civilians living in fear. The Blackwater Gang are living it up taking gold from the mines. Guerrero comes back from the dead literally rising from the grave (good thing they didn’t dismember and/or burn his remains!) and gets to work killing one gang member who apparently was the most distraught over Guerrero’s death keeping hold of his clothes, hat and trusty steed.
Now Guerrero really goes to work and is offered help from an unlikely source: the murdered sheriff’s vengeful wife, Calathea (DINA MEYER) even though Guerrero must do the killings himself as part of the bargain. But there’s another obstacle he’s facing and that he’s still human and can be killed… again.
So, one by one, Guerrero hunts down those who wronged him and at the same time attempts to save his wretched soul in the process. Of course, Red isn’t going to go down without a fight and being the vicious villain he is, makes things difficult while the others in his crew get tougher to kill just like levels on a video game.
Dead in Tombstone is typical Danny Trejo fare with minimal acting and just Trejo looking fierce, although not sure if he has any other look, and kicking some ass. Outside of perhaps Heat, which had incredible writing and his role was minimal and yet again, not a whole lot of depth except for his death scene (spoiler alert!), he’s the same damn character.
For his part, and an interesting casting choice, Anthony Michael Hall makes for a decent one-dimensional villain and does a good job being more evil than the rest, of course killing the town sheriff in cold blood helps… Hall, best known for comedy, is one of the better elements alongside Mickey Rourke. Both of them seem to know kind of movie they were in and made the most. On the other hand, Rourke playing a beefy role like the Devil helps a lot.
The film was helmed by direct-to-video go-to guy, Roel Reiné who also directed The Marine 2, Death Race 2 & 3 and 12 Rounds 2 (also has Seal Team Eight starring Tom Sizemore coming up) and by comparison this might actually be his weaker outing outside of maybe The Marine 2 because despite being a supernatural western, and at the end downright ripping off “Ghost Rider”, Dead in Tombstone is, pardon the pun, kind of dull and lifeless.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5
This release comes with a textured slip cover. Inside is the retail DVD Copy and a download code for the Digital Copy (both iTunes and Ultraviolet).
Feature Commentary – Director/DP Roel Reiné sits down for a pretty good and informative commentary track offering bits of behind-the-scenes trivia such as the budget ($4.5 million), number of days shooting (23), his love of Westerns and working with the various actors.
Deleted Scenes (15:58; HD) – We get 9 scenes which were either excised or trimmed in all likelihood due to time constraints or efficiency.
Deleted Shots Montage (5:14; HD) is a smattering of random scenes compiled together set against a Western rock score.
The Making of Dead in Tombstone (9:43) – This promotional-like featurette offers behind-the-scenes footage and on-set interviews with the cast and crew as they discuss the plot of the film.
Horses, Guns & Explosions (5:23; HD) covers the stunt work and action scenes in the film. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Roel Reine: The Leader of the Gang (4:28; HD) – We get comments by the cast on how they work with him and his methods for directing. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
A Town Transformed (4:04; HD) examines the transformation of a western town set of Tombstone. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Creating Hell: The VFX (3:09; HD) – This is a composite of visual effects progressions. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
VIDEO – 4.75/5
Universal Studios Home Entertainment releases Dead in Tombstone on Blu-ray and presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The video, like most filmed digitally with the Red Epic camera, the detail levels are excellent and natural grain kept to a minimum though still there giving it a film like quality. Since it is a Western-style, the colors are subdued but when there is a splash of color, such as reds and oranges when in Hell, it does show really well. There are no signs of banding and everything else in the transfer looks clean.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is pretty strong showing some good depth during the frequent action sequences while the quieter, more dialogue driven moments, such as they are, are clear throughout. I won’t say it’s an astounding lossless track but between the music by the group “Hybrid” and the gunfire/explosions, it is still expansive.
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Dead in Tombstone is the usual Danny Trejo action vehicle with a supernatural/western twist but everything else is standard quo. The acting is average although Anthony Michael Hall and Mickey Rourke seem to have a hell of a time (pardon the pun) and there isn’t enough of the revenge plot to keep the energy going until the end. I guess if you’re a fan of Danny Trejo, this might be the movie for you, otherwise you can outright skip it. The Blu-ray does have solid video/audio transfers and the features are half decent.