Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Quick-Draw Western to Moscow

The opening in Moscow of the new film "Tombstone" less than a month after its U.S. debut marks the speediest arrival here of an American movie since a Hollywood boycott of Russia quietly ended in March.


"They haven't fundamentally changed their attitude towards the Russian market," said Ray Markovich of Golden Ring Entertainment, which got "Tombstone" for the Americom House of Cinema. "But we have managed to position ourselves as an untraditional part of the Russian market."


"Tombstone," a western starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, is showing in Russia only at the House of Cinema through Feb. 4. To thwart would-be pirates at the theater, the print of the film is well guarded and video cameras are kept out.


This was necessary, Markovich said, to win the assent of Cinergi Productions, the Disney-affiliated company which produced "Tombstone."


The premiere of "Tombstone" on Wednesday night marks the first time the 550-seat venue has obtained a film still showing in the United States.


"Tombstone" had U.S. gross receipts of $41.5 million in the first three weeks, peaking as the third highest-earning movie.


Its speedy release aside, the two-hour film does not break much new ground as a western. The opening sequence introduces a predictably evil band of marauding cowboys, who eventually meet their end at the OK Corral and elsewhere, gunned down by Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell), Virgil Earp (Sam Elliott), Morgan Earp (Bill Paxton) and John "Doc" Holliday (Val Kilmer).


Within minutes of their appearance, the cowboys-with-an-attitude have stormed a peaceful Mexican border town celebrating a wedding. Declaring "Y'all killed two cowboys," they begin a vengeful slaughter of the village's menfolk and sit down to enjoy the uneaten wedding feast. No subtle shadings of good and evil here. These bad guys are rotten to the core -- ill-mannered, unwashed, mean drunks with poor grammar.


The Earp brothers are just as clearly drawn -- as reluctant heroes starting new, quiet lives with their wives in Tombstone, Arizona, a bustling frontier town in 1881. But eventually they are compelled to take sides as U.S. Marshals. It is a predictable, but credible, evolution made the more believable by Sam Elliott's portrayal of the eldest brother, Virgil, as a stoic, graying man of conscience driven to action by the cowboys' murderous ways.


Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp is less convincing. While adept as a jaunty gunman, he founders in scenes needing more subtlety. The script has Russell romantically torn between his opium-addict wife (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson) and a frisky actress (Dana Delany), but there is no sense of real turmoil.


Val Kilmer, however, shines in the role of Doc Holliday, a dandy Southerner and legendary gunfighter stricken with a tuberculosis aggravated by his love for liquor, tobacco and all-night gambling.


Ultimately, however, "Tombstone" is a shoot 'em up western that sometimes stumbles into something else. Director George Cosmatos' biggest previous credit was "Rambo: First Blood Part 2," which may explain why the film is least bumpy with scenes of carefully choreographed gunfights.





"Tombstone" is showing through Feb. 4 at the Americom House of Cinema located in the Radisson Slavjanskaya Hotel. Shows at 7:30 P.M., Monday through Thursday, and at 5, 7:30, and 9:30 P.M. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $6 for the 5 P.M. matinees and $5 for students and senior citizens. Metro: Kievskaya.