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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Revenge > Drama > Dead In Tombstone (2013/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Shoot The Sun Down (1976/Kino Blu-ray)

Dead In Tombstone (2013/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Shoot The Sun Down (1976/Kino Blu-ray)

Picture: B- & C/B- Sound: B & B-/C+ Extras: C Films: C/C+

The Western is so played out that doing one well is very difficult and this started to happen in the 1960s. Here are two later examples with their own issues...

Roel Reine's Dead In Tombstone (2013) I almost being sold as a Western version of a Machete film, but it is a plainer Revenge Western in which Danny Trejo is betrayed by his fellow criminals and shot to death and that would be the ned of it until Lucifer (Mickey Rourke, doing what he can with his dialogue) gives him a chance for payback and sends him back to the moral world to kill all six traitors who are bound for hell.

The casting is good, but he script is not and besides being predictable, it plays like Ghost Rider without any of the fun or energy. Anthony Michael Hall and Dina Meyer also show up in the cast of many unknowns, but Western fans and fans of the stars will want to give it a look. Otherwise, don;t expect much if you are curious.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, while both disc versions add a feature length audio commentary track, Deleted Scenes, Deleted Scenes Montage and Making Of featurette, but the Blu-ray exclusively adds four more Making Of featurettes: Horses, Guns & Explosions, Roel Reine: The Leader Of The Gang, A Town Transformed and Creating Hell: The VFX.

A little more successful, David Leeds' Shoot The Sun Down (1976) has Christopher Walken as a cowboy outsider who gets involved in a complex conflict that include Native Americans (led by a younger man played by A Martinez), a crude treasure hunter (Geoffrey Lewis) and an uppity man (Bo Brundin) who has managed to make a beautiful young woman (Margot Kidder) some kind of indentured servant.

It is deliberately slow, leisurely, paced to be natural and the script does a decent job of juggling everything, but the resulting film is uneven. The Native Americans look Hollywood fake, Lewis is playing to type, the film is trying to make serious meaning often, but it never works in that respect, but is in the mode of Revisionist Westerns like Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Cimino's Heaven's Gate (which Walken co-stars in). It deserves to be in print, especially on Blu-ray and is at least ambitious, but I was disappointed, yet it will make a great curio for fans of the genre and the stars if nothing else.

Extras include Stills, an Original Theatrical Trailer and more commercial alternate opening of the film with a vocal song by Kinky Freeman and less interesting retitle for the film.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dead and 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Sun both have their different issues and even out as equally good, if not great. The former is an HD shoot with heavily darkened styling to emulate the Satanism in some shots and dirty old West in most, while the latter was shot in real 35mm anamorphic Panavision with naturalism in mind. The print shows the age of the materials used, but we get some fine shots just the same. The anamorphically enhanced Dead DVD is especially weak and soft, so skip it.

As for sonics, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Dead is very well designed, mixed and presented with occasionally exceptional surround moments, a rich soundfield and only some dialogue not up to par. A big surprise, even the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD version actually sounds good. The PCM 2.0 Mono on the Sun obviously cannot compete with that, but is decent, though it shows some wear, budget limits in the recording, harmonic distortion and slight flaws you would expect from such a film its age.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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