on March 10, 2012
As a native of Dodge City, KS where the events portrayed in the film took place I am pretty well versed on Dodge City history and especially in the true story of the accidental murder of Dora Hand. Let me just say there is artistic liscence, and then there is blatant disregard for the facts for no apparent reason. Many aspects of the film held very close to the facts and then there were some that were so far out of left field that I didnt understand why they bothered. Most importantly was the ending. Wyatt Earp was not responsible for the death of James Kenedy. Bat Masterson is actually the one who put the bullet in his arm and it took two weeks to heal well enough for him to stand trial. Miflin Kenedy bought his aquittal and Spike returned to Texas, married, but died partially as a result of his ill healed wounds in 1885. Bill Tilgman, who is a legend in Kansas and Oklahoma was most certainly not raised by the Cheyenne, and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday already knew each other in 1878. In fact, at the time of Dora's death, Doc was practicing his dental trade in Dodge City with his office in Rm #24 of the Dodge House Hotel. On the whole I thought the movie was a fun romp, though pretty badly acted and scripted throughout. With lines like "If we lose him, we'll never find him" I simply cant give it any higher than two stars. And the second star is only because the story is very near and dear to my heart and I hope that many people watch it and it inspires them to check out the real story. Hopefully a better movie can be made of these events one day.
The story of Wyatt Earp has been a popular fascination for people throughout the years. Certainly, anyone who's heard of the `Gunfight at the O.K. Corral' knows there's a bit more to the story of the famous lawman - several great loves, a whole cadre of impressive partners, and famous meetings with some of history's notorious baddies. Indeed, the O.K. Corral story has been told several times - many of them as very successful pictures - but there's even been a television show exploring the man's history, as well as scores of books involving his notable place in the dying days of the wild West.
But before there was Wyatt and Doc and Virgil and Morgan and their scandalous days in Tombstone, Arizona, there was a younger Wyatt Earp in Dodge City, and that's the stomping grounds for Sony Pictures' latest DVD release, WYATT EARP'S REVENGE.
Regarding the story, viewers turning in with expectations for yet another version of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral are bound to find themselves a bit confused, as REVENGE deals solely with Earp's time in Dodge City. In this timeframe, there's no mention of `things to come,' though there was a storytelling device that could've hinted more at future events. Specifically, this film recounts the events surrounding Wyatt's ride to bring the fugitive to justice for the murder of singer Dora Hand (a love interest of his). Wyatt convinces some of the best guns in the West to join him in his quest for justice, and his posse includes Bat Masterson (played by Matt Dallas), Charlie Bassett (Scott Whyte), and Bill Tilghman (Levi Fiehler). As fate would have it, REVENGE also features the brief initial meeting of Wyatt and the celebrated Doc Holliday (Wilson Bethel). The film opens later in Wyatt's life, where the aging lawman meets with a young `reporter' for the purposes of clearing up a bit of confusion regarding the past. This structure serves the picture well, and it's probably the narrative's greatest strength.
As luck would have it, Val Kilmer may just be one of the few actors in the history of cinema to be given the unique distinction of playing both the legendary lawman - Wyatt Earp - as well as his gunslinging counterpart Doc Holliday, which Kilmer played to great effect in George P. Cosmatos's 1993 film, TOMBSTONE. To be honest, Kilmer's outing as Earp in REVENGE is more of a supporting role; his work as the elder lawman is interspersed in segments throughout the picture, and actor Shawn Roberts handles the reins of Wyatt in his younger years. Personally, I thought Kilmer handled himself quite well in both roles, but let's face it: Holliday is always gonna chew more scenery than Earp.
As I always do, I tend to try to read up a bit on films depicting moments from history, and I did the same with REVENGE. Without going into any details (as that would spoil some of what gets explored here), I'm led to believe that there are a few "facts" played fast and loose in the story as presented. Some of that may very well be due to the fact that there are slightly differing versions of accounts for what precisely happened. However, I think it's relatively safe to conclude - as I'm no expert on the subject matter, though I've read a few Earp books regarding Tombstone - that the picture doesn't take any huge leaps away from the major elements. I think that when storytellers venture into the historical past, they do have a measure of responsibility to remain as true as possible; I've no doubt that an honest effort was made. Where details have been `tweaked' was probably done more so from the standpoint of spinning a more interesting yarn than it was to be a deliberate misrepresentation of facts. (I hope that's sufficiently spoiler-free!)
However, if you're looking to get the most out of your viewing experience, then I'd strongly encourage you to go into REVENGE cold. Don't bone up on the history. Don't pull out any other films featuring Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday. Don't even put on your favorite Trace Adkins CD (he's featured in brief cameo as one of the notables from the account of these experiences). Go into this one cold, and methinks you'll be pleasantly entertained with this modern `oater.' (For those of you who don't know, `oater' is what Hollywood originally called `Westerns.') It may not be all that grand, but, as promised, it's pleasant enough.
Mostly, REVENGE is a harmless diversion. It doesn't boast the best production qualities seen in a contemporary Western as most of the principles are immaculately dressed and squeaky clean despite riding hours on end. Also, while the producers made pretty solid use of shooting locations, most of the sets were similarly `brand-new' looking, missing the usual wear and tear common to so much of the West as perhaps more accurately depicted in other films. Still, it's shot with a bright palette (again, maybe not the best directorial choice), and the colors are crisp in presentation. It has that "TV movie" look throughout, almost like it was all along intended to be a small release or direct-to-DVD property. Sound quality is acceptable throughout, though there were a few sequences that were obviously re-recorded subsequent to filming. The disc features a single special feature; titled "Riding Along with Wyatt Earp," the short piece is essentially a series of brief interviews with the actors about acting in a Western wherein riding horses was a requirement. Not Earth-shattering, but pleasant nonetheless.
RECOMMENDED for fans of Westerns, though purists will find plenty of faults with some aforementioned details.
In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Carl Samrock Public Relations, Inc. provided me with a DVD screener copy of the film by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
on March 9, 2012
Love a good western and I was interested in this one not only because of the story of Wyatt Earp,
But because it's a western and western movies are my hobby. Take a review and for what it is and enjoy.
This was well written, well acted and directed. The story line has a great twist.
Remember today's westerns are modern and yesterdays are not. They look different and sound different.
Watch this if you like the genre or not, It's something
I would watch again and recommend to anyone who likes a good story.
Getty Up it's 2012, I glad they're still making cowboy movies!
on August 18, 2012
"Wyatt Earp's Revenge" is a very weak addition to the Earp legend in film. It centers around an early incident in Earp's life while he was a peace officer in Dodge City. The biggest name in the cast is Val Kilmer, and he plays Earp in older age (he originally had a star-turn as Doc Holiday in "Tombstone," a much superior movie to this one). The story is slow moving and poorly written. The cinematography is very good. The horses seemed doped up like the horse used for kiddy rides. The performers in the film, save Kilmer and the fellow playing Doc Holiday, were chosen more for their looks than acting skills. Trace Adkins is particularly acting challenged, and should not quit his day job -- country music singing. The story centers on a group of top lawmen of the era: Wyatt Earp, Charlie Basset, Bill Tilghman, and Bat Masterson; but none of the actors portraying these figures has the gravitas to convince anyone they are master lawmen. In fact, they were constantly getting surprised, shot up, and captured at gunpoint by the bad guys, who seemed to be well on top of their game. If you want to see movies about Earp, get "Tombstone," "Wyatt Earp" with Kevin Costner, or even "My Darling Clementine" with Henry Fonda (a film that had no relation to actual historical events).
on August 5, 2012
Wow. This movie was a turkey. I've been collecting every film ever done on Wyatt Earp, and each one in its on way has a greatness to it. Until now. Truthfully, I only bought 'Revenge' to complete the collection. Why? I saw it coming... this video has turkey sign all over it:
1) It was made after 'Wyatt Earp' and 'Tombstone'. Those movies set the bar so high one would have to wonder why anyone would bother remaking the Earp story for quite a long time.
2) It has Val Kilmer playing Wyatt Earp. 'nuff said.
3) The title alone casts suspicion.
Once into the movie you notice all the things the other reviewers have commented on. Nice looking costumes... but they look like they just came off the rack. The titles stated the movie was based on a real event. Key word here is "based on", if even that much is true. There's way to much "I-got-the-drop-on-you... no... I-got-the-drop-on-you... no I-got-the-drop-on-you... ad infinitum". I also didn't like the way they handled the sexual assualt of the prairie wife. The whole scene with that family was stretched to the point that the story turned into a (bad) horror flick. But maybe I'm just a sissy.
What to watch instead of this gobbler? ANY other Wyatt Earp film. Even the 1983 made-for-TV Earp flick with Marie Osmond, 'I Married Wyatt Earp', is better than this. The later is a decent film.
As I write this review a new Earp film is in production starring Harrison Ford as Wyatt. Hmmm. Gotta go. I think I have a turkey in the oven to check on.