Dead Again In Tombstone revolves around Guerrero (Danny Trejo, needs no introduction), a good old-fashioned western outlaw who has sold his soul to the devil and is in Satan’s service forever. After finally returning home to visit his estranged family Guerrero is confronted by Colonel Jackson Boomer (Jake Busey, son of Gary and star of From Dusk Till Dawn), a disgraced Confederate general and his crew who have escaped persecution from the Union after the conclusion of the Civil War. Colonel Boomer demands that Guerrero hand over a relic that his brother once spoke of, an item that will grant Boomer power, vitality, and will probably, also, bring on the end of the world.
It probably goes without saying that Dead Again In Tombstone is exactly the kind of Danny Trejo film that we have come to expect; an independent, lower-budgeted film, that survives mostly thanks to that reliable Trejo. Dead Again In Tombstone is the kind of film that knows exactly what kind of film it is and does not try to reinvent the wheel as its only purpose is to entertain. Zombie animals, an unshootable book, ridiculous villains, and of course Danny Trejo greatness all feature, but none of that stands in the way of Dead Again In Tombstone’s goal to entertain.
There are also several aspects of the film that deserve mentioning such as the use of practical effects (as opposed to CGI) and the highly choreographed shootout scenes that happen throughout the film. Of course, since Dead Again in Tombstone is a western there has to be at least one shootout, but a major battle in the middle of the film took me completely off guard as I was not expecting a drawn-out camera shot of choreographed movements and actors with blood packs falling from decks and off railings after being shot. Not only did it make the scene smooth and pleasant, but I was actually able to relish it instead of pointing out ridiculous CGI blood or the unrealistic flashbang from the end of small caliber guns.
The effect that was placed into this particular scene as well as other fighting scenes that included similar aspects was commendable and added enjoyment to the film. Along the same vein as the SFX and choreographed scenes was the camera work which was, quite simply, breathtaking. There were consistently lovely shots of the wilderness landscape around the town where everything took place and even some exaggerated shots of characters to convey nonverbal clues were well-executed and enjoyable.
There is one shot of Colonel Boomer entering a saloon where he is not welcomed and the camera is at a slightly lower angle, to showcase Boomer’s silhouette as it overtakes the doorway, that feels oppressive to the viewer. The shot is then slowed down and paired with more camera angles and lighting tricks to capture the sense of dread that is emanating from the other patrons of the saloon at the sight of a disgraced Confederate colonel.
However, no amount of camerawork, choreo, and Danny Trejo can erase some of the lackluster performances given throughout the film. While Trejo is delivering lines like “I don’t need Satan’s power to shove this horn up your ass” the villain, Jake Busey, calls out to invoke the dead in a tone that is more appropriate for ordering a latte from Starbucks. Throughout Dead Again in Tombstone Busey is as inconsistent with his tone as he is with his southern accent and sometimes the only reason I knew he was angry or serious was from the menacing snarl he used.
Busey is not the only one that consistently under-delivers their lines, there is also blame to be placed at the feet of Guerrero’s estranged family who seem to have a knack for being either insanely passionate or, again, delivering lines like they are ordering pizza. But the worst offender of all is Madame Du Vere (Elizabeth Lavender, Like A Tree In Which There Are Three Black Birds) the madam of the local brothel who luckily does not play a major role in the proceedings until the final act of the movie.
The Madam is anything but what a madam should be; she isn’t sultry, seductive, powerful, or commands respect, but instead she masquerades as an adorable fresh-faced lady who pretends to be evil with ridiculous lines. After looking at Lavender’s resume, I will lay most of the blame at the poor casting choice and the terrible dialogue that she was fed. Although I understood that she was the madam, none of the dialogue, movements, or scenes gave her the proper air, thus not giving her stable ground to convey the character. In any case, the madam is borderline unbearable.
Yet, if you can forgive the cheesier components of Dead Again In Tombstone, some flaws in acting, and are okay with a plot that you have seen 1000 times before, then Dead Again In Tombstone is for you. It’s catering more for the casual horror watcher who likes the elements rather than the whole package or is a good family (teenagers not children) friendly movie that can be enjoyed for its cheesiness and action-packed plot.
Dead Again in Tombstone is currently available on DVD. Blu-ray, and Digital VOD
WICKED RATING 5/10
Director(s): Roel Reine
Writer(s): Roel Reine, Ethan Wiley
Stars: Danny Trejo, Jake Busey, Elysia Rotaru
Studio/ Production Co: Universal 1440 Entertainment
Release date: September 12, 2017
Length: 100 min