Dutch born Roel Reiné has already proven himself to be a top-notch action director with movies like Death Race 2 and 12 Rounds: Reloaded. Roel started a new era in Dutch Cinema by making mainstream English language ‘Genre Movies’ with his company Rebel Film and has been very successful at doing them with modest budgets. His latest directorial release is no exception.
Dead In Tombstone, marks Reiné’s third film with actor Danny Trejo (Machete, Bad Ass) in this action-packed, supernatural Western that finds Trejo making a deal with the Devil for his soul and mortality after he is murdered by his own gang.
After the ruthless Blackwater Gang overruns the small gold mining town of Tombstone, Colorado (not Arizona) and murders its sheriff, the gang murders their own leader, Guerrero Hernandez (Trejo) in a cold-blooded power grab. As Hernandez lays dying on a saloon floor, he tells his half brother Red Cavanaugh (Anthony Michael Hall) and the rest of his seditious cohorts that he will see them all again—in hell.
Sentenced to eternal damnation, Guerrero finds himself confronted by Satan incarnate (Mickey Rourke), who informs him that he has been waiting for him. Not wishing to spend eternity being one of hell’s “pitiful suffers,” Guerrero offers the Devil a trade, his soul for the soul of his half brother and the others that betrayed him—all delivered within twenty-four hours. ”One day, twenty-four hours. What is that compared to eternity?” Guerrero asks Satan. Amused by the proposition the Devil accepts his offer on one condition: all six souls must die by Guerrero’s hand and his hand alone. With the deal struck Guerrero is sent back to Tombstone to exact his brutal revenge against his former gang.
Mickey Rourke appears to relish his role as the roguish Lord of the Underworld, who can’t help himself when it comes to keeping an eye on Guerrero, even popping up on occasion to be entertained as Guerrero exacts his bloody retribution. The scenes in hell are especially enjoyable where Rourke saunters around a restrained Trejo, sadistically taunting and torturing Trejo’s character, even ripping the flesh from his back to feed the fires of hell.
Anthony Michael Hall also seems be a natural fit to his role as Guerrero’s half-brother Red “Rojo” Cavanugh. Though this is not the first time Hall has played a bad guy (Warehouse 13), it is the first time he actually comes off as someone believably despicable and unlikable, and someone who you want to get his comeuppance in the end.
Danny Trejo’s portrayal of the betrayed gunslinger with a modicum of conscience—something that Satan tells him will be the undoing of the deal—may not be much of an acting stretch for Trejo, but he certainly knows how to deliver when it comes to portraying the resurrected killer. Trejo plays the bad ass with just enough tough and mean and empathy that the character is likeable and we desire to see him succeed in his quest to save his soul.
Though the screenplay written by Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn is pretty standard fair when it comes to the classic plot of a Western revenge film, they do manage to put a twist on the old formula. It also helps that the film was cast not only with three incredible main actors, but also a strong supporting cast that includes Dina Meyer, Richard Dillane, Emil Hostina, Colin Mace, Ovidiu Niculescu, Ronan Summers, Edward Akrout and Radu Andrea Micu, all of whom help to strengthen the film’s dialog that at times could have come off as unintelligent if spoken by actors of a lesser caliber.
Dead In Tombstone with its supernatural elements is a gritty vengeance Western that delivers enough shootouts, chase scenes and explosions to make it an action-packed and entertaining film.
The unrated, direct to video Dead In Tombstone gets a simultaneous Blu-ray and DVD release on October 22nd.
Dead in Tombstone
Directed by Roel Reiné
Written by Brendan Cowles, Shane Kuhn, Roel Reiné
Cast: Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall, Mickey Rourke, Dina Meyer, Richard Dillane, Emil Hostina, Colin Mace, Ovidiu Niculescu, Ronan Summers, Edward Akrout and Radu Andrea Micu
Run Time: 100 minutes
Release Date: October 22, 2013