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Blu-Ray Death Day: Tombstone & Armageddon

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Tombstone & ArmageddonOn Tuesday, April 27, people will die. After all, you can buy your very own copy of a tombstone while watching Armageddon near. Touchstone Home Entertainment is releasing two Blu-Ray worthy films to the format on this day: the Kurt Russell-starring western Tombstone and the Michael Bay epic Armageddon.

Tombstone, which also stars Val Kilmer as an absolutely killer Doc Holliday (it’s performances like this that make you scratch your head when trying to figure out how his career went to the toilet), is about the shootout at the O.K. Corral and the events leading up to the well-known and often exaggerated showdown. Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Dana Delany, Jason Priestley, Michael Biehn and Charlton Heston also star in the movie by George P. Cosmatos.

Tombstone is one of the last great westerns, as the genre was on its last legs long before the film’s release in 1993. Entertaining, exciting and well-acted, the movie is certainly worthy of being in one’s collection, though the Blu-Ray offers little new but Blu-Ray resolution – which, in my opinion, isn’t worth it. The sole disc does come with a fairly extensive making-of featurette, which edges on being overly promotional at the time but still provides some fun insights, and director’s storyboards and trailers. In other words, there’s not much, and the film itself doesn’t benefit tremendously from the Blu-Ray treatment.

Armageddon, on the other hand, is a film that naturally benefits from Blu-Ray high definition. The Bruce Willis-starring sci-fi action flick, about a Texas-sized asteroid that threatens to wipe out all life on the planet, is still a fun, glossy and exciting film. The oil rig shootout scene still baffles me, however. The movie boasts an impressive cast that includes Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Will Patton and Michael Clarke Duncan, among others.

The Armageddon Blu-Ray boasts even fewer bonus features than Tombstone, clearly a money grab before Touchstone releases a more feature-rich Blu-Ray at some later point. Other than a couple of trailers and an Aerosmith music video, the disc is empty. The movie itself looks good, though some of the special effects, especially in high definition, look a little dated. Regardless, Armageddon is made for Blu-Ray.

Considering that the benefits of Blu-Ray over DVD are mild at best, neither Tombstone nor Armageddon are worth purchasing at this time – especially if you already them in your collection. At least with Armageddon, expect a more feature-rich release sometime in the near future.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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