Can somebody please explain to me where the western genre went wrong? Even when I look at a really bad singing-cowboy movie from the early part of the 20th century, I still see them as being infinitely more dignified than their modern-day counterparts. Today’s major Hollywood projects — as decent as they occasionally are — are somewhat akin to old, worn-out gunfighters: bloated and sluggish, and whose efforts in life generally go by relatively unnoticed. And then there are those rampaging Made-for-TV and Direct-to-Video movies who roam the land like desperados evading the authorities near and far — movies like Wyatt Earp’s Revenge.
As soon as Wyatt Earp’s Revenge (originally known as The First Ride of Wyatt Earp — a title that evidently didn’t have enough “oomph” to it) starts rolling, you get the feeling that it’s a pretty cheapo affair. And it is. The tale finds a Kansas City reporter meeting up with a retired Earp (played by Val Kilmer, sporting a ridiculous large moustache) in early-1900s San Francisco, with Earp relaying a previously-unrecorded exploit from this past to the journalist — a yarn that, according to the movie itself, is based on a true story.
Through flashbacks, we learn of the “first ride” of Earp (Shawn Roberts) and his (all young) playmates, Bat Masterson (Matt Dallas), Charlie Bassett (Scott Whyte), and Bill Tilghman (Levi Fiehler) as they pursue Spike Kenedy (Daniel Booko, who usually does voice work) — a bad lad who had murdered Earp’s lady-friend, and who enjoys killing strangers at random as he flees justice. Without any endorsement from the law whatsoever, our good guys form a posse to catch the killer — something that doesn’t fare too terribly well with marshalls, sheriffs, and Spike’s powerful father (played by country music singer Trace Adkins).
Boring, predictable, and extremely poor in quality to boot (e.g. echoing ADR — even in the great outdoors!), Wyatt Earp’s Revenge is just another lousy modern western. There’s a scene wherein Earp and his pals meet a young Doc Holliday (Wilson Bethel) that is fairly fun, but, for the most part, this one really doesn’t warrant your time unless you’re determined to see every single cowboy flick ever made. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released this dud on DVD with a sole, four-minute behind-the-scenes promo piece in accompaniment (which is even less interesting than the main feature).