Thursday, April 5, 2018

Movie Review: "Wild Wild West" (1999)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Year: 2018
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Captain Jim West and United States Marshall Artemus Gordon are teamed up to hunt down a criminal who abducted the top scientist in the country who wants to build a machine that he can use to overthrow the U.S. Government.
Remember when Dru Hill was relevant? Those were the days!

Ahhhh, a remake of an old and serious western television show turned into a goofy, over-stylized, big-budget feature film. This *always* goes well! "Wild Wild West" is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who at the time of this movie's release was coming off quite a few hits, including "The Addams Family," "Get Shorty," and "Men in Black." Sonnenfeld reunites with his "Men in Black" star Will Smith, who takes on the role of Jim West, a "shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more and then when everybody's dead try to ask a question or two" type of guy. Joining him is Kevin Kline as U.S. Marshall Artemus Gordon, who is a bit of an inventor and makes tons of wacky gadgets. They are partnered together by President Ulysses S. Grant (Kevin Kline) to hunt down General "Blood Bath" McGrath (Ted Levine), who has kidnapped many of the top scientists in the world. McGrath, however, may just be a pawn in the game of a much more villainous character.
Will Smith's is utterly shocked upon learning there won't be a "Wild Wild West 2: The Westening" (Image Source)
Despite being released in 1999, this was our first time watching "Wild Wild West" all the way through its runtime. For years we have heard about how bad it was, but we thought maybe it could be "bad-fun" or maybe even a guilty pleasure-worthy movie. We are willing to take a chance on "bad" films every once in a while in the hopes that we can find something appealing in them. Come on, the film stars Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek, and Kenneth Branagh, so how bad could it be?
Thank god Kenneth Branagh had a theater background to fall back on... (Image Source)
It turns out, "Wild Wild West" is torturous to watch, not only because the narrative is ridiculous and has hardly any rhyme or reason, but because it is unbelievably dull. Despite its $150 million dollar price tag that would lead to huge set pieces, steampunk-like weapons, and large action scenes, we were completely bored by everything going on in this movie. It is less than two hours long but feels like a neverending drudgery. The actors are trying their best to pull something out of nothing, but don't even come close to giving good performances. Will Smith plays Will Smith being Will Smith. Keven Kline and Kenneth Branaugh use what talent they have to salvage what they can out of their ridiculous, awful parts, but what they give just doesn't work. Salma Hayek is hardly used at all other than to be objectified by the male characters over and over for 106 minutes. The only thing we get to know about her character is that she's pretty to look at and everyone she encounters wants to have sex with her. We will say that "Wild Wild West" is visually very clean looking for its time and the effects are done well. That's the only compliment we can give it. It's sort of sad that so many people spent so much time, money and effort making a visual spectacle that hasn't a trace of a soul.
Even though this giant spider is stupid as hell, it still looks good for something made in 1999. (Image Source)
The biggest gripe of all is that this film is a comedy without an ounce of humor. The majority of the jokes are comprised of people making fun of Will Smith because he's black, jokes about Kevin Kline's Artemis making an ugly undercover woman, gags about Kenneth Branagh's Loveless being crippled in a wheelchair and his "shortness" because of it, and comments about Salma Hayek's huge boobs. WOW!!! SOooOoOoOoOoOo funny!!

Some movies are better left unseen. "Wild Wild West" is one of them.

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.8/10
RT Rating: 17%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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