Friday, February 5, 2021

WILD WILD WEST (1999)

Wild, wild West. Motherfuckin’ wild, wild West.
 
Way back ye olde steampunk alternate reality 1869, there lived a US Marshal by the name of Jim West (Will Smith). One fine bright and sunny day, (after punching a handicap guy, pointing a gun at a crossdresser, burning down a whorehouse, flashing a group of men and shooting a hole into the ceiling of the Oval Office) Smith is teamed up with fellow US Marshal Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline) and assigned, by President Grant, to investigate the disappearances of America's leading scientists. For some unexplained reason, the two men are instantly very competitive towards each other and after a horse / penny-farthing race, Kline hits Smith in the head with a cartoonishly large hammer. They soon put their differences aside long enough to play with a decapitated human head and then touch each other’s breasts. After fondling each other, they sneak into a party put on by the evil, Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh), and search for clues. Finally, around the 50-minute mark they wind up in the wild, wild West.

I like WILD WILD WEST. I’ve seen it many times over the years and it’s always good for a chuckle. It’s by no means a good movie, but it is entertaining in a silly kind of way. And sometimes that’s all you need. Overacting, absolutely illogical and unbelievable inventions, cartoon physics all over the place, plot holes galore, clunky script, villains who graduated with honors from The James Bond Movie Villain School of Murder, impressive supporting cast full of familiar faces, flamethrower titties, cringey dialogue that is nothing more than thinly veiled insults about race and the handicap (Example: Branagh mentions that Smith adds “color” to the party, Smith replies to the legless Branagh about needing to “stand up and be counted”, Branagh then replies about not seeing Smith for a “coon’s age”, etc. It just kept going on and was painful to watch. All of that shit should have been cut.), a steam powered wheelchair, titty punch, goofy direction, disappointing end boss fight, Jason Voorhees sighting, strange editing, one death that literally made zero sense to me ('Metal Head'), vapor trails in the sky, RCA dog reference, abrupt ending that left me wanting more…even at 106-minutes, WWW could have 10 minutes longer and benefited greatly. The pacing of the entire film just felt rushed. 

Despite its many shortcomings, WILD WILD WEST is still a fun film that somehow finds its way into my handsome eyeballs once or twice a year and I always watch the entire thing. I’d gladly accept a Part 2 if they ever made it.  Or a reboot.  Hell, if there was enough extra footage laying around, I'd be interested in seeing a complete re-edit.

P.S. Nice horse!