Monday, February 1, 2016

Wild Wild West (1999)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writers: Jim Thomas, John Thomas, S.S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman

Composer: Elmer Bernstein

Starring: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek, M. Emmet Walsh, Ted Levine, Frederique Van Der Wal, Musetta Vander, Sofia, Bai Ling, Garcelle Beauvais, Mike H. McGaughy, Jerry Wills, Rodney A. Grant, Buck Taylor, Ian Abercrombie

More info: IMDb

Tagline: It's a whole new west. July '99.

Plot: Jim West is a guns-a-blazing former Civil War hero. Artemus Gordon is an inventive U.S. Marshal who excels in disguise. When the United States is threatened by psychotic Confederate Arliss Loveless, President Ulysses Grant teams the duo up to bring him to justice. On a hazard-packed train journey from Washington D.C. to Utah, West and Gordon must combine their skills to best Loveless and his diabolical machines.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Geez.  I can see why this is so hated.  It's not as bad as I thought it would be as it is entertaining but it's got so much dumb going on I can't believe it was made to begin with.  The story is ridiculous.  I've never seen the show but I do have the entire series that I picked up on the cheap and now I'm keen to start watching it as I'm sure it's not anywhere close to being as stupid as this picture is.  Having a big time star like Will Smith in your film is going to make it more of a Will Smith picture but here, he's half phoning it in.  It doesn't feel like he's giving it much effort and a lot of his line deliveries are lazy and unenthusiastic.  And if you're going to have a black man in the immediate post-Civil War South, which would get him just about nowhere in his investigation, just go along with the conceit that he's just another guy.  I would have rather race not enter into it than to let us believe he's getting away with it.  I loved Branagh in this but I didn't like his no-legs thing and his obsession with everything steampunk spiders.  WAYYYYY over the top but Branagh at least brought some energy and glee to this picture.  Kline is fun but, again, his character is written too over the top.  It's a silly movie with a lot of dumb, dumb, dumb choices with the worst offender being the story.  And for a family-ish Summer popcorn movie, it sure had a shitload of sexual innuendo and bare skin (I'm not complainin', just sayin').  I read that Robert Conrad, the star of the 60s show, loathed this film for its departure from the classic series, making it a mockery instead of an homage or anything close to being respectful to the show.  I'm definitely going to watch the series now, if for no other reason to see how much of an insult this film really is...and hopefully be thoroughly entertained at the same time.

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