Wild Wild West
Review By: Gringo

I've only seen this movie once, when it first came out like a bad rash. That was back in 1999. Now it's the Summer of 2001 and because I've just spent the last hour listening to the movie's theme song on loop, I'm going to write something about it. Why in hell's name (I don't even think that's an expression. Wait a minute; who am I talking to? Hello, Papa Parenthesis!) I chose to put the song on repeat I can't explain. For that matter, I can't fathom what made me download the song...I mean LEGALLY PURCHASE THE CD AND MAKE AN MP3 FOR MY OWN PERSONAL USE ONLY. My memory of what happened in the however-many minutes the movie lasted is hazy at best, but with Will Smith screaming "Wicci Wicci Wild Wild West" as my guide, I'm sure everything is going to fall into place. One thing I am confident about is the fact that the movie was no good.

The song starts telling us about Jim West, desperado. He's no Gringo, that's for sure. For one thing, there's no crack or homosexual criminal masterminds to be found in this movie. I think. There's something about a damsel in distress, but if memory serves me correctly the only woman in the movie was Salma Hayek. Whilst she's no doubt fuelled the wet dreams of many lonely people abusing themselves across the world, I don't remember her being much of a damsel nor being in much distress. She was kidnapped by Kenneth Branagh, who I'll mention later, and she more or less stood around for a while. Then Jim West and his sidekick Artemus (who, the song helpfully points out, was with him "from the start of this") rescue her. Some explosions happen. I even recall a scene where Will Smith and Kevin Kline dressed in drag. Funnily enough, there's nothing in the song about that.

That's more or less the plot of Wild Wild West. President Grant shows up at some point, although played by Kevin Kline. The main idea behind this movie, and what was no doubt the vital element in the pitch to making it being successful, is that bad guys in the Old West actually had access to advanced machinery including walking mechanical spiders as big as a house. And what do they do with these clunking beasts? They walk across the desert with them. OKAY BOBBY, I AM HAVING FUN NOW! Anyway, Charlie gets his golden ticket and joins a crew of misfits, including a fat kid who gets sucked up a pipe. His mother shouts "Augustus! Save some room for later!". Oh. Wait. Wrong movie. Back to the fun! The plot's more or less inconsequential for this movie, seeing as it relies mostly on shots of the bad guy's machines to impress the audience.

Only thing is, I wasn't very impressed. It could have been because I kept falling asleep, but I refuse to accept that this movie coming across as a turgid whirligig of shite can be blamed - even in the slightest way - on my dozing off repeatedly. Anyway, by the time the song gets to the halfway point I lose my ability to understand the lyrics. The film was pretty bland stuff, and the song is just as bad. I mean, there's a point where Will Smith states that he's going to have to put the bad guy's "behind to the test". I don't know if he's a fully qualified Ass Tester, but he doesn't elaborate on how exactly he's going to carry out his tests. Perhaps he has a special Ass Testing Kit? Perhaps he's carried out some trials on Kevin Kline's ass? Who knows? Perhaps we never will...but we can sleep easy at nights knowing that James West, the best gun in the west, knows how to test him some ass.

I thought that bad jokes were a problem that only the movie suffered. But oh no! Even the damn title song has come down with a crippling case of unfunny syndrome. In a quite frankly face-punchingly annoying play on words, Will Smith tells us that any damsel who happens to be "in distress" will be "out of distress" when he turns up. Sounds unfunny, I know, but bear with me, it's worse. The emphasis is on distress. Get it? Dis tress? This dress? Ha! Oh Mr. Lawman you're such a funny character. Well actually no, you're not. I can't remember a single specific joke from the movie but I am confident that they were at more or less on the same level. For some reason I'm having flashbacks to a scene where Will Smith was stuck via a metal belt to Kevin Kline's crotch, and I seem to remember the writers making that moment as unfunny as the rest.

If you're watching Wild Wild West and a slow realisation creeps into your mind that, hey, maybe you're having fun watching it, then follow my advice. Get out of the cinema, walk through the 'Staff Only' door, climb the steps into the large projectionist area, walk up to one of the engineers there, take him by the arm and very calmly tell him: "PLEASE TURN DOWN THE FUNOMETER, I AM GOING OFF THE SCALE!!". It will work every time, I assure you. Damn; not only was the movie annoying, poorly paced and the low point of the careers for everyone involved, but the title song was also perhaps the single most irritating track from of a movie since the instrumental march from Police Academy. Longest sentence ever! There was just no point in this movie being made. I never saw the original television show that this cinematic crud was apparently loosely based on, but it's probably a safe bet to say it was far more watchable than what Will Smith and Kevin Kline put out.

Now, Kenneth Branagh. He's supposedly a talented actor. Well, kind of. He does a lot of Shakespeare, so I suppose some people would think that automatically qualifies him as a thesp extraordinaire. However, the warning signs were in place when he made a sub-par Frankenstein movie. Warning signs that went unheeded, because in this movie he has the following; bad facial hair, a bad hat, a bad Southern accent, bad jokes and bad acting. Oh, but he has a good suit (swish!). Branagh, Smith, Kline, Hayek...whatever credit, kudos, dignity or any other similar word these actors (and an actress) had before the cameras started rolling was evaporated by premiere night.

Before this, Kevin Kline made the really-quite-good Dave. Will Smith had made a couple of entertaining movies. Salma Hayek...well, at least she had a reason - and more than two lines - for being in her other movies. Here's hoping they all turn down the offer to make a sequel. Then again, considering the original took all of $10, I doubt the studio will want to rush in to green-lighting a number two (which is exactly what it would be). It's not just me that hates this movie. The top user comment at the Internet Movie Database for Wild Wild West is "It just isn't good". How very true. Well, I feel I've ranted about this movie enough. That's it. But before you go, don't forget to follow Will's most important advice; BREAK OUT, BEFORE YOU GET BUM-RUSHED. Also: I like my Caps Lock. Sssh.

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