Projections - Movie Reviews

Wild Wild West

Will Smith as James West and Kevin Kline as Artemus Gordon play federal agents assigned by President U.S. Grant (also played by Kline) to rid the country of a madman Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh).

Having lost the bottom half of his body in an explosion, Loveless rolls around in a motorized wheelchair killing everyone who comes into contact with his huge mechanical weapons.  Although set in the 19th Century, the machinery looks like something from Star Trek and takes over the second half of the film.

Gordon is a master of disguise, however he seems to end up dressed as an unattractive woman most of the time, giving West a chance to make crude jokes about his shape.

Smith is such a likeable actor and Kline so talented, it's hard to explain the lack of chemistry between the two.  Perhaps because the script relies so heavily on gadgetry and spends little time developing their characters.

Selma Hayek co-stars as a damsel in distress who is looking for her kidnaped father.  However, her main purpose seems to be to strut around in figure-revealing costumes.

Wild Wild West starts out with promise; West as a heroic cowboy teaming up with Gordon, a smart inventor, to go after an interesting villain.  But, the script is a mishmash of too many characters, including an extra killer, Bloodbath McGrath, overpowering special effects and racial comments that fall flat.  In the post-slavery South, West is bombarded with racial jokes, which lead up to a lynching scene - it doesn't work and isn't funny.

Re-teaming director Barry Sonnenfiled (Men In Black) and Smith was a good idea, but to end up with an entertaining winner, you have to start with a good script.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Avg.
Wild Wild West
C+
C-
C
B
C+

 
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