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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.43%
Worth A Look: 8.87%
Average: 7.88%
Pretty Bad: 14.78%
Total Crap64.04%

12 reviews, 131 user ratings

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Wild Wild West
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by Rob Gonsalves

"One chuckle. One."
1 stars

When reviewing a bad movie -- even a movie as wall-to-wall awful as 'Wild Wild West' -- one tries to come up with something good to talk about. Something. Anything. No movie is completely bereft of good points, right?

I can report that I chuckled once -- once -- during the 107 minutes of Wild Wild West, but the rest of the film is so terrible that I no longer remember exactly what it was that tickled me. So this is not so much a review as an inquiry into memory, as I attempt to recover the one tiny redeeming virtue, the needle in a shitstack.

Was it Will Smith who made me laugh? No, and that surprised me, because I've found him funny since Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and he made Independence Day and Men in Black -- his previous two July 4 blockbusters -- bearable. Here, playing smooth government agent James West, he seems to have entered the arrogant territory of Eddie Murphy circa 1987. Smith shows little or no comic timing here; he basically shoots or bluffs his way through every scene, an 1869 cowboy version of Axel Foley. One scene that could have been funny, when West tries to get out of being hanged by a white lynch mob, instead sits there on the screen and dies of lameness. West comes up with some weak rationale for playfully slapping a woman's breasts, then attempts to deconstruct the word "redneck," and you sit there wondering how any of the dozens of people involved in the film failed to point out the simple fact that this scene isn't funny.

Okay, what about Kevin Kline? He's usually reliable. Not here, he isn't. As the eccentric inventor and master of disguise Artemus Gordon, Kline appears in unconvincing drag and has a slew of gizmos stuffed up his sleeve like a 19th-century Inspector Gadget. Since we never actually see Gordon inventing or building anything, we're that much more aware that his character doesn't exist without the help of the film's large team of FX techies. He reminded me of the title character in Dr. Giggles, who also had a variety of outlandish gizmos with no explanation of where they came from; and when a $100-million-plus movie reminds you of Dr. Giggles, it is in serious trouble. Gordon is also allegedly smart and witty, and in a good example of the film's level of humor, he comes up with a name for his new flying machine: "Air Gordon." That's the sort of almost-a-joke that is the movie's main currency.

"Oh, come now," you may say, "surely Kenneth Branagh provides some amusing moments and goosed a laugh or two out of you." Nope. Sorry. Branagh turns up as evil genius Dr. Arliss Loveless (also legless), and he is to this movie what Sean Connery was to The Avengers. "I'll do this crappy summer movie as a lark," I imagine Branagh saying to himself, "cash the check, make a bigger name for myself in American multiplexes, and maybe even get my own action figure. Should be a good laugh." Again: nope, sorry. Actually (ironically), it's a testament to Branagh's integrity that he is so bad here, because it turns out he can't fake it; his disgust towards the material sometimes shows (and, consummate pro that he is, he tries to use it as Loveless' disgust towards the heroes). Near the end, when his torso is attached to four mechanical spider legs, I felt I was witnessing the logical conclusion of summer wrecks like this one: take a vibrant actor and turn him into a CGI effect.

All right, so how about Barry Sonnenfeld? Isn't he a good comedy director? Well, the evidence grows less clear with each movie. I was a wholehearted fan of his two Addams Family films, but in retrospect those movies may have owed more to the casting and the writing touch of professional madcap Paul Rudnick. Get Shorty, for me, was an enjoyable but thin movie that essentially took the Elmore Leonard book and filmed it; the later Out of Sight was ten times the film Get Shorty was. And I was never a fan of the juvenile, overstuffed Men in Black. In Wild Wild West, Sonnenfeld goes further into blockbuster incoherence -- the most memorable character is the 80-foot bionic tarantula -- and he doesn't shape the scenes or assemble them in any kind of rhythm. He just puts up a scene that doesn't work, then kills it quickly and rushes ahead to the next scene that doesn't work. Every scene is also edited with a Cuisinart; the result feels like Silverado directed by Joel Schumacher and rewritten by morons.

Salma Hayek? She's in it for a total of, like, 12 minutes. Sorry, guys.

At this point I am reduced to thinking about the supporting players in my attempt to uncover what it was that made me chuckle. M. Emmet Walsh as the conductor of Artemis' gizmo-laden train, the Wanderer? Nope. Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs), unrecognizable as a scruffy villain named Bloodbath McGrath? No -- but aha! He does appear in the scene that made me chuckle. I remember now. See, McGrath's ear was blown off, and he has a horn-shaped earpiece sticking out of his head where his ear once was. He gets killed and falls, and a little white dog runs over. The pooch poses next to the earhorn, looking like the dog in the Victrola ads. Ha ha ha!

Well, okay, so it's not that much of a knee-slapper, but with a dud like 'Wild Wild West' you take whatever you can get.

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originally posted: 12/31/06 06:29:22
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User Comments

12/20/09 Jeff Wilder Decent attempts by Smith and Kline can't make up for ineptitude in the writing. 1 stars
10/28/09 the dork knight Looks a bit-washed out and gross. Visuals aside, it's hella funny 4 stars
8/24/08 Samantha Pruitt pretty corny, but still a good time. The song is cool though, and the giant spider was cool 3 stars
12/19/07 Pamela White nothing like the origional 2 stars
5/29/07 action movie fan it was fun to watch a james bond of the time it was set in 4 stars
5/08/07 R.W.Welch Waste of good F/X money. Watch reruns of the old TV show instead. 2 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Takes the piss out of true American history. I know that, and im from Yorkshire. 1 stars
1/01/07 del Ahh, the beginning of Will Smith's decline... 1 stars
12/26/06 johnnyfog Good documenterary on Salma's ass. Kevin Kline made me laugh though... 3 stars
10/09/06 Ned was a wee on when i watched it, but it kept me entertained with all of the loud noises 3 stars
10/05/06 Indrid Cold Why were people so down on this? I thought it was quite entertaining and original. 4 stars
7/12/06 Roy Sci-Fi was cool, action was cool,but all to far-fetched for a movie set in 1870 3 stars
6/10/06 Billy Warner Brothers sure knows what CGI is all about, but I was bored 3 stars
5/21/06 Kcaj Has it's good moments but the storyline is plastic. But it ain't that bad 3 stars
2/07/06 Anthony James Bond meets Cowboys 2 stars
9/13/05 Total Crap Extremely Forgettable Movie. Dumb jokes. Hell, Shark Tale is better than this. 1 stars
8/17/05 ES Ack! this movie got a better rating than 'Soldier'= giant spiders my ass! 1 stars
3/14/05 Jeff Anderson The kind of greedy & humorless JUNK that makes me hate W. Smith films forever & I MEAN THAT 1 stars
10/25/04 DM I'll be as clear as possible: THIS MOVIE SUCKS! 1 stars
6/04/04 Mitch "Citizen Kane" it ain't, but I've always found it entertaining enough. 3 stars
2/23/04 Kyle *smirk* 1 stars
1/15/04 Samuel a decent cast wasted 2 stars
1/06/04 tricky dick Who should my ex-wife blow for me to get my money back? 2 stars
12/20/03 LP1 Stupid but hilarious 5 stars
11/01/03 Littlepurch Actors gr8! Jokes hilarious and never stop! Story's not too bad either. 4 stars
10/15/03 DrSkyTower A steaming pile of Horse Shit 1 stars
3/31/03 rash xxx 5 stars
3/10/03 Matt Thiel I didn't pay to see this. These idiots don't deserve my money, and they don't deserve yours 1 stars
2/10/03 Joe What A Piece Of Crap 1 stars
2/10/03 Joe What A Piece Of Crap 1 stars
10/21/02 Chiend Bad enough to give Hollywood a bad name, if such a thing is possible. 1 stars
6/27/02 Jenny Trout The worst movie I have seen in, oh wait, forever. 1 stars
3/18/02 mn oh no he [Will Smith] won't. not another movie sighs 1 stars
3/06/02 Brittany James Love Salma Hayek, but her role in this is only half-assed in more ways than one. 2 stars
2/27/02 Good God!!!!!!!! Will Smith is cool & charming and all, but he did nothing for this slop. 2 stars
12/15/01 big boy You people dont know what good means your all a bunch of sbuttheads 5 stars
11/17/01 I want movies Hey you dumb people are insulting Will Smith 5 stars
9/17/01 Gary Horrible, horrible movie. Unfunny, over-flashy and just plain annoying. 1 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Will made a fuck up...Will made a fuck up...nah, nah, nah, nah,nah,nah 1 stars
4/19/01 Tam CHEESEY SHIT! But at least it gave me an excuse to stare at Will Smith. 1 stars
2/15/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Should've been called. "Vile Vile Mess"...avoid as you would a bad case of the clap. 1 stars
2/01/01 cheese Satan sat on a toliet, and this came out. 1 stars
1/20/01 Ground Zero this was a really shitty movie! I didn't enjoy it at all!!! 1 stars
1/18/01 I love movies somehow this movie worked for me 4 stars
11/29/00 Cristopher Revilla what the fuck was that?!!! man this movie stunk, and whoever likes it is a fuckhead!!!! 1 stars
11/03/00 dan ohhh... that woman in the tower is hoooooot! 5 stars
10/13/00 Jason terrible...go to the symphony! 1 stars
10/13/00 Josh I now believe that the end is near.... 1 stars
9/09/00 Jed I agree with David Rogers this movie is excellent! 5 stars
8/26/00 NoRefill Should have been calle "Wild, Wild, Sucks". I hated it. Not like the original at all. 1 stars
7/09/00 Andrew Freeman This made me not want to masturbate for weeks 1 stars
6/20/00 Ulatekk Terrible. I don't think blacks were allowed in the Secret Service until the 1960's... 1 stars
5/30/00 danilo hilarious and totally misunderstood movie that's definitely worth a look 4 stars
4/27/00 Pansy Awful. The only thing that stood in ths flick was Hayek's hooters. 1 stars
3/11/00 Richard Wright Whats the fuss about, this is as dumb as your average summer movie.Better than Godzilla too 2 stars
3/06/00 Kyle Broflovski It's like being bitten by Cujo while trapped in a hot car. Actually, it's worse. 1 stars
2/22/00 Mr. Kramitall Release the series on video now, and destroy until the last copy of this horrid travesty. 1 stars
11/25/99 Mark Awful 1 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster "Oh you is all that brutha" , get over yourself Smith you suck more than ya movies. 2 stars
10/26/99 H'Woodbigshot Yo! Wuz up, Homes. Not this piece of Bimzi. 1 stars
10/20/99 Lame-Oh All Seeing I, you genius! Oughta be called Vile Vile Mess! 1 stars
10/19/99 Bueller The film focuses more on humor than the TV series did. Gadgets are cooler though. 4 stars
10/17/99 Mr. Invincible For heaven's sake, Will, stick to your music carrer! Sheesh! 1 stars
10/14/99 Gunslinger This movie is a complete waste of time and money. Will Smith should stick to rapping! 1 stars
10/11/99 Ben Ryan What a piece of dogshit! Smith, move on, sing sing, don't act, don't act. 1 stars
10/10/99 Viral Messiah Sheer stupidity. 1 stars
10/04/99 the Grinch Couldve been better,loved KenB,it was entertaining,and that's all it was intended to be. 3 stars
10/04/99 Suckit boring as hell 1 stars
10/03/99 Joe Schmoe Dude, this is bad! 1 stars
9/29/99 Orgazmo A wild wild test of your intelligence 1 stars
9/25/99 mike minshell excellent film 5 stars
9/24/99 old muther hubbard this movie was wy too violent 4 little old me 3 stars
9/23/99 Slushie I agree with the pineapple dude. 1 stars
9/20/99 Weird Andy An embarrassment to the terrific TV show. 1 stars
9/20/99 Admiral Crunch Note to Jaddax (3 lines down): shut the hell up. Worse than The Haunting. A pitiful ripoff. 1 stars
9/17/99 Kory I'd rather shove a pineapple up my ass than watch this pile of shit again. 1 stars
9/15/99 Feral Not THAT bad but not good either. In all a waste of time. 2 stars
9/12/99 Jonathan Hefner What a load of bullshit 1 stars
9/11/99 Jaddax it was a very good movie so screw all that don`t like it 5 stars
9/11/99 Jomo One of the worst movies I have ever seen. 1 stars
9/04/99 William Worst movie since Batman & Robin. What a waste of talent. I almost walked out. 1 stars
9/04/99 Andel Crodo Someone involved in making the film obviously had an overactive infatuation with breasts. 2 stars
8/26/99 Ami the Wonderbread Even my favorite actor Ken Branagh sucked in this movie. 2 stars
8/26/99 Ah Dooey Right on with the review. Anybody who spam junk on this site shall be barred from Hollywood 1 stars
8/21/99 BoB ONE WORD: LAME!!! 1 stars
8/20/99 Japtalian This movie followed the premise of the T.V version. Western-SciFi. I enjoyed it. 4 stars
8/19/99 Admiral Crunch Gee, and the trailers were better, huh? Yeah, right. 1 stars
8/16/99 Stephen Cook i didn't see the movie, and i didn't need to, the previews were enough 1 stars
8/15/99 Ryan_A If you like this, Steve, you're not as tough as you think. Only The Haunting is worse. 1 stars
8/12/99 Steve Kelley I'm a tough critic, and I like it. Escapist, fun, preposterous. See for yourself. 4 stars
8/10/99 Laz when Hollywood is bad,it is really bad!! Just dreadful... 1 stars
8/10/99 The Graduate Bad writing, bad acting. Watch the gadgets. 2 stars
8/04/99 Binghi Salma Hayek's body double has nice ass. 1 stars
8/03/99 Mboua I saw this movie for free and got ripped off. 1 stars
8/02/99 XenoWolf The dummest movie ive seen in years 1 stars
8/02/99 John M What a BAD movie!!! 1 stars
8/01/99 Obi Wan Was almost as bad as BELOVED if not for Salma Hayek's Ass! She's off da hook! 1 stars
8/01/99 SaSa Cinematic excrement. 1 stars
7/31/99 Roman Nice look but everything else was a smoldering pile of SHIT 1 stars
7/31/99 Innocent movie goer "It wasn't that bad, pretty good actually. It was definately worth a look." 4 stars
7/29/99 Tigger I thought this movie was not Will Smith's best of the summer but was worth seeing 4 stars
7/29/99 Sabina They must have left the best parts on the cutting room floor 1 stars
7/28/99 dave top ten worst 1 stars
7/27/99 David Kindred Don't see it. 1 stars
7/25/99 blue i could pull a better movie out of my ass 1 stars
7/24/99 MilhousFan Wow, this movie had the worst screenplay ever 1 stars
7/20/99 Imagoner Blecch. Worst movie of '99, so far. 1 stars
7/18/99 George Estremera A blast! Saw it twice! 4 stars
7/17/99 buddy ugh. one of the worst movies ever made. 1 stars
7/17/99 Ron Cruz Wow Great Film!!! What's wrong with you? 5 stars
7/16/99 Jo Jo, The Idiot Circus Boy High: Will Smith. Low: Everything ELSE. 1 stars
7/15/99 Keith Salma's ass is worth a look. The film isn't. 1 stars
7/15/99 Ryan_A Best part of the flick? M. Emmet Walsh. Man's a genius. 1 stars
7/15/99 Tony Daquano Pure Crap 2 stars
7/11/99 Cherry A total waste of time. There are no words to describe how I hate this AWFUL movie. YUCK! 1 stars
7/10/99 Alexander Too F-uped for me! 2 stars
7/09/99 Bobber Another W.Smith Formula movie like MIB and ID4. Could've done with seeing his bag and butt 1 stars
7/08/99 Scott It gave me convulsions 1 stars
7/08/99 midson Painfully boring.. stay away from this movie. 1 stars
7/07/99 Freyja Sucks all molecules of amusement right out of your system. Awful 1 stars
7/07/99 Mr Showbiz Isn't half as fun as it needs to be. 3 stars
7/06/99 James Coffey When I first saw the trialers I thought this movie would suck, I was absolutly correct. 1 stars
7/06/99 Skiv Save your money, this movie is so bad it's depressing... 1 stars
7/04/99 Howard Roark Big Disappointment, nothing like the series. two words...SAD Times! 2 stars
7/04/99 Morpheous Horrible! A waist of money... 1 stars
7/02/99 Elizaveta Kenneth Branagh! What have you done!?! 2 stars
7/02/99 Ah Dooey Complete drivel. 1 stars
7/01/99 Nick Spanos Beyond painful. Zero stars. 1 stars
7/01/99 Christina boring boring boring boring boring. and i did not need to see either of smith or kline drag 1 stars
7/01/99 Alandizo it's an awful movie, not logical and absolutely full of nonsense 1 stars
7/01/99 PhilmPhreak Its not as bad as I thought it would be. Not quite. Close, but not quite. 2 stars
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  30-Jun-1999 (PG-13)



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