It has recently been brought to my attention that some people don’t think this is a good movie. Number one, they are objectively wrong and number two, how dare they?
Recently I rewatched this movie (at 3:45 in the morning, the best time to do anything) and I loved it, it was so great. If you HAVEN’T seen this movie since 1999, I can do a little refresher. Wild Wild West is a steampunk western starring a black cowboy set directly after the Civil War. Doesn’t that sound amazing?? Well guess what, it is.
Will Smith plays James West (said cowboy) who doesn’t give a FUCK about your racism. Anyone who disrespects him he threatens to kill, and at one point he talks a group of people out of his own lynching. Topical! He also does all of this while wearing black leather pants and a crop top vest, which if I’m not mistaken is also a key look in Willow’s Whip My Hair video, so, families coming together artistically, the circle of life.
James is following/trying to catch and kill this general, Bloodbath McGrath (Ted Levine from Monk and Silence of the Lambs!!) because he murdered his family (along with an entire town of black people) at New Liberty. The President (played by Kevin Kline) is also trying to hunt McGrath down, but only because of his part in a larger plot to overthrow the US government that isn’t revealed until later, but seems to involve the world’s top scientists, and spiders.
On this journey Jim (he goes by both) West picks up two traveling companions, inventor Artemus Gordon (also played by Kevin Kline) and Rita Escobar (Salma Hayek). Artemus has been assigned by the President to assist, and Rita snuck her way onto the train AND into our hearts!!! (More about Rita later/P.S. Longer Rita Later)
The bad guy turns out not to be General Bloodbath McGrath (he is still bad though, he just dies and wasn’t behind the whole thing), but Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branaugh/Gilderoy Lockhart). He is a “villan-inventor” (IMDB’s words not mine) who builds a giant metal spider in a hidden canyon city in the desert that he’s going to use to take over the government and give it back to different countries because he lost the Civil War and his legs.
Kenneth Branaugh does an excellent job, he’s a lascivious dude surrounded by an army of scantily clad women with punny names (Munitia, Ms. Lippenrieder) who create all these weapons that use science and cannons. At one point he has a costume party where he invites everyone to reveal his plan but he is overcome with anger at their indifference to their own ability and privilege and just yells at them about not having legs which was amazing to see.
This is where Kevin Kline finds Salma Hayek in a cage, a human-sized birdcage, that she’s locked in for some reason (this movie despite having no sex scenes has better bondage sex scenes than both 50 Shades of Grey movies). Kevin Kline has been dressing as a buxom woman on these missions to be covert but not tonight! He breaks her out of her cage (great title for an emo song) with a mechanized boot stirrup. The whole movie Kevin Kline’s character keeps employing these little inventions that both work and don’t.
Eventually James and Artemus have a stand off with Arliss (after James dresses as a belly dancer and steals the handcuff keys/Artemus invents a hang glider) where they kill a lot of metalhead dudes (so it’s great when Mad Max does it but not Wild Wild West? Mad Max is stupid and Wild Wild West is great and this is the hill I will die on) then finally destroy the giant spider with fire, and kill Arliss until his wheelchair bleeds orange (maybe one of the producers is a Clemson fan?).
Salma, who has been kind of flirting her way through, reveals that the scientist she was trying to find/save wasn’t her dad but *gasp, twist* her HUSBAND! Which wasn’t that shocking because he’s a hot scientist with a salt & pepper beard, and I’m sure she had a great dad, but it’s treated like it’s a big shock.
One of the weapons from the beginning were these metal collars that once activated, have a magnetized pull to a circular blade that follows the victim until it catches up to them, and decapitates them. Artemus finds one of the scientists killed in this way (“Expert in the field of metallurgy, discovered in a field of alfalfa”) and uses his head as a projector, “the last images before death are burned onto the back of the retina” and that’s how we find the clues to the master plan/party.
Everything is cool. They have a gadget train they ride through the desert, Will Smith has a floating sex picnic with a woman in the town’s water tower (just contaminating an entire city’s water supply but no one cares because he’s so cool) and generally is breaking hearts left and right. This was also during a magical time when if Will Smith was cast in a movie, it meant he wrote a custom rap song for that movie which gave us the wonderful song of the same name that starts, “Jim West, desperado/Rough Rider no you don’t want nada” and samples a Stevie Wonder song, (which means that Stevie Wonder is listed as one of the writers of the Wild Wild West soundtrack) that Sisqo is also on. It’s amazing. “You don’t wanna see my hand where my hip be at/With Artemus, from the start of this” is another line, I won’t go on but you should listen to it, a lotta good stuff in there.
I genuinely don’t understand how anyone couldn’t like this movie. Do they not like fun? Like, it’s not changing the face of modern cinema but it was so FUN and everything holds up and everyone does an amazing job. The art direction is also gorgeous-I feel like I could pull stills from this movie and most of you wouldn’t be able to tell what was this movie and what was a Lorde music video. Everything’s good! There’s also high art stuff too, for example, Kevin Kline plays both Artemus Gordon and the President and there’s a scene where Artemus dresses up as the President then the President comes in and tells him to knock it off?? How do mirrors even work?? High art!!
ALSO: a lil conspiracy theory of my own, at the end of this movie when the President is congratulating West and Gordon he says, “Gentlemen you’ll be happy to know i’m creating a new agency” and it’s the secret service BUT what if it’s ALSO the Men in Black and this movie is a prequel to Men in Black!!!!!! I think it is and until someone finds hard proof that it’s not I’m going to continue to think that.
The original website for the movie is still up and what a treat that is, it’s all pop ups and bad graphics (99 baby!!) and Salma Hayek’s name is misspelled in the link! It also tries to get you to download an audio file when you enter? What a time the 90’s were.
Also apparently Will Smith doesn’t think it’s a good movie? But guess what he does think is good? Donating money to the Church of Scientology. So clearly we can’t trust his judgement anymore. It’s on Netflix, don’t take the word of me or a black millionaire, judge for yourself!!!
4/5 metal death collars, will definitely masturbate again and you should too!!!