Wild Wild West is a 1999 film loosely based on the 1960s TV series of the same name starring Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek, Ted Levine and M. Emmet Walsh. The film was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (who directed the Men In Black films, which are considered to be Will Smith's most popular and iconic films of all time). One of the producers was S.S. Wilson, who worked on the the first four Tremors films.
Army captain James West (Smith) and Marshal Artemus Gordon (Kline) are wanted for murder in the old West in 1869.
Why It Sucks
- Poor storyline.
- Poor acting.
- Unfunny jokes.
- Innuendos, which were not on the TV series.
- Hip hop music that obviously doesn't fit in a Western film.
- The film doesn't have that much faith to the original series.
- Old Western clichés that don't work.
- Tonal shifts such as Will Smith talking about a brutal massacre being followed by jokes about Salma Hayek's rear end.
- The film tends to focus more on the special effects than the story, characters and events.
- Laughable lines that make no sense (eg. Artemus Gordon stating "I’m the master of the mechanical stuff." in a goofy sounding voice).
- Our main characters bicker quite a bit.
- Poor grasp of the source material of the original show.
- The mechanical spider is pretty awesome.
- The song Wild Wild West, which was used in the film and sung by Will Smith is pretty awesome too and was better than the film to most fans.
- Certain special effects are pretty good (especially on the spider), even by 1999's standards and look practical with a touch of CGI.
- The fight scenes are decent.
Wild Wild West currently holds a 17% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic consensus that states "Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script." Roger Ebert stated about the film, “Wild Wild West is a comedy dead zone. You stare in disbelief as scenes flop and die. The movie is all concept and no content; the elaborate special effects are like watching money burn on the screen." Guest critic Joel Siegel labeled Wild Wild West as his worst film in the Parodies That Self-Destruct category on Roger Ebert’s Worst of 1999 show while Ebert named Lake Placid as his worst film in that category.
Wild Wild West opened up at #1 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $27,687,484 and grossed $108,300,000 in foreign marketing. The film made $113,804,681 at the U.S. box office against its budget of $170 million and overall the film made $222.1 million worldwide making it a commercial disappointment.
Awards and nominations
Wild Wild West won five Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture and had four nominations including Worst Actor for Kevin Kline. The film also won a Kid's Choice Award for Best Song, which was Wild Wild West. It also won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Actress.
Other Critic quotes
- "Wild Wild West isn't just a movie gone bad. Wild Wild West represents the very worst about the Hollywood system. They can create huge and amazing special effects. But, they can't solve the simplest problem in filmmaking - how to tell a story!" - Guest critic Joel Siegel of Good Morning America on Roger Ebert's Worst Films of 1999 show
- "A giant, bombastic flop of a movie." - James Kendrick of Q Network Film Desk
- "While its television counterpart will continue to live on in syndication, this version is headed for Boot Hill." - James Berardinelli of ReelViews
- “Few things are potentially more dangerous to the health of a studio picture than giving a director and a star enough rope to hang themselves.” - Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times
- “The western deserves better. So do Smith, Kline and Branagh. So do Hayek and Sonnenfeld. And maybe even, heaven help us, so does The Wild, Wild West.” - Michael Wilmington of The Chicago Tribune