Cine-Men: Will Smith’s steampunk cult classic is a roast-worthy spectacle

Jessep Caravella and Ben Staub, Staff Writers

     Will Smith was incredibly popular in the 90’s. From “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to “Men in Black,” he was all over the place. He almost starred in “The Matrix” as Neo, but decided on another project instead…

Will Smith stars as Capt. James West in the bizarre Civil War-era comedy “Wild Wild West.”

   

     “Wild Wild West” is a steampunk, Civil War buddy-cop comedy (can’t believe I wrote that sentence). It features Will Smith as Army Captain James West and Kevin Kline as Artemus Gordon, an inventor and U.S. Marshal.

     The two are sent by the president to capture a former Confederate general who is wanted for mass murder. The unlikely duo eventually tracks him down only to discover a former Confederate scientist, Dr. Loveless, is actually behind these murders and is attempting to take over the country with his arsenal of high-tech (at the time) weaponry.

     Some things that stick out about this movie other than the premise, the writing, the goofy characters or the fact that it’s Will Smith, are all the neat gadget designs that appear throughout the movie. Magnetic projectile saws, cyborgs, steampunk mechs – you name it. The movie is constantly throwing ideas out there that are made to keep you guessing. Adding its strange sense of humor just makes it a unique experience.

     What may throw most people off guard when watching this movie is the writing. It’s clearly one of those “so bad it’s good” films, meaning some of the dialogue and story choices can just be so blatantly bad and in poor taste that it somehow becomes entertaining to watch.

     The movie had fallen from grace only to somehow bounce back up. This is evident through the… well, you kind of have to watch the movie to see what we’re talking about.

OUR TAKE:

     Ben: It’s an interesting concept to begin with: steampunk buddy-cop. That leads into some interesting inventions that were being thrown around, like the magnet collars or the giant spider mech.

 

     This movie also had one of the most amazing villains I’ve seen in a while. Kenneth Branagh does a great job being a menacing, monologue-spewing maniac, who’s over-the-top in just the right way.

     Weirdly enough, what I thought didn’t really work was Will Smith himself. There was just something about his one-liners and attitude throughout the movie that felt just a little off.

     As a movie, it’s something you get a group of friends together to laugh at (bonus points for being intoxicated while watching). I’d have to give this a 5/10 as quality films go. For a movie roast night, I’d give it a seven.

     Jessep: I’m going to be frank: I’m a sucker for these kinds of movies. From “The Room” to the “Super Mario Bros.” movie, I can never get enough of this stuff. To me, an “off” movie loaded with questionable writing choices will more likely be a favorite of mine than even the most superior classic films if it’s entertaining enough.

     So, it’s obvious that I may have a bit of bias. But, the fact that this movie has its own Will Smith hip-hop theme akin to that of “Men in Black” just adds to the fun.

     As far as quality movies go, I have to put by biases aside and give it a 6/10, but if you’re like me and enjoy a good bad movie with off-the-wall writing, it’s probably a strong 8/10.

 

 

Kenneth Branagh battles Capt. James West as psychotic ex-rebel scientist Dr. Loveless.