Movie Defense Force: Wild Wild West

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Agree 95%. I enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed how it didn't take itself seriously. I even enjoyed the racist and cripple jokes being traded back and forth.

I've seen it about 4 times in total and laughed every single time.

GamerMage:
I know,right? But Smith turned down the role of Neo for this. )

WAIT! Wait...wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait Wait!

Will Smith could have been Neo? You're saying history missed an opportunity to have Will Smith play a bullet stopping, flying trenchcoat kung-fu master AND the opportunity to see him in a DBZ styled flying brawl? I'm sad now.

....If you don't understand why I'm in disbelief and disappointed this never happened, then i want you to go back through alot of the major fight scenes and cool scenes and instead imagine how Will Smith would have acted during those sequences. And if the thought of a Kung-Fu performing Will Smith doesn't bring a smile to your face, then i don't know what will.

Waterworld, and now Wild Wild West. Two of my favorite, 90s movies. I love you, Jim Sterling.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Casual Shinji:
It's this movie's constant and embarrassing failed attempts at humor that makes me loath it. See also Men in Black 2, where I had serious trouble keeping my lunch down by how utterly putird the jokes were.

It's not the giant metal spider or any of the steampunk gizmos, it's the characters reaching Transformers levels of annoyance that make Wild Wild West so fucking... shit.

It also ripped off a stunt from Maverick, a much better Wild West action comedy.

You mean like:

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"We need to increase turret velocity, I'm hearing too much time between screams..."
"You go to hell sir!"
"You first sir."

"Well what are you going to go as?"
"Myself"
"A negro lawman in a room full of former slave owners? You'll win first prize."

[attacked by a knife wielding engineer]
"That's it. No more mister knife guy."

You forgot those hilarious transvestite bits. Because man dressed as woman is instant comedy gold.

Also, "Breath of fresh ass", "Let's just get some shut ass".... HA HA! Barry Sonnenfeld, you whimsical master you.

The only real complaint I feel can be thrown at this film is how overplayed it got on tv after it's release.

That aside.....did this really need a white knight defending it?
As others have said, who are these super serious people who hate fun movies?

A suggestion: Do HUdson Hawk. Bruce willish himself said hed rather die than act in it had he was given the choice now, its generally loathed film as a failure but its one of the best comedies in existence of human history. it definatelly deserves a place here.

I really do enjoy this movie, and I have never heard of anyone else who liked it, well defended Jim.

Also, thread would not be complete without Eric Cartman's rendition of Wild Wild West:

totaly just went and watched this the moment after watching your defence of it.
and yes i agree that move was incrediably fun.

Infernai:

GamerMage:
I know,right? But Smith turned down the role of Neo for this. )

WAIT! Wait...wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait Wait!

Will Smith could have been Neo? You're saying history missed an opportunity to have Will Smith play a bullet stopping, flying trenchcoat kung-fu master AND the opportunity to see him in a DBZ styled flying brawl? I'm sad now.

....If you don't understand why I'm in disbelief and disappointed this never happened, then i want you to go back through alot of the major fight scenes and cool scenes and instead imagine how Will Smith would have acted during those sequences. And if the thought of a Kung-Fu performing Will Smith doesn't bring a smile to your face, then i don't know what will.

Let's make this even worse, one way or another.

Morpheus could have had Sean Connery's face.

Well, for me, your defense fails for one simple reason, you claim it's funny. I didn't find anything amusing about the film and most people I talk to agree. The movie sucks, not just because it's stupid, but because it's stupid and boring.

"Funny" is clearly a subjective standard so there is no point in arguing it, but for that same reason, its also a pretty flimsy defense, at least on its own. I guess you thought it was funny. Most people didn't. And when you consider that you had two of the most popular funny men of the time in it, that is a huge disappointment.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Sojoez:
Jim should defend Postal. That too was a dumb action movie with stupid dialog. But it made fun of itself and it was fun to watch. Just because it was made by Uwe Boll doesn't mean it was horrible by default. (Unless its game related)

Problem being, Postal WAS game related...

Welp... That kinda slipped me there. My point is that this is not a serious attempt. Where as, Bloodrayne, Alone in the Dark, and others were. If you know what I mean.

Is that how you pronounce Julia? not as in Julia Roberts?

and is it fair to assume we'll see episodes of the Street fighter movie and Waterworld?

I do like this movie. I think a major point of contention is tone: A lot of people feel like Will Smith playing...well, he's playing Will Smith...ruins the tone of a western. But I always felt like rather then inconsistent, Will Smith made the movie gleefully anachronistic. Steampunk is kind of anachronistic as it is, throwing advanced technology into a more primitive society. Combine a brash cowboy type with very modern flavor of brashness, and it just gets better.

I'm still waiting for a movie that ive seen to be defended that I actually don't like. So far, they have all been sort of trashy, but extremely fun movies.

Double post, I have no idea how I keep managing this.

Longstreet:

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Sojoez:
Jim should defend Postal. That too was a dumb action movie with stupid dialog. But it made fun of itself and it was fun to watch. Just because it was made by Uwe Boll doesn't mean it was horrible by default. (Unless its game related)

Problem being, Postal WAS game related...

Doesn't uwe only make game related films? (and fuck em up one by one)

Actually no - Uwe also has movies movies. Just last week's MDF was about one of these - Rampage. I don't know how good they are (I kind of expect them to be not good. Not terrible, though).

Also, Postal was actually quite enjoyable. I'm still can't decide if it's close to the game or not (or, you know, closer than the other movies of his were to the respective games) but at least it was funny in the same inappropriate way Postal was. Why, just look at the opening. If you liked the Postal game, you might like the movie too. Just...maybe don't see it as a Postal movie, just as a movie that is inspired by Postal humour.

Thank you Jim Sterling. Every film you've defended so far on this show I honestly couldn't argue with and so far you've hit two of my three "bad films that aren't bad".

Waterworld, Wild Wild West, and Van Helsing. All 3 of these films are treated like they're absolute shit on the internet but I enjoy them all, and will continue to. If you don't like them, you simply don't like fun films. None of them are especially deep, philosophical, breath-taking or break any boundaries. They are ALL however extremely fun. There's loads of films like this. I'd love to hear why Pirates Of The Caribbean was considered a success and generally decent film, while those three are not. I'd say all 4 of the films I've mentioned here are on par with each other.

Infernai:

GamerMage:
I know,right? But Smith turned down the role of Neo for this. )

WAIT! Wait...wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait Wait!

Will Smith could have been Neo? You're saying history missed an opportunity to have Will Smith play a bullet stopping, flying trenchcoat kung-fu master AND the opportunity to see him in a DBZ styled flying brawl? I'm sad now.

....If you don't understand why I'm in disbelief and disappointed this never happened, then i want you to go back through alot of the major fight scenes and cool scenes and instead imagine how Will Smith would have acted during those sequences. And if the thought of a Kung-Fu performing Will Smith doesn't bring a smile to your face, then i don't know what will.

Yeah, that depresses me too.

DragonWright:
This is one of those MDFs where my initial reaction was, "This needed defending?"

Who are these people who hate fun movies?

Yeah. Maybe I'm showing a bit of my age here but when I and everyone I knew saw it, we knew it wasn't a smash hit, but I hadn't heard of anyone who was like "I hate this movie." I've heard of more people who hate Independence Day than this.

Hmmm, well this is one of those movies where you need to look at it in the context of it's time and a lot of what was surrounding it, and I also think the evaluation of it's actual performance is a bit off.

For starters I will say I personally enjoyed this movie, I have it on DVD. I was also one of the people talking about hopes for a possible sequel, Salma Hayak actually produced a promotional video (shown on Entertainment Tonight if I remember) in an effort to try and raise money to fund a sequel, given that for all of it's apparent failures the movie had become a bona-fide cult classic and was apparently selling pretty well in the secondary markets. Given that this was around the turn of the century this was before companies seemed to really be paying attention to that.

That said, it's lack of mainstream success was well deserved on a lot of levels. When you put a name of an enduring "classic" series like "Wild Wild West" on a movie it comes with certain expectations. Other than keeping the names of some of the major characters it didn't really have much in common with the show it was allegedly based on at all. It's also a good example of why taking a well known character and performing an ethnic swap, especially when you turn around and bring that ethnicity to the forefront a few times, while at the same time otherwise ignoring any historical context within the setting, and well... it didn't work. When they decided to make this a "Wild Wild West" movie, with Will Smith stepping into the shoes of a well known character, it meant his acting chops were being judged based on how well he could play the role. He couldn't, he more or less played as "Will Smith as a hip cowboy" and just failed to convince you he was the character. He also had little or no chemistry with his partner, in what was very much a "buddy" production, both characters were fine on their own, but didn't mesh well, their scenes together seemed forced, and again it failed to be what the movie set out to be.

If you IGNORE that it's supposed to be "Wild Wild West" then the movie actually improves substatially, but it's impossible to forget what this was supposed to be, and indeed what the name says it is, and it deserves to be blasted on those grounds alone while at the same time being accepted as a fairly entertaining work.

Another important thing to understand is that "Wild Wild West" largely got greenlit because of the relative success, despite all odds, of "Brisco County Jr." which itself endures as a cult classic today, and despite all odds actually got renewed for a second season. The basic process at the time seemed to be that if people were still talking about that a couple years after it went off the air (and ironically became more popular after it's run) and they were largely ripping off the "Wild Wild West" formula, imagine what studios could do with a big budget, and cashing in on name recognition even if their product wasn't anything like what they were calling it. At the time we also had some serious trends towards "wierd westerns" among nerd-dom with things like the "Deadlands RPG" actually being notable successes, spawning entire series of books and becoming crazy prolific during their 15 minutes of fame. This bubble existed accross products like that and "Wild Wild West" was coming in on the tail end... which is also why there was an attempt (as I mentioned) to gather money for a sequel due to how well it apparently performed in the secondary market.

Such is what I think needs to be said here.

To be honest I'm not sure if "Wild, Wild, West" really needed a "Movie Defense Force" treatment because honestly I don't think this one was ever "universally" panned, it only got slammed by the mainstream, and always had a degree of
a following, unlike some movies which managed to fail to achieve quiet, cult-like, success. Among it's proponents it's big failure is largely in terms of not being as good as other material covering the same basic thing.

This movie also launched at least one career, that of Bai Ling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bai_Ling

You'll notice the differance between her pre- Wild Wild West, and post- Wild Wild West roles in terms of both numbers and the profile of the projects even if she's a supporting actress. She had been doing this stuff for 16 years (starting in 1984) prior to that movie, and did far more in the following 13 years despite her advancing age (which is a big deal for an actress).

I'm of the opinion that what truly irked people about this film, were the jarring change of tones from viewing a slideshow on a projector made from a human head ...to wacky slapstick comedy.
The same problem we see in Waterworld, where we have recycling human waste and implied slavery and pedophilia being commonplace, along-side poignant social commentary about global warming.
Both films were TOO controversial. And while being controversial and scandalous for the sake of it were perfectly acceptable in the 90's ...in a strange turn of events, people have started becoming more uptight and consequently more snobbish. The reason behind this societal metamorphosis is suspect is none-other than the Internet.
When you're only a few keystrokes away from getting your comedy fix by watching cat-videos on YouTube or rubbing one off to your most perverse fantasies, sex and comedy have quickly started loosing their value. We started expecting more from our established media.

That's how SouthPark went from toilet-humor to this insufferable preachy and desperately trying to stay relevant show.

That being said, i enjoyed watching both WildWildWest and WaterWorld tremendously when they came out on cable TV :)

I will always remember Wild Wld West because it was the first DVD that I ever owned.

I made my friends watch this the other day with me so I could then watch this MDF and have the background knowledge necessary. I had never seen this movie before.

The problem with WWW was casting. The elephant in the room was Will Smith. I love about everything Will Smith has done, but here he was the "oh look, it's a black guy" reaction from all the little characters that got so damned old that that, for all it's steam punk charm, WWW sucked. Mel Gibson was better suited for this role. Not from todays perspective, but back in the mid 90s he was.

Depressingly, the racist vs ablist punathon was always my favourite scene. I think it would work better in Django these days, where you can be confident that the racist humour is being played for ironically, unlike the 90s, where making fun of disabled people was something you could still get away with.

Kind of surprised by this episode in that I didn't realize Wild Wild West was a movie that was considered bad and needed defending. I mean, yeah, it's cheesy and dumb as all hell, but that's obviously the point. Sometimes people need to learn that a little mindless fun is a good thing.

Only thing I remembered from it was the fake boobs scene.

Just went to a steampunk ball, saw a couple references to this, and damn it, it's not as terrible as people think.

Now I have to admit this movie was conceptually pretty good, but the script and direction of the film was just terrible. I mean this move was basically a live action steam punk movie before steam punk was even on most peoples radar. I mean it was way to over the top and the jokes were generally terrible. The only thing that makes this movie even palatable is the action skills of people like Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Klein, and Will Smith. However, this film is not even savable by the actors skills because of the terrible script and terrible direction, where the director should have at least questioned some of the choices made, especially the script.

I can for one attest this movie is generally indefensible since I am actually old enough to have been in the theaters for this one and saw people walking out in droves during the end of the first act. People at the time thought it was stupid, didn't generally understand what the movie was going for aesthetically (remember steam punk wasn't a "thing" yet), but worst of all it had no audience at any level it seemed. Making handicapped and dick jokes while funny to some in just one scene offended some people and then multiply that by making lynchings a humorous affair made more people mad and that was just two scenes. While I remember sitting with friends at the theater thinking they were using modern terms for things that American didn't invent and somehow they knew the term for them.

This movie really made a lot of mistakes the League of Extraordinary Gentleman would make some years later, but that's a whole different disaster of film making.

I am one of those who like this film and never understood why it was so disliked. everything he say is as I think about it.

it took me this many episodes to realize what was happening in the intro scene.

Much of the problem was the promotion and hype for the movie. It was a silly, surreal, fun farce not a serious blockbuster and it needed to be judged on those merits. You are right in that a LOT of 90s films do get their silliness just forgiven and i don't see why Wild Wild West was singled out at the time. Maybe it was just too proud of it's silliness and critics didn't get that the film is very obviously in on the joke, not to mention all the fun the actors are having.

I always rather liked wild wild west and it still sits proudly in my DVD collection.

DragonWright:
This is one of those MDFs where my initial reaction was, "This needed defending?"

Who are these people who hate fun movies?

This was my thought as well.

I mean really, this movie is stupid, funny, and doesn't take itself seriously...

People that hate this movie really need to reexamine their movie watching priorities.

I remember watching this last semester with the rest of my suite mates and we were all pumped to see it was on so much that we went to Netflix just to watch the entire thing. by the end we were all smiling and laughing at it just because of nostalgia and because it was just fun as hell to watch.

besides, as jim said, a giant steampunk mecha spider running wild through the west with half a man on a crude wheelchair as its maestro. that alone is enough to sell thsi movie, and lets be honest, this movie was WAY better than expectations for it.

Andre Nilsson:
I am one of those who like this film and never understood why it was so disliked. everything he say is as I think about it.

A bit late in my response to you, but as a sort of continuation of my normal response I recommend checking out the following if you can:

1. The original "Wild Wild West" series and movies

2. The "Deadlands" RPG (paper and pencil)

3. "The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr."

Most of this can be easily found on the internet since it's old stuff. I have no idea of the legal status of most of it. I own a decent pile of Deadlands books (or did, they are in storage, sadly the last box of RPG books I tried to pull out got ruined unexpetedly, those are probably okay though), and have "Adventures Of Brisco County Jr." on DVD. Netflix, TV viewing sites, etc... might help if your curious.

At any rate as I touched on in this thread and mentioned in response to some other "Movie Defense Force" titles, the quality of something in part has to be judged based on what else was out there at around the same time. If someone else is covering the same basic ideas (utter wierdness in an alternate history Wild West), or god forbid the same exact franchise, and doing it BETTER, that's going to reflect on your product. You suck if the other guy next to you is superior so to speak. I still personally liked "Wild, Wild, West" as I mentioned, and I suppose it's easier to appreciate if you have no real knowlege or involvement with other works in the genere even for those who are. It's sort of like how "Aliens 3" suffered because franchise fans, those who really liked "Aliens" for the premise, concept, etc... were fans of "Dark Horse Comics" who for a while had the rights to the series, and allegedly on paper had the right to produce canon material for "Aliens" and a number of other franchises (which lead to numerous legal battles with differant people over the years, most of which Dark Horse lost, but that's another discussion entirely). Simply put they produced some really good "Aliens" stories that nearly all fans liked which picked up with Ripley, Hicks, and Newt leaving Cryo-sleep after the end of "Aliens". When they decided to kill of Hicks and Newt at the beginning of "Alien 3" and nixed that continuity they pretty much nuked 90% of their fan base right then and there and doomed the movie's reception.

At any rate with "WWW", try watching the original series (like anything it's hit or miss) the way the characters are defined, the buddy mechanic, etc. You'll notice where a lot of things in the Will Smith movie came from (like the stuff on the train), and also probably come to the conclusion that they bear little more than the most superficial resemblance to each other in pretty much any aspect. Albiet it could be said the TV series DID get bizzare enough where a giant mechanical doom spider would have fit right in had they had the budget or technology to make one at the time.

When you take the whole "let's camp it up even more" aestetic, you'll notice "Brisco County Jr." had just as much steampunk insanity in it, as well as a metaplot involving time travellers. It did "WWW" with a more "modern" sensibility better than the movie did, and didn't have a well known franchise name attached to it, leading to expectations from fans which were never met. Anyone going to see Will Smith, who was expecting to see James West and Artemis Gordon more or less as they remember them were not going to get it, and at that point you really have to wonder why the hell they used the franchise name other than to try and dupe fans.

With "Deadlands" I mostly mention it because at the time there was a bit of a Steampunk/Retrofantasy revival going on, and like most nerd fads, this lead to a few RPGs being produced. This was one of the more successful ones which actually got released in multiple formats (it's own "house" system, and a robust D20 version) it had not just core books like most RPGs, but a slew of supplements, a few adventure modules, and it's own fiction series. It was less "science fiction" than it was supernatural but it had both elements, and one big gimmick directed at genere fans was that a thinly disguised analogy to Doctor Loveless was a piece of work, but also arguably Earth's greatest hero, developing a lot of highly advanced/steampunk type technology to fight the supernatural. The series was popular enough where they created an entire continuity based around that guy tying together three seperate timelines, there was the western "core" setting, a near future post apocolyptic setting (the future of that world), and a far future setting on a space colony called ummm "Lost Colony" if I remember. To be honest the giant beam-shooting steampunk spider fit right in there, and vaguely remember they had one written up before the "WWW" movie which lead to a lot of nerds claiming that they were ripping off Deadlands. Albiet in Deadlands the point of things on that level were more if you ever wanted to say have a godzilla brawl with the equivilent of a risen Great Ctuhulu in the middle of Death Valley, than to try and take over the US.

Is Jim going to do more of these?

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