Film: Wild Wild West
aka: The Wild Wild West
Artemus Gordon: So, what does Loveless have? (notices factory complex) Well... he has his own city.Wild Wild West is a 1999 Cattle Punk comedy film starring Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, and Salma Hayek. It is The Film of the Series of The Wild Wild West— technically.The plot, taking place during the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, concerns government agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon attempting to prevent a renewal of the Civil War by amputee Southern Scientist Dr. Arliss Loveless and his giant mechanical spider.
(out of nowhere a giant mechanical spider shows up)
Jim West: He has an 80-foot tarantula.
Artemus Gordon: Yes, well... I was coming to that.
(out of nowhere a giant mechanical spider shows up)
Jim West: He has an 80-foot tarantula.
Artemus Gordon: Yes, well... I was coming to that.
Provides Examples Of:
- All There in the Manual: The novelization explains how Jim West survived the 80 foot fall.
- Anachronism Stew: Jim West's use of modern slang, such as "boobies" and "booty".
- And Then I Said: Artemus, while discussing Rita Escobar.
- And Starring: In one theatrical poster: "And Kenneth Branagh."
- Animal Motifs: Loveless is all about spiders. It's on his flag, his secret base is in Spider Canyon, and his ultimate weapon is a Spider Tank.
- Armed Legs: Jim West's blade-equipped shoes.
- Artistic License – History: President Grant didn't actually attend the joining of the railroads, let alone hammer in the golden spike. More nitpickily, the Secret Service was created before the film's timeframe — and was not tasked with protecting the President until much later.
- Artistic License – Physics: Pretty blatant with the collar trap device. First, it easily detects when someone steps over the copper "fence" - even without actually touching it. Then the trap neck braces have some truly inconsistent magnetism (the braces only attract themselves after Gordon hits them with a stone, the buzz saws they're attracting rarely go in a straight line...) and the saws more or less have infinite angular momentum, mowing their way through entire cornfields without losing a bit of spin. Plus they explode when they run into each other!
- Batman Cold Open: Jim West and Artemus Gordon vs. General McGrath in the saloon... at least, that's how it was written in the script.
- Belly Dancer: Jim West as "Ebonia", in a last ditch attempt to stall the meeting of Dr. Loveless and America's enemies and kill Loveless.
- Between My Legs: Jim West's legs, as he's standing naked in front of three men after falling out of a water tank.
- Black-Tie Infiltration: Jim West and Artemus Gordon infiltrate a post-Civil War Southern costume ball dressed as an armed cowboy and a French mountain man, respectively. Problem: the other attendees are white racist former slave owners, and Jim West is black.
- Black Vikings: Jim West as a U.S. Army captain in 1869. Noted to be highly unusual.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: A mook has swords that snap out of his wrists.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: After Loveless captures West and Gordon, he fits their necks with the blade-attracting magnets that the professor in the opening was also killed with. Then he leaves before ensuring their demise.
- Brains and Bondage: Holy crap, look at the rig in Loveless' bedroom! Then again...
- Briar Patching
Loveless: Shoot him in the head.Artemus: Damn.
- Subverted. Artemus attempts to have Dr. Loveless capture him, dressed as Ulysses S. Grant, to lure him away from the real Ulysses. Loveless takes them both.
- Also, when Artemus is caught and about to be executed, he begs to be "shot in my heart, which has loved this country so much" because he is wearing his prototype for a bullet proof vest. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.
- Brick Joke: West and Loveless continue their Volleying Insults near the end.
- Bullet Proof Vest: Gordon's Impermeable.
- But He Sounds Handsome: While impersonating President Grant, Gordon spends much of his time praising himself.
- The Butcher: General "Bloodbath" McGrath is also "The Butcher of New Liberty".
- Calling Card: Loveless sends the Prez a marzipam cake shaped like the White House. Live tarantulas emerge whenever the lid is lifted.
- Catapult Nightmare: West flinging himself up from a bad dream in the "Wild Wild West" music video.
- Chekhov's Gun
- All of Gordon's inventions.
- The spider and the wasp.
- Loveless' magnet collars.
- Composite Character: The film version of Loveless is a Mad Scientist like his TV counterpart, but his backstory (a Confederate veteran embittered by being crippled in the war) is taken straight from another villain, Colonel Vautrain. (His Steampunk wheelchair also looks an awful lot like the one used by Mr. Braine.)
- Cool Old Guy: President Grant, as exemplified here.Loveless: Well now isn't this a coincidence? I'm out for a little morning ride and right in the middle of nowhere I bump into General Ulysses S. Grant himself! We've never been formally introduced, I'm Doctor Arliss Loveless, formerly of the Confederate Army.
Grant: Yes, Doctor Loveless. That's a fine-looking spider you've got there...what can I do for you today?
Loveless: I have a humble abode nearby, I hope you'll accept my hospitality. I have a little proposition to make.
Grant: What proposition is that?
Loveless: The immediate and unconditional surrender of the United States of America to the Loveless Alliance!
Grant: I didn't realize we were at war. You have me at somewhat of a disadvantage. I didn't bring my flyswatter.
- Cool Train
- The Wanderer, used by West and Gordon.
- Loveless' beats it. An armed, armored doodlebug (powered car) with both a slot for his War Wagon and spider legs.
- Cosmopolitan Council: Dr. Loveless' foreign backers
- Cowboy Cop: Jim West. Bonus points for him being a cowboy.
- Cyborg: Loveless and some of his Mooks are steampunk cyborgs.
- Damsel in Distress: Rita Escobar.
- Dance Battler: Gordon shows off some balletic moves while fighting Loveless' ladies.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy
- When Artemus is about to be shot, he's fortunately wearing body armor and demands that he be shot "...in the heart that loves this country so much." Loveless's response? "Shoot him in the head."
- When Loveless tries to kidnap President Grant, Gordon shows up disguised as the president so Loveless will let the real one go and take him instead. Instead he takes both men.
- Deadly Disc: Dr. Loveless' machine that fires high speed homing saw blades.
- Deadpan Snarker: Will Smith as Jim West and Kevin Kline as Artemus Gordon.
- Demoted to Dragon: We find this out about Bloodbath McGrath, when he is killed by the real Big Bad.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Dr. Loveless is re-imagined as a steampunk Blofeld on a white supremacist kick. Contrary to what he says, the Doctor has put aside his Confederate past and is conspiring with British, Mexican, and Spanish agents to divvy up the United States between them all. His reasoning is that, since the CSA "betrayed" him by surrendering to the Yankees, he owes them nothing.
- Diabolus ex Machina: When Rita Escobar turns out to be Professor Escobar's wife, disappointing the two men in their quest for love.
- Disguised in Drag: Artie as "Dora" at Fat-Can Candy's Saloon near the film's beginning. Later, Jim West as a belly dancer, his beard hidden under a veil.
- Disney Death: West, who takes a point-blank gunshot to the chest but survives thanks to Gordon's "Impermeable".
- Disney Villain Death: Dr. Loveless and nearly all of his henchmen and women towards the ending.
- Divided States of America: Dr. Loveless's plan for the U.S. It seems he didn't love the South quite enough to not see it handed over to foreign powers as well.
- Dragon Lady: Miss East
- Dramatic Gun Cock: See Enhanced Interrogation Techniques below.
- Earn Your Title: General "Bloodbath" McGrath, AKA "The Butcher of New Liberty".
- Ear Trumpet: General McGrath has one, tipping out accumulated ear wax at one point for disgusting effect.
- Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Jim West uses a Dramatic Gun Cock on "President Grant".
- Even Evil Has Standards: General "Bloodbath" McGrath is hardly a pleasant man, but he is haunted and horrified by Dr. Loveless's murderous inventions and his willingness to test them on human subjects.
- Evil Cripple: Dr. Loveless
- Exactly What I Aimed AtLoveless: "After all that, you missed?"
Gordon: "Actually I didn't."
- Eye Remember: Retinal Terminus Theory.
- Fake Boobs: Artemus Gordon has some.
- Faux Affably Evil: Dr. Loveless acts polite and well-mannered, but it barely hides the mind of an Ax-Crazy psychopath."By the way, I'll be seeing President Grant soon at Promontory Point. What should I tell him for you? I'm afraid it can't be that you're alive and well!" *Evil Laugh*
- Femme Fatale: Rather downplayed with Miss East, who basically saves a complete stranger's (West's) life, something that's a bit too noble for the trope.
- The Film of the Series
- Freudian Slippery Slope: "I told you she'd be a distraction." See the Funny Moments entry.
- Funny Bruce Lee Noises: Artemus Gordon, while performing his Karate Kid impersonation.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Artemus Gordon and Dr. Loveless.
- Gag Boobs: Gordon's woman suit has those. So does a woman whom West confuses for him in drag. The latter leads to a hilarious party foul that the Southerners try to lynch West over.
- General Ripper: Ironically enough, West to General "Bloodbath" McGrath.
- Genius Cripple: Dr. Loveless
- Giant Spider: See Spider Tank below.
- Good Old Fisticuffs
- Groin Attack: Jim West to two of Loveless' mooks on the giant spider's engine deck. Also subverted.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Occurs in Dr. Loveless' Backstory, but he survives.
- Hand or Object Underwear: West's hat in the opening scene.
- Hurricane of Puns: Jim West's and Dr. Loveless' Volleying Insults.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Jim West to Loveless' cyber mook.
- I Know Karate: A mook tries this on Jim West. And then proceeds to get a shovel in the face.
- Identical Stranger: Artemus Gordon looks like President Grant without the beard.
- Incoming Ham: Loveless' introduction.
- In-Joke: The "DO NOT PUSH" train button is an obvious nod to Sonnenfeld's previous venture, Men In Black.
- In Name Only: The original show was a merging of The Western with the Spy Drama. It didn't really have many Steam Punk elements, just some technology that would have been high-tech for the time period. The movie ran with Steam Punk and the specific James Bond-style "save the world" spy escapades. The show didn't have anything like the Spider Tank or the magnetic collars, which makes it a very stark contrast going between the two.
- Insufferable Genius: Gordon.
- Interrogating the DeadWest: That's a man's head...
- Intimidation Demonstration: Happens twice during Jim West's battles with Dr. Loveless' mooks inside the giant spider robot.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: The giant spider.
- It's Personal: West's unit was the one that found the aftermath of the massacre at New Liberty, and since then he's been itching for a chance to dust the man responsible. His birth parents were among the victims.
- Knockout Gas: Artemus Gordon's sleeping gas billiard balls, except for one.West: That was not sleeping gas!Gordon: No, the 8-ball is an incendiary bomb.
- Large Ham and Cheese: Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline.
- Last Request
- Artemus, disguised as President Grant, tries to get Loveless to kidnap him instead of the real Grant in the finale. It doesn't work.
- Done again when Loveless threatens Grant by shooting his men, starting with Gordon. Gordon, knowing he's wearing a bulletproof vest, ask that he be shot in the heart to symbolize the country he loved. Loveless, true to his name, orders him to be shot in the head.
- Leeroy Jenkins: West constantly ignores Gordon's planning and runs right into battle. Only after he causes them to run for their lives and runs out of other options does he ask for Gordon to work out a plan. Gordon doesn't take it too well. (Entire speech can be seen on the Funny page.)
- Licensed Game: Wild Wild West: The Steel Assassin.
- The Load: Rita Escobar. She forces herself on the search, is pretty much nothing more than a distraction to them on purpose, she activates a sleeping gas billiard ball when West clearly announces himself and still believes it's a trap, and gets herself, West and Gordon captured by Loveless.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: For practical purposes, of course. Loveless makes a note to drill his gunners harder after the screams of their victims prove unsatisfactory.
- Mad Scientist: Dr Loveless.
- Made of Iron: Jim West falls 80 feet (5 stories) to the ground, and lands on his back. The film seems to try to justify this by Jim being knocked out and severely bruised up when he wakes but the fact still stands.He should be dead.
- Male Gaze: This film has more jiggling orbs than a cardio ball fitness class.
- Master of Disguise: Artemus Gordon
- Meaningful Name / Punny Name: All of Loveless' Paid Harem Bodyguard Babes. Loveless himself too.
- Mexico Called; They Want Texas Back: "Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, revolve a Mexico."
- Mistaken for Gay / Not What It Looks Like: The whole "touch my breast" scene.
- Mister Big: Dr Loveless.
- Ms. Fanservice
- The Name Is Bond, James Bond: "Mr..." "West. Jim West"
- Narcissist: Arliss Loveless. He even jokes about it.Rita: Not to give you a big head, but I kinda missed you.Loveless: Well isn't that a coincidence. I kinda missed me too!
- Neck Lift: The last of Dr. Loveless' mooks Jim West battles inside the giant spider robot does this to him.
- Nitro Express: At the beginning of the film, Captain Jim West jumps on a wagon carrying cases of nitro (with only hay for padding) for a renegade regiment of the former Confederacy.Jim: This! Is Not! The Way! You Transport! Nitro!!!
- Nobody Here but Us Statues: Loveless' mooks hiding in the paintings. After Miss East gives it away by looking at one, West quickly kills that mook, and then shoots every other picture.
- Noodle Implements: Loveless' suite. Yikes.
- Noodle Incident: The New Liberty incident that gave General "Bloodbath" McGrath his nickname. Though it's eventually explained.
- Not What It Looks Like: Coleman is disturbed when he overhears Artemus and Jim touching each other's "breasts."
- Of Corsets Sexy: Pretty much every female character's costume for most of the film (except for Garcelle Beauvais, who went without.)
- Official Parody
- One Bullet Left: Artemus Gordon's derringer.
- Overcome Their Differences: Jim and Artemus
- Overly Long Gag: See Volleying Insults
- Paid Harem: Dr. Loveless' extremely bizarre bodyguards: Amazonia (the muscle), Munitia (the rear gunner, hint hint), Miss Lippenrieder (the mouth-reader; basically acts as the intelligence agent) and Miss East (Bai Ling in a corset, enough said).
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Jim West's insulting Dr. Loveless about his amputee status.
- Phallic Weapon: Loveless's rather phallic disc blade launcher.
- Point Defenseless: Actually averted with the Tarantula - it had Gatling guns on board, which make handy anti-aircraft weapons...
- Politically Correct History: Mostly averted, actually. Contrary to popular misconception, the US Army had quite a few black officers during the Civil War. Official Army records list 186,097 black soldiers, 7,122 of whom were officers. How many of these achieved the rank of captain is not clear (one suspects most black officers were very junior). Even further, Jim gets himself in a lot of trouble for misbehaving at a party full of white people.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: The strongly racist Dr. Loveless. Nevertheless one of his henchmen is a Native American. (On the other hand, note how none of his landclaim restoration plan gives anything back to the Native Americans...)
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "No more Mr. Knife Guy.''
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Jim West while fighting a cyborg mook.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Jim's reaction to Gordon's doctor friend. Despite the Squick factor, it may double as a Crowning Moment of Funny.Jim: That... is a man's... head.
- Pursued Protagonist
- Quizzical Tilt: When the dog looks at Bloodbath McGrath's ear trumpet. Serves as a Shout-Out to the RCA logo◊, even referred to as such in the script.
- Race Lift: Will Smith. There's also the issue of his dialect. No matter what race, West would not speak like he was, let's say, 1980s West Philadelphia, born and raised. As noted under Politically Correct History above, the Army did have black officers at the time, though it's uncertain if any ascended to Captain.
- Raised by Natives: Jim West, by Native Americans.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Artemus Gordon after he and Jim West escape the Deadly Discs. See the Funny Moments entry.
- Rasputinian Death: McGrath is shot and thrown into a river before slowly bleeding to death.
- The Remnant: The ex-Confederates Jim fights at the start of the movie.
- Rescue Romance: Appears to be occurring with Jim, Artemus and Rita Escobar.
- Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: President Grant hammering in the Golden Spike.
- Riding into the Sunset: Parodied by Jim West and Artemus Gordon in the last scene. They appear to be riding horses, until the camera zooms out to reveal that they're actually piloting the 80-foot Spider Tank they took from Loveless.
- Rule of Three: "That is a man's head".
- Salt and Pepper
- Say My Name:Gordon (chuckling maniacally) Oh ho ho, I see. Now I'm the "master of this mechanical stuff." As opposed to five minutes ago, when I was calmly and coolly trying to find a solution to this very problem. But then something happened. Someone, who will remain nameless...(throws back his head and screams)
- Scenery Censor
- Scenery Gorn: The scenographic town of Silverado (built for the eponymous film) was destroyed for the scene the spider tank attacks it. Doubles as Actor Allusion, as Kevin Kline had appeared in Silverado. (Silverado's director even receives a Shout-Out.)
- Shiny New Australia: Loveless wants most of the U.S. Northwest to retire on.
- Shoot Everything That Moves: President Ulysses S. Grant comments: "And you West, not every situation calls for your patented approach of shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more, and then when everybody's dead try to ask a question or two".
- Soul Brotha: Will Smith. Parodied and lampshaded on occasion, whenever Gordon suggests he act stereotypically black.
- Spiders Are Scary
- The giant mechanical spider.
- Earlier in the film, Gordon is terrified of the desert tarantula that is crawling up Jim's arm. Jim, unfazed, comments "he's just trying to get warm."
- Spider Tank: An eighty foot tall Giant Spider tank.
- Spotting the Thread: Jim determines that President Grant is really Artemis Gordon by the fact that he's wearing a Harvard class ring whereas Grant attended West Point. Though the fact he spent most of his time praising himself should have tipped him off too.
- Stand-In Portrait: Loveless' mooks hiding in the paintings.
- Steam Punk: The contraptions created by Dr. Loveless.
- Super Wheelchair: A Steam Punk, walking, shotgun armed, wheel chair for Dr Loveless.
- Taking You with Me: The end has Arliss Loveless in a position where he could very well survive along with Jim West, but also has the option of pulling this on him, leaving him feeling genuinely conflicted about the issue."I'm facing a very difficult problem here. On the one hand, I have the overwhelming love I have for myself... and on the other, the raw, seething hatred that I have for you! I could kill you very easily, Mr. West, just by a-pullin' on this lever. But I would die along with you, hence my conflict."
- West makes the choice for him, pulling the lever and sending both down into a very deep chasm. Only West has the option of grabbing a chain.
- Tap on the Head: Jim West to General "Bloodbath" McGrath with a punch. Played more realistically than usual since McGrath was only down for a few seconds.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry:Dr. Loveless: I am a visionary! I am a genius! And now, I am angry!
- Theme Tune Cameo: Elmer Bernstein's score quotes Richard Markowitz's theme for the original show at one point (in the scene where West rides away from the train), but it's not mentioned in the end credits. Ironically, this is one of the few aspects of the film that is true to the TV series, as Markowitz was never credited with writing the theme there either (long story).note
- Theme Tune Rap: Sung by Will Smith. And Sisqo!
- They Fight Crime
- This Is as Far as I Go: The train's engineer, and U.S. Marshal Coleman
- This Is Gonna Suck: After Jim West activates one of Loveless' death traps.Gordon: [deadpan] And now we have to run.
- Thong of Shielding: Miss East
- Trailers Always Spoil: The nature of Loveless' ultimate weapon is kept a secret through most of the movie, but anyone who's seen the trailers knows it's a giant steam-powered Spider Tank.
- Traintop Battle: Between James West and Loveless' Native American henchman.
- Trap Door: On the command deck of Loveless' giant spider.
- Trashcan Bonfire: The former Confederate soldiers have some at their meeting place at Malheureux Point.
- They Fight Crime: He's a Trigger Happy black U.S. Army captain who was raised by Native Americans! He's a US Marshal who's a Master of Disguise and a Gadgeteer Genius! They Fight Crime!
- Trigger Happy: Jim West. Actually lampshaded by the President: "And you, West. Not every situation calls for your patented approach of shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more, and then when everybody's dead try to ask a question or two."
- Two-Person Pool Party: Jim and a buxom lady in a water tower
- Underside Ride: Jim West does this, using a cart designed to let him move between the train they were on, and a chase train. Unfortunately, the rope connecting him breaks.
- Universal Driver's License: Artemus Gordon has a Universal Pilot's License. Justified, since everything we see him driving was INVENTED by him. The only exception is the Spider Tank, which he did not invent and is seen having severe trouble with the first time he tries to steer it.
- U.S. Marshal: Artemus Gordon. Also Coleman, the train's engineer.
- Villain Opening Scene: It starts with General MacGrath and the death of a scientist.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Gordon and West become this.
- Volleying Insults: West and Loveless do this at every opportunity; Loveless with a racist tone and West ridiculing Loveless' lack of legs and newfound shortness.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: The bottom falls out of Salma Hayek's pajamas.
- Water Tower Down: How Jim West meets some former Confederate soldiers.
- We Can Rule Together: After Jim and Gordon attack Loveless' spider tank with a flying machine, they're captured. Loveless then compliments them on their ingenuity, and offers them to come work for him. West tells him to shove it.
- What a Drag: Gordon, holding a high-powered magnet, is pulled toward a railroad track and dragged through the desert sands on the way.
- World of Pun
Arliss: How nice of you to join us and add color to these monochromatic proceedings.
- Particularly the scenes where James West (black) and Arliss Loveless (has no legs) throw double entendre insults on each other's conditions.
James: Well when a man comes back from the dead I find that occasion to stand up and be counted.
Arliss: Miss East tells me you're looking for General McGrath. I haven't seen him in a coon's age.
James: Well I can see how it'd be hard for a man of your stature to keep track of... half the people he knows.
Arliss: Perhaps the lovely Miss East can keep you from becoming a slave to your disappointment.
James: You know beautiful women: support you one minute, cut the legs out from under you the next.
Loveless: Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle! How did we arrive in this dark situation?
- A Call Back occurs when they're stuck dangling over a canyon at the end.
West: I have no idea, Dr. Loveless, I'm just as stumped as you are.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Loveless kills off a large number of his men, including General McGrath, because he was at Appomattox when General Lee surrendered to the Union army.