Run time: 106 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 30th June 1999
Box Office Worldwide: $222.1M
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Todman, Simon, LeMasters Productions
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 17%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 108
IMDB: 4.8 / 10
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith as Capt. James West, Kevin Kline as U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon, Kenneth Branagh as Dr. Arliss Loveless, Salma Hayek as Rita Escobar, M. Emmet Walsh as Coleman, Ted Levine as General 'Bloodbath' McGrath, Frederique van der Wal as Amazonia, Musetta Vander as Munitia, Sofia Eng as Miss Lippenrieder, Garcelle Beauvais as Belle, Mike H. McGaughy as Big reb, Bai Ling as Miss East
After the masterful Men In Black, Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld have reteamed for another oddball adaptation, but somewhere along the wagon trail to the Old West, they lost the magic that made MIB such a smash.
'Tis a shame, because Smith is a good comic actor, and Sonnenfeld is a brilliant director. The TV show Wild Wild West was actually not bad either, so I can't blame the raw material. But West fails for a couple of glaring reasons: It isn't funny, and it isn't exciting. For a supposed action/comedy, that's 0 for 2.
Perhaps it's the meddling of four writers that made the script alternately offensive and ploddingly slow. Perhaps it's the reliance on gadgetry to make the film look bigger than it really is. Perhaps it was just the heat of shooting in the desert (or at least a really hot blue screen room) that sapped the actors of their mojo (so to speak).
Regardless, this is a film that follows The Big Book of Hollywood Movies to the letter, trudging from Jim West's (Smith) introduction to unlikely partner Artemis Gordon (Kline), introduction of the damsel in distress (Hayek), an evil plot hatched by the foul Arliss Loveless (Branagh), and the inevitable saving of the world against all odds. Been there, done that.
The little freshness West has is infused by Gordon's gadgetry, including an early motorcycle, bulletproof vest, and airplane. But kitschy gadgets, racist humor, and a set recycled from The Addams Family do not a good movie make.
Frankly, I'd have rather seen Men In Black 2.