The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

If you'd like to send a letter to The Self-Made Critic telling him what a total idiot he is, send it to

If you want to send a letter to The Editor complaining about what a total idiot The Critic is, send it to

Send all hate mail, death threats and letters of incredulity to

If you're not sure if you think The Critic is a tasteless idiot, you probably will after you read this review.

OK, here we go.

I liked Wild Wild West.

I thought it was funny. Exciting. A delightful yarn for the whole family to enjoy.

I think I'm in the minority.

I'm not saying it should receive a truckload of Academy Awards or anything, but it's a far cry better than Godzilla. Actually, that's not a fair assessment, as home footage of a root canal would be better than Godzilla.

Here's the basic story of Wild Wild West. Will Smith and Kevin Kline are government agents in the old west. They try to save President Grant from Kenneth Branagh, who has no legs and likes to build huge, steam-powered tanks and tarantulas and stuff. Along the way, Salma Hayek shows a little skin.

What could possibly be bad about any of that?

This baby's got gadgets galore, and I couldn't get enough! One bad guy has a mini-phonograph for an ear! How totally cool is that! The diabolical Branagh has this little magnetic gizmo that attaches to people's necks and then fires huge circular saw blades at them, lopping their heads off. Excellent! There are pool balls that emit deadly gasses or explode! Kick ass!

I think we need more of these nifty gadgets in our everyday life. Like if you're mowing your lawn and a bad guy rides into town to kidnap the local school marm, you press a button and your seemingly innocent lawnmower starts spitting razor-sharp blades in all directions, impaling said bad guy to the front door of the saloon. That would be so cool!

Will Smith is, of course, a total stud. The fact that he's a black government agent in the mid 1800's is unimportant, although they don't just ignore it. Because let's face it, that would not have been a common occurrence back then. But then, an eighty-foot steam-powered Tarantula probably wasn't a common occurrence either.

See folks, this isn't a documentary about the old west. Anyone who walks out of this going "That wouldn't have ever happened!" is a real doofus and needs to be spanked with a cactus. This movie is 100% fiction. It's a fantasy. It's all from the happy happy land of make-believe.

The rest of the cast is quite fine. Kevin Kline is wonderful as the gadget-happy sidekick. Kenneth Branagh is marvelous as the scene-chewing, legless, gadget-happy villain. And Salma Hayek is^ Salma Hayek. With nice gadget-happy buttocks.

The star of this film are the effects. For one thing, last I looked, Kenneth Branagh hadn't agreed to be sliced in half for the film, so making him appear to be missing pretty much everything from the belly-button down is really neat. Also, I gotta think that most of the super-cool steam-powered machines weren't actually built, and they looked really keen too. Plus, I doubt they sent razor sharp saw blades flying around at Will Smith and Kevin Kline, what with the cost of insurance and stuff, so those were some neat effects too.

Basically, this is a movie about toys. Boys and their toys. If you like toys (Not the movie "Toys." Very few people actually liked that.) then you'll like this movie. But if you have a problem with campy, punny summer fare, you'll have a problem with this. So go see something more meaningful, like South Park or Big Daddy.

I'm going to give Wild Wild West 3 3/5 Babylons. As I said, it wasn't a perfect movie, but I liked it a lot. It was zany and weird, fanciful and odd. And it had lots of really cool toys.

Wild Wild West
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek and half of Kenneth Branagh.

Join the Self-Made Critic Mailing List Back to The Shuttlecocks Homepage