We going straight to Keanu Reeves’ defense of Wild Wild West.
Back in February, Will Smith posted a video explaining why he passed on starring as Neo in The Matrix and ultimately chose to instead do the notorious bomb Wild Wild West, which has a surprisingly high 17 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This happened to come up in a recent interview between UPROXX‘s Mike Ryan and Reeves, who went on to star as Neo in the blockbuster franchise. Here’s Mr. John Wick getting passionate about Jim West, desperado, rough rider:
Basically, [Smith] felt he had done too many sci-fi movies, but then joked he did Wild Wild West instead.
Hey, no, Wild Wild West is good.
I liked Wild Wild West.
I’ll go as far to say I don’t think it’s as bad as people think it is.
No, I thought it was good.
Will Smith will be thrilled to hear that.
It’s good. The production design, Ted Levine was the most amazing…
Kevin Kline. It was good. I enjoyed it.
So this begs the question: Is Keanu Reeves the world’s biggest Wild Wild West fan?
Let’s check in on some other candidates. Back upon release, EW’s Owen Gleiberman gave the film a D+, writing, “Wild Wild West is a movie that figures out how to go thud more often, and in more decadently extravagant ways, than just aboutany would-be blockbuster since Hudson Hawk. In this noisy, joyless, bizarrely static fiasco, every element on screen — the cliche Old West settings, the computerized effects, Will Smith’s so-slick-they’re-Teflon smarty-pants quips — seems to let the air out of the one before it.” In the adjusted words of Mad Men‘s Pete Campbell, “Not great, Owen!”
In his review for the New Yorker, Terrence Rafferty was slightly more positive, opining that “Smith looks great in his Western outfit,” while literally in the same sentence saying “the movie is exhausting, utterly without feeling, and pointless.” Okay, so Keanu is still ahead of him. Gilbert Ralston, who wrote the pilot for the original Wild Wild West series, sued Warner Bros. over the film so he’s probably not our guy either. (He died in 1999, before the film was released.) Even Smith has declared his lack of love for Wild Wild West, declaring in the Matrix video, “I’m not proud of it.”
Well, I guess that’s everyone, so Reeves is officially the No. 1 Wild Wild West fan. Oh wow, wait, I just remembered that as an 11-year-old I saw this movie three times in the theater, including once by myself. And do you realize how hard it is for a little kid to get to the movies? Also, I own Wild Wild West on VHS and own a physical copy of the fire soundtrack. This really blows this whole investigation wide open.
I’m waiting to hear back from Reeves on how many times he saw Wild Wild West in the theaters, but unless the number was four, here are the official Wild Wild West fan rankings:
- Terrence Rafferty
Speaking of all-time classics, Reeves’ John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum opens May 17.