“The movie is exhausting, utterly without feeling, and pointless.”
That is how The New Yorker‘s Terrence Rafferty described Will Smith’s 1999 “epic steampunk western action comedy film” (Wikipedia’s words) Wild Wild West. Audiences and other critics weren’t any more positive than Rafferty, as the movie was a critical and commercial failure, marking the first miss in Smith’s unparalleled early movie stardom run.
And yet, the film has two high-profile defenders: Me and Keanu Reeves. Mr. John Wick recently came out strong as a Wild Wild West diehard, declaring, “Wild Wild West is good.” I mean, it doesn’t get more passionate than that. Or does it? As surely the only person to ever see this masterpiece in the theater three times (it’s not easy for a 10-year-old to get to the movies that often!), perhaps no one is more qualified to provide a defense of this Will Smith film that Will Smith isn’t even proud of.
So, in honor of Wild Wild West‘s 20th anniversary this Sunday, here is why we should all be thankful that it exists.
1. THE “WILD WILD WEST” SONG WAS STRAIGHT FIRE.
That’s it, that’s the defense.
Verdict: Wild Wild West is a gift that keeps on giving.