A fine example of a movie you either love or hate, Wild Wild West (based on the series from years previously, albeit in parody style) will strike your fancy or be written off as complete tripe.
The year is 1869 and the Civil War has just ended. That doesn’t mean that all of the Confederates have given up, though. Led by Dr Loveless, who is literally half the man he once was because of the war, and his futuristic steampunk technology, they plan to take out President Ulysses Grant and claim rulership over the reunited states of America.
Queue the arrival of our heroes: US Army Captain James West (Will Smith), a free black man with more than one bone to pick with Loveless. West is forced to cooperate with US Marshal Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline), who is more than a little gadget-obsessed. And here you get a comedy combo of Captain West on one side, who is rather boldly throwing himself into harm’s way, relying on his social and fighting skills to get the job done, with Mr Gordon on the other side, who is the archetypical geek with a mad scientist streak.
It results in both good guys and bad guys having a tinkerer on their side and a whole lot of brilliant steampunk machinery. From pimped trains to a steam-powered wheelchair and penny farthing to an enormous mechanical spider and much, much more.
This movie isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It is a lighthearted action comedy set in the Wild West and filled with steampunk gadgetry. It’s fun to watch and might even get you some inspiration for your own steampunk kit or persona!
This story first appeared in Gatehouse Gazette 16 (January 2011), p. 17, with the headline “Wild Wild West”.