May 29, 2018
Wild Wild West (1999) (part 8 of 11)
With Loveless gone, Jim demands Gordon remove the collar. Gordon can’t find his tools, but he does find a note from Loveless in his pocket, explaining that they’ll remain alive as long as they stay within the shin-high fence. Jim, being the dumbass that he is, immediately steps over the wire and prompts Gordon to follow. Unfortunately for him, this makes the penis-mobile long and hard (really, it does), and it ejaculates… er, fires two of those spider-logo buzz saws we saw at the start of the film. This forces Jim and Gordon to run into the cornfield.
Okay, now this has to be the film’s most retarded scene, and that says a lot. It gets so much basic high school physics wrong that it should be shown alongside The Core in schools just as learning aids, as an example of how not to film an action scene.
Basically, Gordon and Jim run through the cornfield to dodge the blades, which are drawn to the giant magnetic collars on their necks. However, the saws aren’t so much attracted to the collars as they are flying through the air like goddamn UFOs. And the magnets must have unique frequencies, because it’s a one-to-one deal here. If the saws were truly magnetic, you’d think each saw would be attracted to the closest collar. Nope. Each saw only follows one collar. This is enough to make Carl Sagan weep for humanity again.
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After a bit of frolicking in the corn, Jim barks at Gordon to head for the gully, as in, the huge ditch we see in the middle of the cornfield. You know, the gully Jim already somehow knows exists? Because, after all, all cornfields have gullies. They wind up on opposite ends of the gully, with buzz saws coming at them from behind.
So they leap into each other’s arms and fall into the gulley, and the saw blades collide and… they explode? Seriously. Two saw blades, made completely out of metal, just collided with each other and went up in a huge fiery explosion. Did they fill those things up with nitro by any chance?
Amazingly, the powerful magnetic collars that can make saws fly around like RC helicopters don’t repel each other, and our two heroes plunge into watery mud at the bottom of the gully, still in each other’s arms.
Cut back to the Wanderer, where Loveless is interrogating Rita. He asks why she was with Jim and Gordon, and Rita answers that she thought tagging along with our heroes might lead her back to Loveless and her “friends”. The same “friends” who were going to leave her locked up in a cage in Loveless’ mansion for god knows how long? Yes, those friends.
Trying to regain his trust, Rita says she missed him. Loveless replies, “Well, isn’t that a coincidence? Because I kinda missed me, too.” Jesus, these one-liners are starting to get desperate.
Cut back to Jim and Gordon, who are hiking through a mountain pass. So, I guess there was no farmhouse near that cornfield in the middle of nowhere. Jim pesters Gordon about getting the magnetic collars off, calling him the “master of the mechanical stuff.” Gordon snaps and goes into an angry tirade, and Jim tries to calm him down.
Gordon: Oh, I can’t be calm, no no no no no no no no no! I’m the master of the mechanical stuff, and I have to help you! You, the master of the stupid stuff!
To prove his point, he grabs a rock and bashes Jim’s collar. As it turns out, hitting a magnet with a rock will cause it to reverse polarity—but of course—and the collars suddenly become attracted to each other. Jim and Gordon struggle to pull their collars apart. Oh, joy! More fun!
They manage to get the collars disconnected, but then Jim’s knife-boot gets stuck on Gordon’s collar. Jim slips his foot out of his boot, but in some way or another, Jim’s collar gets attached to… ohmigod. He’s now stuck to Gordon’s belt buckle, placing Jim’s head right near Gordon’s crotch. Can’t you just feel the hilarity emanating from this scene?
So Jim undoes Gordon’s belt to free himself, and then the two of them immediately run in opposite directions to avoid getting stuck together. But the magnets are so powerful that Jim and Gordon are pulled back together and roll down into a small pond. After plunging into the water, Gordon sees his auxiliary toolkit floating nearby. Somehow, it ended up here after falling out of his pocket… at some point in time. Now you know there’s a sexual innuendo to be made here.
Jim: Your pocket? Why wasn’t it on some spring-loaded contraption that shoots out your ass?
Gordon: That’s the first place Loveless would’ve looked.
Gordon: That’s the first place Loveless would’ve looked.
So let’s see if I’ve got this straight: Loveless will usually bypass searching his enemy’s pocket, and instead search his enemy’s ass? Good to know! I guess that penis-mobile isn’t just for show.
Cut to evening. It’s quiet, a campfire is roaring. Gordon has already used his handy-dandy tools to remove the collars. Jim has cooked a lizard over the open flame for supper. The Script-O-Matic 5000 says it’s time for some buddy-bonding, in order to defuse all that antagonism from earlier in the film.
Gordon, being the smart and cultured person he is, finds the idea of eating a roasted lizard completely disgusting, and would rather starve. Gordon then notices a large tarantula on Jim’s hand, and Jim, being the rugged and tough individual he is, shrugs and lets the spider go. After some unimportant dialogue about Jim being raised by Indians, he returns our attention to the spider, and we watch a desert wasp attack it so it can “kill the spider and lay its eggs inside.” Yep, as if the spider imagery attached to Loveless wasn’t mind-numbingly obvious already, we get this transparent foreshadowing.
The conversation turns to Jim’s parents, who were at… you guessed it, New Liberty. Okay, now the script is taking cues from George Lucas by connecting anything to everything. Did Jim’s parents have to be at New Liberty? Couldn’t he just be a cowboy avenging the deaths of all the people who died there, instead of having it be just an unexpected side-benefit of avenging his parents? It was clichéd enough that Jim’s revenge was motivated by race, but to introduce a “this time, it’s personal” aspect is really pushing it. I’m now awaiting the revelation that Loveless is Jim’s half-brother, and Lippenreider was his nanny during his time as a slave.
With this male bonding out of the way, it’s daytime and our two heroes walk through an obvious blue screen desert. There’s a total air of unreality in these scenes, which constantly reminds me of another film that came out in the summer of 1999 that you might have seen.
Gordon is carrying one of the magnetic collars, and he explains that he’s keeping it because he admires its design. Even though he already has one back on the Wanderer, and even though this supposed “magnet” doesn’t attract anything metal on their clothing. But then comes the real reason he has it, as far as the script is concerned, when the magnet suddenly drags Gordon along the ground towards some hidden railroad tracks.
Specifically, these are Loveless’ private tracks. Which they couldn’t have found simply by following the tracks Loveless used to escape from the cornfield. God, I hate this movie so much.
The private tracks lead the president’s “best men” to the Wanderer, stopped along the tracks with no one inside. Knowing they’re close to Loveless, they head to what they believe is the edge of Spider’s Canyon. Here, they come upon Loveless’ base of operations.
And now for the movie’s money shot. That’s right, folks: If you’ve been paying attention, you shouldn’t be surprised by Loveless’ secret weapon, now emerging from Spider’s Canyon. It is, naturally, a giant mechanical spider.
A giant mechanical foot lands near the exact spot where Jim and Gordon are standing. There’s a shot of Loveless and his ladies at the controls inside the head of the spider, and it seems as though Loveless, or any other person standing near him, should’ve seen Jim and Gordon. But our heroes, with their white shirts against the red desert, are like ninjas and remain unseen.
As the giant spider climbs over them, Jim comments on “finally seeing an invention that actually works!” What? Where the hell did that comment come from? At no point in this film did Jim ever remark on Gordon’s inability to invent something that works.
The only invention that malfunctioned in Jim’s presence was the train winch, when the cord broke. But yes, please, use that as an example of Gordon’s tendency to make inventions that don’t work, along with the severed head projector, the elastic rope, the billiard ball gas bomb, the Nitro-Cycle… oh, wait, never fucking mind! Those all worked!
The giant mechanical spider uses photon torpedoes (okay, they’re not supposed to be photon torpedoes, but that’s basically how they work) to obliterate a rock formation. And then it stomps off, apparently on a mission to find the president.
So Jim and Gordon enter the Wanderer and pick out weapons hidden behind fake walls. It’s here that Gordon proposes a plan that I’m sure the audience never saw coming: He wants to mimic the wasp that killed that desert tarantula, and build a flying machine. Jim states they have no time for Gordon’s “half-baked inventions” (ugh, they’re rubbing this crap in).
Cut to… Jim and Gordon on horses? What the hell, where did they get horses? Granted, in the TV series, a stable was part of the Wanderer’s cars, but they never showed it in this movie. And it’s fitting that this glaring error is made here, because the music playing is the original theme song from the series. It lasts exactly 20 seconds, and is never heard again. Way to put the only meaningful piece of music under a completely worthless scene, dudes.
Jim, along with Gordon’s stunt rider in a very fake wig, ride off to save the president. Cut to President Grant, standing at a place history buffs will recognize as Promontory Point, where the Union Pacific and Central Railroads were connected, forming the first transcontinental railroad. History buffs will also recall that the real President Ulysses S. Grant didn’t attend the ceremony. In any case, Grant is surrounded by soldiers, dignitaries, and onlookers, and is ready to drive a golden railroad spike into the ground to symbolically merge the two tracks.
He places the spike in the hole and raises his hammer. Unfortunately, the stake rattles in its hole and then jumps out. Steven Spielberg called, and he wants his special effect back.
After three unsuccessful attempts at this, Grant gets the brilliant idea of looking behind him, where he sees the giant mechanical spider heading straight for him. Amazingly, no one else even sees the spider before this—even the people facing in the direction of the 80 foot giant mechanical spider stomping towards them! Are all crowd characters in this movie blind, as well as deaf?
Everyone starts to run. Everyone except Grant, who remains exactly where he stands. Yes, he just stands there with his mouth open while everyone else—including the soldiers stationed to protect him—bolts like Courage the Cowardly Dog.
The giant spider thunders up to Grant and leans its head down, where Loveless and his buxom beauties sit at the controls. Loveless and Grant start having a nice chat, during which Loveless asks Grant to surrender the United States. Grant makes a quip about not having a flyswatter. Loveless, pissed at someone making a joke without any sexual innuendo, throws a switch and the spider shoots fireballs at a nearby train on the tracks.
Before things can proceed from there, guess who pops out from behind the exploded train? Why, it’s Gordon, disguised once more as President Grant! Gordon does his best to convince Loveless that the real president is merely an actor, and during this we see Jim secretly climbing up one of the giant spider legs.
Gordon tries to get the real president to safety, and calls for someone to take him away. Unfortunately, everyone else is cowering in fear. The Army: There’s strong, and then there’s pussy strong.
But Loveless, being the sole character in this movie not interested in wasting time, simply captures both Gordon and the president in a net. So wait, the giant spider was built simply to… kidnap the president? That’s all? Seriously, they could’ve built a couple of those 360-degree tank killing machines and I’m sure it would’ve worked just as well. Hell, I think one sturdy bicycle could have done the job just fine.
As the net is being reeled in, Jim reaches the spider’s cockpit (for lack of a better word), but one of Loveless’ ladies stops him and points a pistol at him. Jim makes a lame-ass joke about having a telegraph for Loveless, and the girl shoots him in the chest. Jim falls to the ground, apparently lifeless, but fear not, for we already know that one of Gordon’s “useless” inventions will save him, don’t we?
Convinced that heroes die that easily, Loveless turns his spider around and heads back to his base.