May 29, 2018
Wild Wild West (1999) (part 9 of 11)
Cut to said base, where everyone has gathered in a large auditorium. On the stage is Loveless, and behind him sit his buxom beauties. In front of the gals sit the president, Coleman, Rita, and Gordon. Surrounding the stage in bleachers are several hundred Confederate soldiers, handcuffed old men (implied to be the kidnapped scientists), and the foreign ministers. An orchestra plays [!] for no earthly reason, and the thundering applause is silenced by—I shit you not—a man striking the highest note on a glockenspiel.
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With the crowd silenced, Loveless begins a speech that finally outlines his master plan. He talks about “writing the wrongs” that the American government has done over the years. History majors may appreciate how he mentions the Boston Tea Party, the selling of Manhattan Island by the Indians for beads, and the Alamo. Except, he makes goofy gestures after each of these, playing the whole thing for laughs.
Cut back to Jim, who’s still lying on the ground, appearing dead. There’s a long drawn-out zoom-in to his face, so we are not surprised in the least when he finally awakens. The first thing Jim does when he wakes up is tear open the inner lining of his shirt, revealing Gordon’s Impermeable bullet-proof vest (duh!). So, Mr. Smart Ass, still think Gordon’s inventions are half-baked now?
We return to Loveless’ lair, where his speech reaches its crescendo. He promises the crowd that the “wrongs will be righted” once he turns the U.S.A. into “the United… divided!” Everyone cheers, and the glockenspiel dude plays a stupid jingle no one can hear.
On the stage, a map drops down and reveals Loveless’ grand scheme, and the reason for the presence of the foreign ministers: he plans on giving all American territories back to their original countries of ownership. You know, Great Britain gets back the thirteen original colonies (minus Manhattan, which isn’t special enough), Spain gets back Florida and the “fountain of youth” (yeah, good luck with that one). Mexico gets back Texas and California, and then Loveless gets the rest of the country as his retirement ranch.
This is an absolutely brilliant idea, as I’m sure the countries getting back their original territories will just take the land and chill. There’s absolutely no way they’ll try to expand their borders once America becomes a volatile powder keg thanks to Loveless’ treaty. Perish the thought.
Cut back to Jim, who’s managed to walk all the way from Promontory Point back to the Wanderer. What a trooper! He checks the weapons cache, but finds Loveless decided not to be an idiot again, and had all the weapons removed. But wait! As Jim searches the rest of the train, he steps on something. Could it be the belt buckle that hides a tiny gun inside that we saw 50 scenes ago? Naw, it couldn’t be… Okay, it is.
He then eyes one of Gordon’s disguise outfits. I wish I could say the suspense over which costume he’s looking at is killing me, but I know exactly what’s coming next. And I’m sure you do, too.
Back in the auditorium, Loveless wheels out a document of surrender for the president to sign, and thereby divide the United States. President Grant, predictably, refuses to sign, so Loveless orders his gal Munitia to shoot Gordon as a means of encouragement.
Before he’s brought forth, Gordon tells Rita not to worry, because he’s wearing a bullet-proof Impermeable. Um, Gordon, Munitia is standing right behind you, you dork. You might want to speak a little louder.
So when Gordon is brought onto the stage to be shot, he does the stupidest thing imaginable and requests that he be shot in the heart, since it is his “heart that loves this country so much.” Loveless, keeping up a pretty good run of not being a moron, tells Munitia to shoot him in the head.
So, is this the end of Artemus Gordon? Sadly, no.
Just before Loveless gives the order to fire, there’s generic Arabian music playing in the auditorium (from where, I don’t know), and Jim makes his grand entrance… wearing a belly dancer outfit. Dear lord. Even with a huge veil covering his face, Will Smith is as convincing a woman as… well, Kevin Kline.
And Loveless—you know, the leader of this hidden base and the one who would know about everything that happens here—doesn’t question Dancer Jim’s presence, and is smitten by “her” (choke) dancing skills.
Jim uses this distraction to steal a key hanging on the back of Loveless’ wheelchair. You know, where he always hangs his keys. As Jim continues distracting Loveless, he “dances” over to Gordon and quietly slips him the key, which turns out (conveniently!) to be a handcuff key. Jim also hands Gordon the tiny gun. Shadowforing… I mean, foreshadowing!
Jim continues his seduction of Loveless, who at one point calls him “Ebonia”. Man, Loveless sure is quick on his toes, to come up with clever names like “Munitia” and “Ebonia” that fast. Okay, fine, he doesn’t have toes, but you know what I meant.
Jim fondles his own “breasts”, which causes tassels on the brassiere to start spinning like helicopter blades. Jim is just as surprised by this as Loveless. And then, the “payoff” comes when the breasts morph into flamethrowers.
Loveless orders several of his men on stage to “shoot him!” Naturally, the men are too stupid to realize Jim isn’t a woman, so Loveless has to clarify his order with “the girl!” But it’s too late, because Jim’s handwarmers quickly roast them alive.
More men enter the auditorium with guns, so Jim rolls a billiard ball towards them. Oh, but there’s a twist: This one is the 8-ball, and instead of releasing sleeping gas, the 8-ball explodes. A moment later, Gordon helpfully notes that the 8-ball is the one ball that’s an incendiary bomb.
Meanwhile, Loveless and his ladies retreat with the president, despite the fact that two good shots from Munitia could kill both Gordon and Jim and end this crap right here and now. Jim and Gordon race out of the auditorium, while Rita discovers her papa among the kidnapped scientists, and the two have a tender reunion.
And while all this is going on, I must stress that there are hundreds of Loveless’ henchmen still alive, and yet they’re doing absolutely nothing to stop Jim and Gordon. They’re just running around like the pansies they are. Honestly, where can you find a few good men these days?
Outside the building, Jim and Gordon watch as Loveless, now back aboard his giant mechanical spider, escapes to Spider Canyon with the president. With Loveless’ men still running scared all around them, Jim brings up Gordon’s idea about the flying machine. Yes, let’s just get this heavily foreshadowed plot point out of the way, shall we?
Cut to the Wanderer, where Gordon has already built a set of wings for his Nitro-Cycle, in what I can only estimate to be five minutes. Gordon then explains the mechanics of flight to Jim. Since this is happening before the Wright Brothers’ famous flight, the only frame of reference he had to go on was sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci. Which means we’re about to get—that’s right—the Hudson Hawk ending.
Just then, Conductor Coleman appears and gives our heroes a going-away present: explosives. It’s here that Coleman reveals he’s a U.S. Marshal sent by the president to “look after” them, not that it matters one stick at this point. Still, it’s amazing that Gordon, a U.S. Marshal himself, never knew about Coleman, and it’s even more amazing that the president decided to give his “best men” a babysitter.
Gordon and Jim hop on the modified Nitro-Cycle and begin riding. Naturally, the bicycle’s rockets don’t provide them with enough thrust to get off the ground, so Gordon decides to risk their lives by driving his untested flying contraption off a nearby cliff. Jim screams in terror as the vehicle plunges off the cliff, and out of the frame, and we’re forced to sit in silence for about six seconds as the movie tries to convince us they might have died. Alas, nobody is that fortunate, because the contraption zooms back into the frame, and the music swells with the lame movie theme once again.
Jim yells, “If you had to get one right, Gordon, I’m sure glad it was this one!” Jesus, Jim. I suppose the flamethrower boobs and the incendiary bomb 8-ball were both flukes? Whatever.
Then Jim asks what crazy name Gordon will give his invention, and he guesses either “Elevation Enhancer” or “Gravity Repeller Vehicle”. But no, Gordon goes for something simpler: “Air Gordon”. That’s it, it’s official: This film has broken my spirit.