Steampunk Wiki
Wild Wild West
The best of the West.
Based On: The Wild Wild West (TV series)
Released: 1999
Runtime: 107
Country: United States
Language: English

Wild Wild West is a 1999 movie with many Steampunk attributes.


In 1869, Thaddeus J. Morton is running away from a lethal flying disk in a Louisiana forest. Morton keeps running until it decapitates him. Soon after, a man with a small swiveling trumpet for an ear stands over his head and removes the disk out of the ground. Six months later, at a railroad water station in Morgan, West Virginia, U.S. Army Captain James West (Will Smith), is hiding in a water tower, spying on a group of ex-Confederate soldiers working under General "Bloodbath" McGrath (Ted Levine). West arrives at the saloon where General McGrath and his band of soldiers are enjoying a raucous party. McGrath is seduced by an unlikely prostitute who attempts to hypnotize the general to divulge his plans.

West breaks in, but is stopped by the prostitute, allowing McGrath to escape. West fights off a number of McGrath's men and finds himself with the prostitute, who unmasks his disguise to reveal himself as gadget-obsessed master of disguise U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline). The building is destroyed by a wagon full of nitroglycerin and the two escape. In Washington, D.C., West and Gordon meet at the White House with President Grant (also played by Kevin Kline), who informs them of the disappearance of America's key scientists. Grant charges the two with finding the scientists within one week, before he inaugurates the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah.

The two head to New Orleans on board The Wanderer, a luxury train fitted with an array of bizarre gadgets. Pursuing a lead, the two arrive in New Orleans at the mansion of Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh)—an ex-Confederate scientist using a steam-powered wheelchair—who is hosting a party for the elite of Southern society. West mistakes a female guest for Gordon in disguise, making a comic error that results in the guests leading West out for a lynching. Using this as a distraction, Gordon roams the mansion and comes across Rita Escobar (Salma Hayek), and rescues her from the house. West tries to talk his way out of being lynched but is saved by an elastic rope, one of Gordon's inventions, and escapes with Gordon and Rita on The Wanderer. Rita asks to accompany the two to rescue her father, Professor Guillermo Escobar.

Later, Loveless hosts a reception for foreign dignitaries to demonstrate his newest weapon: a steam-powered tank. The tank uses General McGrath's soldiers as target practice, infuriating McGrath. Loveless then shoots Mcgrath, mortally wounding him. Gordon, West, and Rita arrive at the scene of the massacre and find the dying McGrath, where West then proceeds to reveal one of Loveless's past crimes: Loveless had used the tank to massacre a settlement of displaced slaves, including West's family. Loveless boards his armored train and heads toward Utah with Gordon, West, and Rita in pursuit. Using his advanced locomotive, Loveless relocates his own train behind The Wanderer. West disables Loveless's train, but not before Loveless uses a locomotive-mounted cannon to stop The Wanderer. Rita, afraid of being recaptured by Loveless, accidentally releases sleeping gas, knocking out West, Gordon and herself.

West and Gordon wake up as Loveless pulls away in The Wanderer, informing them of his intentions to capture President Grant at the "golden spike" ceremony. They find themselves fitted with the same metal collars as Morton and enclosed only by a wire strung at ground level. West crosses the wire and triggers a nearby machine which releases two lethal flying disks attracted to their magnetic collars forcing West and Gordon to run. The two leap into a mud-filled pit from opposite directions, causing the discs to collide in midair. After removing the collars, the two stumble across Loveless's private railroad track, which leads them to Loveless's industrial complex. Here, they witness Loveless's ultimate weapon: a gigantic mechanical spider armed with a powerful explosive flamethrower. Loveless, driving the spider, captures Gordon and President Grant from the railroad inauguration ceremony at Promontory Point, whilst West is apparently killed by one of Loveless's bodyguards.

At his industrial complex, Loveless reveals his plan to destroy the United States with his mechanized forces unless President Grant agrees to divide the United States among Great Britain, France, Spain, Mexico, and himself. Loveless demands that President Grant sign a surrender treaty; but Grant refuses. Loveless threatens to execute Gordon but before he can, he is interrupted by a belly dancer, who turns out to be West in disguise.

It is revealed that West had escaped death when a concealed layer of chain mail in his jacket (another one of Gordon's inventions) stopped the bullet fired at him. West dances exotically to distract Loveless but West's brassiere is revealed to be a flamethrower (yet another of Gordon's inventions). Loveless's complex is set ablaze, allowing him to escape to his mechanical spider with the President.

Gordon and West, using a flying machine, catch up with the spider and bomb it with nitroglycerin before crashing onto it. West is dropped into the engine room to defend himself against the spider's crew, all of whom are fitted with bizarre prosthetics. West defeats the crew and Loveless himself descends into the engine room to defeat West.

Loveless, making use of four hydraulic mechanical legs, pins West to the floor and stomps on him until Gordon damages and incapacitates the walking apparatus. Pleading for his life, Loveless drags himself back to his wheelchair frame as the spider approaches a canyon. Loveless attempts to shoot West with the gun concealed in his wheelchair, but hits the control lines of the spider, bringing it to a sudden halt just before it plunges into the canyon. The sudden stop sends West and Loveless spinning towards the edge of the deck, where they become wedged by the wheelchair. West deliberately releases the wheelchair, sending both Loveless and himself plummeting into the canyon. As they fall, West is able to grab a chain that is connected to the deck and saves himself, while Loveless falls to his death.

After the second ceremony at Promontory, Grant promotes Gordon and West to the first two agents of his newly-formed U.S. Secret Service. Gordon and West meet Rita again, both of them planning to propose marriage to her, but she crushes both their hopes by announcing that Professor Escobar was, in fact, her husband and not her father. The film ends with Gordon and West seemingly riding through a typical Western landscape on horseback, but the camera pulls back to reveal that they are piloting Loveless' steam-spider into the sunset.