W: S. S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price & Peter
S. Seaman [based on the television series]
DP: Michael Ballhaus
Ed: Jim Miller
Mus: Elmer Bernstein
Will Smith (Jim West), Kevin Kline (Artemus Gordon /
Ulysses S. Grant), Salma Hayek (Rita Escobar), Kenneth Branagh (Arliss Loveless), Ted Levine (Gen. 'Bloodbath' McGrath), M. Emmet Walsh (Coleman)
mess of a movie, mixing genres which don't blend well together.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld was trying to emulate his previous
hit, Men In Black, and relocating it to post-civil war America. The story is quite simple: Two government agents have to stop a mad scientist who's working on a machine with which he means
to take rule of the United States.
The dialogue is absolutely atrocious with not a single line
worthy of comedy. The chemistry between Kevin Kline & Will Smith is hampered by this dialogue while the supporting characters don't fare much better.
Kenneth Branagh hams it up as the mad scientist and delivers
probably the best performance of a bad bunch. Salma Hayek is merely in this to squeeze her body into corsets and look pretty.
The special effects range from average to terrible (for a big
budget blockbuster it's quite unforgivable) and the theme song, despite being popular at the time, is absolutely horrendous (seriously, listen to the lyrics).
This might have been good as a Saturday
morning cartoon, but as a summer blockbuster it falls way short of expectations.