Strange Transmissions
Warning! Major spoiler alert for readers outside the USA or Canada.
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Xposé #37
WILD WILD WEST
US: June 30 1999 • UK: August 13 1999
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld • Rated: PG-13
Stars: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek
1-star rating

If you’re riding out to your local theater thinking that Wild Wild West is a true remake of the venerable ‘60’s TV western, rest easy – it isn’t. But while this picture doesn’t take much from its namesake, it takes plenty from Sonnenfeld’s previous blockbuster, Men in Black. Fans of that movie will be sorely disappointed with this truly lame attempt to capitalize on the elements that helped make MiB such a runaway success.

Jim West in the court of Dr Loveless, At least it *looks* good...Sonnenfeld plainly misunderstands his material, taking a concept that worked so well as The Avengers in the Old West and trying to turn it into a near-slapstick comedy. In going for the laughs, he ends up with a script as stupid as Men in Black was clever.

The humor is mostly pre-adolescent sex-driven, showcasing the kind of script deficiencies that even Smith and Kline can’t hide. Apparently relying on a total fantasy approach, it’s strange to see Smith’s race alternately ignored and then focused on as the script requires. Although racial history is conspicuously rewritten in WWW, male chauvinists will be thrilled to know that women are consistently treated as manipulative sex objects.

As a preventative measure, Sonnenfeld should have his TV taken away (remember his remake of Fantasy Island?) and if this behavior continues, maybe his DGA card, as well.

James E Brooks

EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT
22: Crossfire
Written by Lisa Klink • Directed by Ross Clyde
Syndicated • May 17 1999

5_star rating

The duplicitous Zo'or. What a great word duplicitous is. So much more impressive than 'cheating'The Taelons’ grip on Earth tightens as the Resistance is set up and betrayed during the presidential campaign between Doors and President Thompson.

A dysfunctional family relationship, political backstabbing, bio-engineered humans and, of course, the duplicitous Zo’or all have a part to play in the complex and well-written cliffhanger to Earth: Final Conflict’s second season. After two years of opposing the Taelons it appears as if the Resistance may finally get the upper hand. Jonathan Doors is gaining popularity with the American people and the Taelon Synod has begun to question Zo’or’s recent actions as leader.

Of course, in the span of two commercial breaks Zo’or manages to turn things back in his favor and even Da’an cannot fault his methods. Julia foolishly goes behind Liam’s back when she tries to stop an assassination plot against Doors, which not only ends up to be a clever ruse to trap the Resistance but also to discredit Doors.

One by one our heroes fall until humanity’s fate rests with Lili. A fast-moving plot, solid performances and some genuine surprises make Crossfire this season’s finest offering and a big improvement over some of its earlier stories. Hopefully, this turnabout will bode well for next season and beyond.

Steven Eramo

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