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|“||Why y'all look like you've seen a ghost? It's me, dear friends, alive and kickin'! Well, alive, anyway. We may have lost the war, but heaven knows we haven't lost our sense of humor! No, not even when we've lost a lung, a spleen, a bladder, two legs, thirty-five feet of small intestine, and our ability to reproduce, all in the name of the South! Do we EVER LOSE OUR SENSE OF HUMOR!?||„|
|~ Dr. Arliss Loveless to all his party guests and fellow ex-Confederate ministers.|
|“||I am not an animal. I am a visionary! I am a genius, and now, I AM ANGRY!! And after I kill you, I swear I'm GONNA BOIL YOU DOWN FOR AXLE GREASE!!!||„|
|~ Dr. Arliss Loveless to Jim West.|
Dr. Arliss Loveless is the main antagonist of the critically panned 1999 film Wild Wild West, based on the 1960s old west TV series The Wild Wild West. He is an evil genius who was once part of the Confederate army during the American Civil War and the founder and leader of the Loveless Alliance, an organization of foreign Caucasian ministers and slave owners who plan to overthrow the United States government and divide the nation amongst themselves.
He was portrayed by Kenneth Branagh, who also played Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Viktor Cherevin in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, A.O. Neville in Rabbit-Proof Fence, Andrei Sator in Tenet, and Iago in the 1995 film adaptation of Othello.
Loveless used to serve as a member of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. During the last days of the war in 1865, a terrible accident made him literally lose part of his body from the waist down, forcing him to spend the rest of his life in a steam powered wheelchair, making him even more determined to conquer the United States. He even felt so upset to hear that General Robert Lee and his right hand man General Bloodbath McGrath surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, which led to the dissolution of the Confederacy.
In 1869, U.S. Army Captain James West hides in a railroad water tower while spying on a group of ex-Confederate soldiers working under General McGrath. West follows them to a saloon where McGrath is enjoying a loud party and is being seduced by a large prostitute who attempts to hypnotize the general into divulging his plans.
West breaks in, but is stopped by the prostitute, allowing McGrath to escape. West fights off McGrath's men and finds himself with the prostitute, who reveals himself as U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon. In Washington, D.C., West and Gordon meet at the White House with Ulysses S. Grant, who serves as the current President and tells them about the disappearance of America's key scientists. Grant charges the two with finding the scientists before he inaugurates the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah.
The two head to New Orleans, pursuing a lead about Dr. Loveless, who is hosting a party at the Loveless Mansion in New Orleans for the elite of Southern society. Following the death of Mai Lee East, West mistakes a female guest for a disguised Gordon and makes an error that results in the guests wanting to lynch West. Meanwhile, Gordon roams the mansion and comes across a caged Rita Escobar, rescuing her. After trying to talk his way out of being lynched, West is saved by one of Gordon's inventions, an elastic rope. He escapes with Gordon and Rita to The Wanderer where Rita asks to go with them to rescue her husband Professor Guillermo Escobar (who is one of the kidnapped scientists).
Later that night, aboard his armored steamboat, Doctor Loveless hosts a reception to demonstrate his newest weapon: a steam-powered tank, which Mr. Hudson uses General McGrath's soldiers as target practice under Loveless' orders. A furious McGrath attempts to shoot Loveless for this, but Loveless shoots McGrath and leaves him behind. Gordon, West and Rita arrive at the scene and find all the dead soldiers including the dying McGrath, who explained that Loveless used the same manned tank to previously massacre an Illinois town called New Liberty, a settlement of freed African-American slaves which includes Jim West's birth parents. Loveless boards his armored train and heads to Utah with Gordon, West, and Rita in pursuit in Gordon's Wanderer train. Using steam powered hydraulics, Loveless maneuvers his train behind the Wanderer. West manages to disable Loveless's train after killing Mr. Hudson, but not before Loveless has one of his mistresses Munitia to use 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 train with his mistresses, announcing that he intends to capture President Grant at the "golden spike" ceremony. They find themselves prisoners at a "Loveless Experimental Camp for Political Dissidents" and fitted with the same metal collars equipped with magnets. West crosses a ground level wire that triggers a nearby machine to release the lethal flying disks, forcing West and Gordon to run as the disks are magnetically attracted to the collars. The two leap into a mud pit from opposite directions, causing the discs to collide and explode. After removing the collars, the two stumble across Loveless' private railroad track, which leads them to his industrial complex within his "city" in Spider Canyon. Here, they witness Loveless' second and most powerful weapon: the "Spider Tank", a gigantic mechanical tarantula spider armed with powerful weapons. Loveless uses the 80-ft spider-like machinery to capture Gordon and Grant at the inauguration ceremony at Promontory Point, while West is apparently killed by Munitia.
At his industrial complex in Spider Canyon, Loveless reveals his true plan to destroy the United States with his mechanized forces unless President Grant agrees to divide the states among Great Britain, France, Spain, Mexico, and himself as "Loveless Land". Loveless demands that President Grant sign the surrender papers, but the latter refuses. Loveless orders Munitia to execute Gordon, but he is interrupted by a belly dancer, who turns out to be West in disguise as he escaped death when a concealed layer of chain mail in his jacket (another one of Gordon's inventions) stopped the bullet. West uses an exotic dance to distract Loveless while managing to free Gordon, Rita and the kidnapped scientists, but Loveless escapes with his mistresses while taking the President, intending to use his giant spider to decimate the nearby town in order to goad Grant in singing the surrender.
Gordon and West create a flying machine dubbed "Air Gordon" (inspired by an incident in the desert when they saw a wasp kill a tarantula) to catch up with the spider and bomb it with nitroglycerin before crashing onto it, killing Munitia in the process. While Grant and Gordon manage to finish off Amazonia and Miss Lippenrieder, West is dropped into the engine room where he managed to fight off and defeat the spider's crew, all of whom have bizarre prosthesis. Fed up with the loss of his men and mistresses, Loveless descends into the engine room to personally confront West himself.
Equipped with hydraulic mechanical legs, Loveless angrily pins West to the floor and stomps on him until Gordon uses a peashooter to incapacitate the walking apparatus, rendering Loveless' mechanical legs useless. Dragging himself back to his wheelchair as the spider approaches a giant cliff, Loveless loses his temper as he attempts to shoot West with a concealed gun, but he hits the spider's control lines by accident, locking it up just before it could plunge into the cliff. This sends West and Loveless almost over the edge, with the wheelchair getting caught in the railing.
Hanging on for dear life, Loveless ponders on whether he should pull the chair's lever or not, knowing that doing so will only send himself and West falling to their deaths; even taunting West that he doesn't have the guts of making such a hard decision. However, this proved to be Loveless' downfall as it provoked an angry West to pull the lever himself before grabbing a chain outside the engine room to save himself, sending Loveless to fall screaming down the cliff to his death.
With Loveless and his forces eradicated and the Loveless Alliance defunct, the country celebrates as Grant finishes the 'golden spike' ceremony before promoting West and Gordon as the first two agents of newly-built Secret Service for a job well done. The film ends with West and Gordon piloting Loveless' mechanical spider to Washington as they intend to use it as defense for the country rather than oppression.
- While this incarnation is pure evil. the original one by Michael Dunn is not as he serves as comic relief.
- Kelsey Grammar, the late Dennis Hopper, James Woods, Kevin Spacey, Willem Dafoe, Alec Baldwin, Stephen Fry and Patrick Stewart were all considered for the role of Dr. Arliss Loveless before Kenneth Branagh was cast.
|“||Mr West, although you are as black as the night on the outside.... inside... you... are... yella! You just don't have it in ya, do ya, boy??!||„|
|~ Dr. Arliss Loveless' last words.|