When talking about both the original Jackson
and Alien Ant Farm
versions of “Smooth Criminal”, a mention of the videos is necessary. The original “Smooth Criminal” video was a sort of futuristic/1930s gangster
type of thing, characterized by Gestapo
police, Jackson’s suit and fedora
combo that became part of his image for a while (does anyone remember Moonwalker? or the video game by the same name?), and that weird leaning. The lean was what sold the video: while dancing Jackson and his two backup guys would stop and seemingly defy the laws of physics
by leaning impossibly
far forward to the left before beginning to dance again. Other than that, the video was kinda bland, so if you haven't seen it you're not missing much.
I just recently happened to catch the video for the Alien Ant Farm cover on a local music channel. This video is really giggle inducing, and contains many nods to Michael throughout. It starts with a kid of maybe seven dancing in Michael Jackson’s style while wearing a surgical mask. There is also a shot of screaming Asian girls holding a handmade sign reading “WE LOVE AAF!” While playing the band does the impossible lean themselves. There are also nods to “Billie Jean” with freeze-frame and split-screen shots, as well as a sidewalk and other objects that light up when members of the band touch them (the lead singer plays with this by touching a mailbox deliberately with his fingertip). Other references include a shot of the lead singer sitting in a chair that is shaped like a silver sequined glove with a chimp sitting on his lap, a brief shot of a woman in a bikini with a werewolf mask on, old guys doing a few moves from the “Thriller” video, a man sporting an Elizabeth Taylor tattoo on his back turning to show us his yellow "monster eyes", and one moment when the music stops completely so that the lead singer can climb onto the roof of a car (an orange Gremlin), grab his crotch, and scream Jackson-style as the windows explode out.