Pros: One or two sequences aren't horrible.
Cons: Story not handled well. Bad acting. Too long.
When I tend to like a certain type of movie, I will sometimes watch some really bad movies that fit into that type for some reason. I just can't seem to stop myself sometimes, especially where movies about comic book or superhero characters are concerned. That's how I ended up watching Barb Wire.
In the year 2017, the United States is embroiled in a second Civil War. Barb Wire fought during the beginning of the war, but she now owns The Hammerhead, a bar in Steel City, the last free city in the country. She takes jobs as a mercenary and bounty hunter to get money to keep the bar running. Barb is known for being neutral as far as the war goes and she has contacts on both sides. The Congressional Directorate, the new government for most of the country, comes to Steel City looking for a pair of special contact lenses. Colonel Pryzer is in command and he is willing to do anything to get what he wants.
Dr. Corrina Devonshire - Cora - is working for the government when she discovers that her research is being used for a horrible purpose. She goes on the run with the information she has, hoping to get out of the country and into Canada where she will be able to go public with her story. She ends up in Steel City with Axel Hood, someone that seems to have been involved with Barb previously. Things ended badly, so she is less than pleased when he turns up wanting her help. Cora needs the contact lenses so that she can get past the retinal scanner at the airport. Barb has to decide if she is going to help Axel and Cora or if she is going to sell the lenses on the black market.
Barb Wire is based on the Dark Horse comic book of the same name. The comic, which only had nine regular issues and a short mini series, was created by Chris Warner and Team CGW. I've never seen the comic book and have no idea what has been pulled from it for the movie. I think the basic idea of Barb running her bar and doing work as a bounty hunter in Steel City are the same in both. It is very clear that the movie was intended to launch a movie career for Pamela Anderson.
There really isn't a lot to the plot of Barb Wire, which isn't that surprising. It takes like two seconds to be able to tell that the movie was made to showcase Anderson and her surgically enhanced breasts. The story could have been interesting, but it just wasn't developed enough. The movie begins with information being shared on screen about the state of the country in 2017, but there isn't enough background shared into what is going on. Once Barb is introduced, she goes on to say some of the same things in a voice over that were shared just minutes earlier. So things are already redundant within the first few minutes. The movie ends up being a messy mix of scenes thrown together that seem to mainly serve as an excuse for Barb to parade around in skimpy, skintight leather outfits, or sometimes, even less.
Some action turns up in a few different scenes of Barb Wire, mostly when Barb is doing some sort of bounty hunter job to get money to keep The Hammerhead running. She doesn't have a problem getting violent and using guns to get a job done. A few of the action scenes are done all right, though none of it is that impressive. The violence isn't too bad most of the time, though it does get more graphic. Pryzer enjoys torturing people, and scenes involving that are more disturbing. Barb somehow manages to do that while wearing high heels and very tight outfits. It really isn't believable that she can do what she does in those outfits. A lot of comic book characters, especially the female characters, wear revealing or skimpy outfits. Barb's outfits are just a bit more extreme than others. I don't know if the character dressed the same in the comic book, or if all the skimpy outfits were designed with Anderson in mind. The movie is rated R, and definitely not one for children to see.
Barb Wire begins showing Barb wearing a very tight leather outfit. She then starts to dance and strip while being sprayed down with water. Her bare breasts are shown during that part. They clearly look fake in my opinion. I've read that some footage was cut from this part when the movie was released, but added back in for the video and DVD release. With how the movie begins, I expected Barb to turn up naked frequently throughout the movie. That really doesn't happen, though she is basically naked a few times, with a few places covered strategically. Anyone hoping for Pamela Anderson to be naked a lot will probably be disappointed. Barb does wear a lot of tight leather. At one point, she goes off wearing a corset, barely there underwear, and a long black leather coat. She ends up getting into a position that shows off how much of her bikini area has been waxed. I really didn't need to get that sort of view. Even when Barb is dressed, it looks like her breasts are going to spill out at any minute.
Barb is a business owner who does work as a bounty hunter and mercenary to get money to keep the bar running. The character is rather flat even though she is the main focus of the movie. More attention was given to her body parts. I think Barb is supposed to be a tough action heroine type of character, but she doesn't come across that way. Pamela Anderson just can't pull that off. She also can't pull off being serious or funny either. She displays no acting talent in this, and the character is really a mess. She was still married to Tommy Lee when she made this movie, and used the name Pamela Anderson Lee.
Charlie is Barb's brother. He is blind thanks to an injury he got fighting in the war. He doesn't do much other than sit around The Hammerhead and drink. It is clear that Barb is very protective of him. Jack Noseworthy isn't anything special in the part. Alexander Willis is the Chief of Police who starts off sucking up the Colonel and then seems to have second thoughts as more happens. Xander Berkeley is fine in the part. Colonel Pryzer is a high ranking member of the Congressional Directorate shown. He is determined to find Cora and he is willing to go to just about any lengths to accomplish his goals. He is not a nice guy. He is a bit over the top, though he is a decent villain. Steve Railsback is fine in the part.
Cora is a doctor who was working for the government when she discovered what her work was really being used for. She wants to expose the truth and is on the run to Canada to do that. She has changed her appearance, but she needs the contacts to pass the retinal scanners. She tries to act tough, though it doesn't work that well at times. Victoria Rowell is fine in the part. Axel is traveling with Cora and he is determined to get her across the border. They are actually married. He has some kind of history with Barb that complicates things when he turns up looking for help. He is basically just a tough guy and doesn't do a lot. Temuera Morrison isn't anything special in the part. Some other characters, like customers in the bar and members of the resistance, turn up briefly without any of them really standing out.
Pamela Anderson - Barb Wire
Xander Berkeley - Chief Alexander Willis
Temuera Morrison - Axel
Jack Noseworthy - Charlie
Steve Railsback - Colonel Pryzer
Victoria Rowell - Cora
David Hogan - Director
I watched Barb Wire when it turned up on one of the HBO channels I get. I've read that there has been a DVD release, but I have no idea what sort of extras are included other than the footage of Barb dancing topless that was cut from the original release.
Barb Wire is a big mess of a movie, though to be fair, I have seen worse movies. I think the only reason this one got made was so Pamela Anderson could show off her breasts while trying to get a movie career. There is really no reason to watch this one unless you are a glutton for punishment like I am.
This review is part of elvisdo's 2010 Funny Pages Write Off. It is also part of his 2010 Canadiana Write Off. Characters are trying to get to Canada and Barb insists on being paid in Canadiana money at one point. Pamela Anderson is from Ladysmith British Columbia.
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