Comic heroine / Action
Barb Wire
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Dir: David Hogan
Star: Pamela Anderson, Xander Berkley, Steve Railsbeck, Udo Kier, Temuera Morrison
Cert / Year: 18 - R /1996
Format: DVD R1
'

It is 21st century America. The country is in the midst of a second civil war, in a state of emergency and under martial law. The former American Congress has adopted an fascist stance and rules accordingly. As the war rages on, there is only one safe haven a 'free city' called Steel Harbor, the last free city and headquarters for the resistance. The most famous resident of Steel Harbor is a club owner, bounty hunter, former resistance fighter and top totty Barb Wire (Pamela Anderson). Barb prides herself on remaining neutral and not taking sides in any of her 'business dealings' but when former lover Axel Hood (Temuera Morrison) walks into her bar asking for a favour, to help the resistance smuggle a resistance fighter out of the country Barb is forced to pick a side, especially when vicious military commander Colonel Pryzer (Steve Railsbeck) gives her little choice ......

The story is little more than Casablanca with T & A and very little else, even the bad guys uniforms look very Nazi. There is no real substance and the whole affair feels like a thin excuse to get Anderson's ample set of bosom on screen. The film in places seems very seedy or sleazy and the majority of the dialogue is corny, suggestive and loaded with double entendre many quips being at Anderson's expense. Personally, I have nothing against seeing Pammy's pneumatic assets, but there are limits and they are still just a pair of silicone knockers and really not that impressive. Anderson herself has successfully marketed herself in that 'package', but isn't particularly attractive and can't act for toffee, this is another glowing example of that. Fair play to her as she obviously did many of her own stunts but this really is little more than 'novelty action'. Even the girl empowered action aspect of the original material is overshadowed as the film panders to the hormonally enraged audience it is bound to attract because at that time, thanks to Playboy and Baywatch Pamela Anderson was the hottest female property on the planet. Of all the 'Baywatch Babes' she was higher profile and has fared a little better than some of them, especially after the awful cinematic outings of Nicole Eggert (Alien Love, The Demolitionist) or Erika Elniak (Chasers, The Beverly Hillbillies).

Anderson squeezes into some slinky outfits, (when she wears clothing that is) which are off the rack in most sex shops, and the remaining costumery is just as unimpressive. The bad guys have merely pinched Nazi uniforms, and the Police look like they would be more at home on V than anywhere else. Overall there is little real thought gone into the costuming here and more like an advert for some kinky sex gear retailer. The rebels look like they kitted themselves out on a scrap heap or rubbish dump, wearing all manner of junk, and there are some women in this film that wear even less than the films heroine (which is saying something). In terms of action, there are some poorly choreographed fight scenes, plenty of explosions and gun battles and even a bit of a car chase. The dock crane finale was well done but didn't quite gel with the other action, despite being well staged. I have to admit, that the waterlogged opening is an excessive and protracted titty montage, which does get a bit boring.

A pretty good cast all things considered, Steve Railsbeck (Ed Gein) has some good scenes and plays a bit of a corny hillbilly Nazi for want of a better term. His scenery chewing performance leans toward the hammy but it works well against the other cast, especially the plank like Anderson or the mis-timing Xander Berkley. Admittedly, Berkley is hardly a glowing example of acting talent but he has a habit of cropping up in all manner of cult offerings, TV and film. Here, his corrupt Police chief enjoys some of the films better moments and he gets some good screen time but, he is guilty of some pretty corny dialogue and some of his more witty quips are poorly timed. German cult actor Udo Kier, crops up here as Curly, Barb Wire's long suffering right hand man and friend, delivering a fruity but fun performance. No matter how much they may protest, this is just another Pammy-exploitation offering, her combat skills are barely basic and certainly nothing impressive, perhaps if they had gotten her former Baywatch co-star Carmen Electra for this role because she at least is a good kick boxer. Anderson is a one trick horse and plays the Pouty, silicone enhanced bint routine which she is so well suited for, a convincing hero she isn't, a believable kick butt bounty hunter she also isn't but a buxom, bleached blonde bimbo with plastic boobs she is. Small supporting performance by Gentle Ben star Clint Howard is notable but only just. The Rottweiler, Camille steals a couple of scenes. Jango Fett himself, Temuera Morrison in a pre-Attack of The Clones, attempts to shake off the Australian soap stigma of being in Shortland Street and get into the action genre. Unfortunately, this isn't a particularly good demonstration of his talents and he is much better in We Were Warriors even if he does get a couple of fight scenes.

Barb Wire is ludicrously bad in places and you just can't help laughing at the utter idiocy of it, but it is frutratingly entertaining. A brave attempt to launch Pamela Anderson into an 'action babe' career, and this is not as bad as you would really think, but this is never going to be a classic and has a very select market (horny adolescents) . Thankfully, director David Hogan has gone on to do nothing else, which isn't surprising. This is dumb as a single celled organism but is sadly, a mildly entertaining watch even managing a couple of good moments, although there is nothing really challenging cerebrally. The impression here is that a comic adaptation was the last thing on their minds and more of a thin excuse to make a boobs out Pammy vehicle, which was bound to enthral the teen boy following which she commanded then. She has one or two well choreographed fight scenes but she is obviously not a martial artist or fighter (except for boozy, photographer bashing of course). Pamela Anderson.... what can you say.... Big lips, big boobs little talent!

Tagline

Don't call me babe!

Quote

Chief Willis: Evening Barb, my you're looking buoyant this evening

Rating: 2 out of 5

DVD
Picture 1.85:1 Widescreen or 4.3 Fullscreen Pretty clean transfer, good quality
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Pretty good but doesn't really stretch the format
Features Photo gallery
Unrated version of the film
Theatrical trailer
Cast & Crew filmographies
'Sexy Outtakes' - 10 - 15 minutes of unused water logged footage from the films opening
Verdict Not a terrible disc, but there really isn't much in way of extras. No commentary track, no featurettes just 10 to 15 minutes of Pamela Anderson getting her boobs out again and getting sprayed with water....... maybe I am cynical in my mature age and am a minority for wanting more on my disc

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home