Barb Wire (review by Doug Smith)
I already had some spite against this film before I even started watching it. First of all, it was one of two movies released by Gramercy in spring of ’96. The other movie was Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, whose makers are, of course, my idols. So Gramercy, being the uneducated ninnies that they are, decided to put all their advertising funds behind this little movie and not behind MST3K: TM. And then they were surprised when MST3K didn’t do very well at the box office. Never mind the fact that they only distributed it to around 1000 theaters or so and that it broke records for attendance in the theaters that it did play in. Nope. It was all the fault of MST3K. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. I can just imagine meetings that Gramercy held to decide which movie to fund. “Look! Boobies!” “Yes, sir, but MST3K is more intellectually…” “Shut up! Boobies!”
Second, it goes against basically everything I stand for. The only reason this movie was made and the only reason Pamela has a career is because she has big boobs and looks good in tight leather. It’s the same reason N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys are around. Well, not because they have big boobs … I mean, they ARE big boobs … and yeah, maybe they look good in leather too. At any rate, the same is common. None of them are good and none of them have ANY talent.
But I digress. Now that I’m done with that little rant (for now), I guess we should probably get on with the review. Packed with boobs and violence, this movie is every redneck’s dream. The plot has something to do with the second American Civil War and some doctor who used to work for the bad side has defected to the good side and she holds the cure for some kind of disease that the bad side invented and the bad side is trying to find her, but it’s pretty hard because she had plastic surgery done, but it still looks pretty hopeless for her unless she can find her special contact lenses that make it impossible for the bad guys to be able to tell who she is from a retinal scan. Okay, let me take a breath. How’s that for a run-on sentence?
Pamela Anderson and her twin punching bags star as Barb Wire, the bar owner/mercenary that doesn’t take sides with anyone. Temuera Morrison, a very neutral actor, stars as Axel Hood, a Rebel who’s helping Cora D get to Canada. Victoria Rowell, who got her start on “The Cosby Show” in an episode called “Cliff’s Wet Adventure,” plays Cora D. Jack Noseworthy, who looks amazingly like Jon Bon Jovi, plays Barb’s blind brother, Charlie. And Xander Berkeley plays Willis, not of the “What’choo talkin’ ’bout” variety.
All I really have to do is tell you that Pamela Anderson stars in this movie and you should be able to figure out almost exactly what the first scene of this movie involves, save for one or two minor details. That’s right, Pamela shakes her big saline bags around for a while at a local nightclub. The one or two minor details are simply that she’s being hosed down like a couple of dogs going at it, and that she actually is partially clothed, the second being really the only surprise of the entire movie. She continues dancing around – I think if they’d have chopped this scene in half, the movie would be about a half an hour shorter – until one of the patrons calls her “babe.” After having seen “Babe 2 – A Pig in the City,” she takes offense and throws a shoe at him, which embeds itself partially in his mouth and partially in his forehead. I guess that’s what they call Foot-in-Mouth Disease…
After her little dance is over, some guy with a chipmunk/pot-roast face talks to a guy in a suit and tells him that some package has been delivered. As it turns out, the package is a kidnapped girl and Barb Wire is there to bring her back to her parents. Nobody seems to suspect her of anything, even though later on in the movie it’s said that everyone knows her because she runs her own nightclub and is a mercenary. Maybe this place is on the other side of town…
She takes the girl back and collects half of her money and takes the girl’s parents’ car for the other half. A little later she has a completely unnecessary little narrative. She does this throughout the first part of the movie and then I think the writer just kind of forgot he included it and we don’t really hear any more from her.
After some plot exposition involving the bad guys torturing a naked girl, we go to Barb’s place. It seems to be a very fun, family-oriented place, complete with abusive drunks, a girl Goth band and knife fights. So it’s kind of like the Green Bay franchise of Hooter’s, after the Packers lose a game. We meet Barb’s brother, who lost his eyesight during the beginning of the war, and her top man in charge, Curly, which is ironic ’cause he’s bald. Get it? Curly, but he’s bald! Isn’t that great?! Anyway, it isn’t too long before Barbie goes out on one of her jobs again and finds herself about to get involved in a huge fight between the good and the bad and she has to decide which side she’s going to take. And, hey, Clint Howard shows up a little later, too!
Wow, going back and re-reading what I just wrote, my summary is almost as incoherent as this movie. Oh well, it’s Sunday, it’s about 90 degrees and my pants are sticking to my thighs, and I just really don’t feel like writing anymore, nor do I feel like doing a total rewrite, so just deal with it. Like I said at the beginning of this review, I had some existing hatred for this movie. And it’s still there. Maybe not quite so much as before, but it’s still there. It’s of a completely personal nature, though. Truth be told, this movie actually isn’t all that bad. It’s not good by any means, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. If only it would’ve been written a little differently and perhaps directed by someone who wasn’t involved with “Batman Forever,” and maybe if it wouldn’t so blatantly showcase Pamela’s jublees. To be honest, I think Pamela does have some very good dramatic potential if she’d take a few acting lessons. To wrap it up, I am going to give this movie a slightly better than average rating of 2 ½ yaks. If only there weren’t so many “if only’s”…