Barb Wire (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Hogan|
|Written by||Chris Warner|
|Story by||Ilene Chaiken|
by Dark Horse Comics
|Music by||Michel Colombier|
|Edited by||Peter Schink|
|Distributed by||Gramercy Pictures|
|Box office||$3.8 million|
Barb Wire is a 1996 American action thriller film based on the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. Brad Wyman produced, and David Hogan directed. Barb Wire stars Pamela Anderson in the title role.
Barb Wire is set in 2017 during the "Second American Civil War". Barb Wire (Pamela Anderson) owns the Hammerhead, a nightclub in Steel Harbor — "the last free city" in a United States ravaged by the civil war — and she brings in extra cash working as a mercenary and bounty hunter. Chief of Police Willis (Xander Berkeley) raids her club. Willis's target is fugitive Dr. Corrina "Cora D" Devonshire (Victoria Rowell), a former government scientist with information about a bioweapon being developed by her former superior, Colonel Pryzer (Steve Railsback) of the Congressional Directorate. Dr. Devonshire hopes to escape to Canada in order to make this information public.
Devonshire later turns up at the Hammerhead. She is accompanied by Axel Hood (Temuera Morrison), a "freedom fighter" whom Barb had known and loved at the outbreak of the war, but the two were separated during the conflict. Axel is trying to help Cora get to Canada. They are trying to find a contraband pair of contact lenses that will allow Cora to evade the retinal scan at the Steel Harbor airport. The lenses pass through the hands of several lowlifes before also ending up at Barb's nightclub.
Rather than give the lenses to Cora and Axel, Barb makes a deal with "Big Fatso" (Andre Rosey Brown), the leader of a junkyard gang: Fatso wants the lenses, which are worth a fortune on the black market, and Barb wants a million dollars and an armed escort to the airport, where she plans to get on the plane to Canada. But Fatso double-crosses Barb; when Barb, Axel, and Cora show up at the junkyard to make the swap, Colonel Pryzer and his storm troopers are also there, along with Chief of Police Willis. Willis makes a show of arresting Barb and Cora, but instead of putting handcuffs on Barb, he slips her a hand grenade. Barb uses the grenade to kill Fatso and cause enough confusion to allow Barb, Axel, Cora, and Willis to pile into Barb's armored van and lead the Congressionals on a car chase, culminating in a hand-to-hand fight between Barb and Colonel Pryzer on a forklift suspended by crane above the harbor. Pryzer falls to his death while Barb escapes.
In the end, the party makes it to the airport, where Barb reveals that she still has the contact lenses. She gives them to Cora, and Cora and Axel get on the plane to Canada while Willis and Barb remain on the rainswept tarmac.
- Pamela Anderson as Barbara "Barb Wire" Kopetski
- Temuera Morrison as Axel Hood
- Victoria Rowell as Dr. Corrina "Cora D" Devonshire
- Jack Noseworthy as Charlie Kopetski
- Xander Berkeley as Alexander Willis
- Udo Kier as Curly
- Steve Railsback as Colonel Pryzer
- Andre Rosey Brown as Big Fatso
- Nicholas Worth as Ruben Tentenbaum
- Clint Howard as Schmitz
- Jennifer Banko as Spike
- Tiny 'Zeus' Lister as the Bouncer
Barb Wire generally received negative reactions by critics and was a box office bomb. It holds a 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews (10 positive, 26 negative), with the consensus stating that "Barb Wire could've been fun camp, but Pamela Anderson can't deliver her lines with any dramatic or comedic impact". Roger Ebert pointed out that the film's plot was identical to that of Casablanca and derided the low-brow attempts at sensuality, but praised the cast and crew's approach to the material: "The filmmakers must have known they were not making a good movie, but they didn't use that as an excuse to be boring and lazy. 'Barb Wire' has a high energy level, and a sense of deranged fun." He gave it two and a half stars. Similarly to Ebert, Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly commented on the film's aping of the Casablanca plot and its "teasing, hollow 'naughtiness'", but further said that the film is lacking in energy. He gave it a C.
Awards and nominations
|1996||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Picture||Nominated|
|Worst Actress (Pamela Anderson)||Nominated|
|Worst Screen Couple (Pamela Anderson's "Impressive Enhancements")||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay (Chuck Pfarrer and Ilene Chaiken)||Nominated|
|Worst New Star (Pamela Anderson)||Won|
|Worst "Original" Song ("Welcome to Planet Boom!", by Tommy Lee)||Nominated|
|1997||MTV Movie Awards||Best Fight (Pamela Anderson/Steve Railsback)||Nominated|
The film was a box office failure, only grossing $3,794,000 in the United States.
GT Interactive announced that they would be publishing a video game based on the film for the PlayStation, Saturn, PC, and Macintosh in January 1997. The gameplay was said to be similar to Resident Evil, with a single-player campaign and a two-player deathmatch mode. It was never released.
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