Barb Wire (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Hogan|
|Produced by||Todd Moyer|
|Screenplay by||Chuck Pfarrer|
|Story by||Ilene Chaiken|
|Music by||Michel Colombier|
|Edited by||Peter Schink|
|Distributed by||Gramercy Pictures|
|Box office||$3.8 million|
Barb Wire is a 1996 American science fiction action film based on the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. It stars Pamela Anderson in the titular role, alongside Temuera Morrison, Victoria Rowell, Xander Berkeley, Udo Kier and Steve Railsback. Brad Wyman produced, and David Hogan directed from a screenplay by Chuck Pfarrer and Ilene Chaiken.
The film was critically panned and was nominated for several Golden Raspberry Awards.
In 2017, during the Second American Civil War, Barb Wire owns the Hammerhead, a nightclub in Steel Harbor, "the last free city" in a United States ravaged by the war. She brings in extra cash working as a mercenary and bounty hunter. Chief of Police Willis raids her club. Willis's target is fugitive Dr. Corrina "Cora D" Devonshire, a former government scientist with information about a bioweapon being developed by her former superior, Colonel Pryzer of the Congressional Directorate. Dr. Devonshire hopes to escape to Canada in order to make this information public.
Devonshire turns up at the Hammerhead. She is accompanied by Axel Hood, 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 would allow Cora to evade the retinal scan identification 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", 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.
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 Lee as Barb Wire
- Temuera Morrison as Axel
- Victoria Rowell as Cora D
- Jack Noseworthy as Charlie
- Xander Berkeley as Alexander Willis
- Udo Kier as Curly
- Steve Railsback as Colonel Pryzer
- Andre Rosey Brown as Big Fatso
- Nicholas Worth as Ruben
- Clint Howard as Schmitz
- Jennifer Banko as Spike
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|
|1996||Stinkers Bad Movie Awards||Worst Actress (Pamela Lee [Anderson])||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 developer was Cryo Interactive. 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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- "The 100 Worst Films of the 20th Century". The Stinkers. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
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