TV Party Tonight! #74

TV Party Tonight! #74

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Barb Wire

I remember as a kid waiting for the release of Barb Wire with anticipation. Of course I couldn’t go to the theatres to see an R rated movie, so I had to wait for the home video. And why was I waiting for this movie? Because at the time the idea of adapting a comic book was a new and “cool” idea. Of course there was Batman, but that franchise had been consumed by multiple generations. On the other hand, Barb Wire was too obscure and new of a story to really turn out a horde of dedicated fans. The movie had to stand on its own and prove it was cool. And I loved a movie that had something to prove. A dark, post-apocalyptic story with lots of guns and fighting-driven action sequences? I’m down with that. Also, I was a teenager and Pamela Anderson was the sex symbol of the decade. There was no way I wasn’t going to see this movie.

This was also a time before I could understand that trailers were designed to lie to you.

Taken together, Barb Wire really is a perplexing movie to consider, mostly because even though it has heart, it also suffers from poor execution. There is no doubt that this is a modernized take on Casablanca with the gender roles switched. An intriguing idea, but for that to work, your leads have to work. And Pamela Anderson is a lot of things, but she’s no actress. Case in point, every single one of her lines is ADR-ed. And the move looks cool and sounds cool, only if you consider mainstream subversive culture from the 90s cool. Then there is the character of Barb Wire herself who’s motivations we don’t quite understand (why doesn’t she like being called “babe”?) and is sexy in the way only a teenage boy would appreciate. There is both too much nudity and not enough at the same time. It hovers around this area of embarrassing to watch in public but also kind of harmless.

The saving grace of Barb Wire is probably the setting, somewhat over the top ideas, crazy characters, and legitimately cool sequences that occasionally pop up. It’s not a long movie and doesn’t necessarily overstay its welcome, but does engage its viewer enough to entertain a fair amount.

Does a movie like this deserve to be archived? You bet it does. It’s a perfect representation of 90s action movie making and the beginnings of what would become a multibillion dollar industry: comic book movies. I just wish Mill Creek brought more to this blu ray than just the barebones movie. There are no bonus features whatsoever. Not even the unrated cut of the movie. Bit of a shame, really. Until that special edition version of the movie gets released (and it just might happen), this blu ray (and it price) should make you happy.

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