Friday, September 17, 2010

Barb Wire (1995)

Director: David Hogan
Starring: Pamela Anderson (Lee), Temuera Morrison, Victoria Rowell, Jack Noseworthy,Xander Berkeley, Udo Kier
Rated R
US


"Don't call me "Babe".

Let me give you a little history lesson about myself. I'm a comic book fan of long-standing (31 plus years of my 36 years here on Earth have been dedicated to the hobby). So, it's pretty much a no-brainer that if a film comes out based upon a comic book or superhero related property, I'm seeing it/ buying it, no matter the quality of the adaptation. I'm a weirdo completist, what can I say....

I also love a big bust line. I'm a sucker for one, you might say....which would explain my ex-wife (she was six foot tall, 140 pounds.... and the weight was definately not located anywhere near her brains). Fake or real, I don't discriminate....I like the top-heavy ladies.


I also dig sci-fi of the dystopian future police state type...which is why John Carpenter's ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is probably one of my favorite genre films of all-time. MAD MAX, cheap Italian post apocalypic trash, etc....I grew up in the 1980s, the era of Reaganomics, and I just kinda figured that's how the future was gonna turn out.


Full of mohawked sadists in football gear and feral outcasts, all fighting for gasoline...just walk into a Wal-Mart at 3:00 A.M. one morning and take a look at the interesting folks you meet...or watch an episode of Jerry Springer...and then tell me we're not real close to Isaac Hayes running New York. I dare ya.



BARB WIRE features all three of these elements: it's a comic book property, it has Pam Anderson's big boobs, and it's a pretty good attempt at realizing a not-so-nice future. So, why doesn't it work?




Well, to make a long story short concerning the plot, it's a blatantly shameless rip-off of CASABLANCA. Watch the two films back to back and you'll see what I mean. It reminds me of the old Hollywood story about how at some point in the 1970s, a few film students performed an experiment: They took the shooting script to CASABLANCA, replaced the cover page with one that read "Everyone Has A Good Time At Rick's", and shopped it around to every studio in Hollywood...only to be turned down by each and every one of them. It goes to prove that studio execs don't have the sense to know a good script when they see one, and when they do decide to film it, they tend to screw it up.



Then, there's Ms. Anderson's fairly wooden acting style. Wait, maybe "wooden" is too harsh a term....maybe..."plastic". Like her tits. Thankfully she's surrounded by an impressive group of character actors and past "B" list stars like a bald Udo Keir as Barb's man-friday Curly, Jack Noseworthy as her blind younger brother Charlie, Steve Railsback as Colonel Pryzer, the creepy Gestapo-esque badguy, as well as appearances by Clint Howard as a shady bail bondsman, and Jango Fett himself, Temuera Morrison. Plus, there's a personal favorite of mine, Xander Berkeley as Barb's crooked cop pal, Willis. Also, look for the band Die, Cheerleader (who I dug for all of 10 minutes and a CD purchase fifteen years ago) as the house band for Barb's drinking establishment, The Hammerhead.


BARB WIRE is an entertaining enough movie, full of plastic fake boobs, gunfights, and S&M jokes. What it lacks in plot and performance from it's star, it mkaes up for in eye-candy and a great supporting cast that looks to be enjoying themselves while slumming it during what's practically a 90 minute advertisment for the top-billed Pam Anderson's cleavage.
-HONG KONG CAVALIER

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