Barb Wire (1996) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 1

directing 1

effects 1

editing 1

writing 1

SW SCORE: 5

0.5 out of 5 🐙

++

I was only 22 in 1996. I still had hair. I didn’t have a beer (really it should be called cupcake belly since I like sugar more than booze) gut. The internet was still in its infancy. And Pamela Anderson, to the opinion of many including myself, was one of the hottest women on the planet. I grew up in an American suburb and was raised on mainstream TV and movies, and the American media landscape championed a certain type of woman as the height of female beauty: tan blondes with big boobs. I know that sounds crass, and that’s because it is. But that’s how it was back then. Since then, luckily, I’ve grown as a person and aesthetics are joyfully more complicated. Anderson had made her fame starring on a cheesy cable tv show called Baywatch where her role, and that of her cast mates, was largely to run around the beach in slow motion wearing as little as possible. Ostensibly, the show was about heroic lifeguards or something, but I didn’t know anyone who watched it for those reasons. The show was so popular that it catapulted her on to the big screen. This movie is a result of that ascent.

Ascent really isn’t the best word to describe this joint. It’s based on a graphic novel, which is probably good, but the film adaptation seems to rely almost entirely on Anderson’s sex appeal. And they make no bones about this reliance: the opening credits start with a silhouette of Anderson stripping while it appears to be raining, even though it is indoors. Ironically, her outfit was probably more conservative than most outfits worn by women heroes in any standard comic book. That’s not to say that it was reserved or conservative. Lets not go crazy here.

Anderson’s acting ability was well established on Baywatch and, to be kind, lets just say it was not appreciated by the critics or anyone who knew anything about acting. To call her wooden would be unfair to wooden actors. Maybe the kind of wood that is petrified because it is millions of years and now resembles rock?

The setting is the United States in the year 2017. Apparently, most of the USA is ruled by a fascist government. Sound familiar to modern day? I thought so. Remarkably, all the automobiles in 2017 look like stylized versions of cars from the 1980s. I get the issue, but why not make the future cars out of 90s automobiles? That’s only one silly thing, and it does not make the movie bad or good.

Everything else makes it bad.

The plot is hardly important. The dialogue, even delivered by Laurence Olivier, would land flat. There is no characterization; who everyone is at the beginning is exactly who they are at the end. The enemies are rip-offs of other famous bad guys (namely Big Fatso is a clear Jabba the Hutt rip off). The budget cannot have been much, and that is reflected in the poorly choreographed action set pieces and cheap sets.

Is there anything good about this movie? She kills two assailants in amusing ways. But the remainder of the movie is as painful as getting caught on barbed wire.

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

One thought on “Barb Wire (1996) (mini-review++)

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