Baywatch was the big thing back in the 90’s, with Pamela Anderson Lee as one of the many big stars. I viewed only snippets of the show, but it pretty much delivered what one could expect from a show about lifeguards, and didn’t ask much from either its audience or the cast members. Anderson appeared in Playboy many times and was quite popular at the time that Barb Wire was released. The film arrived in May of 1996, and was nearly dead on arrival as critics destroyed the film (well, most of them) and the box office was abysmal. The film was on many worst of lists that year, and received several razzie nominations, including worst screenplay and worst actress for Pamela Anderson. After seeing it again after quite some time, it really is even worse than I remember. It’s funny seeing the film today which takes place in 2017, a time that once seemed so far away. But really, the film is just a dud, plain and simple. It doesn’t have the campy feel that would have made it more tolerable nor does it have that so bad, it’s good quality. I think it’s because everyone in the film seems to be thinking they’re making a masterpiece and have zero self-awareness.
Set in 2017 during the Second American Civil War, we meet our title character, Barb Wire (Pamela Anderson). She owns a nightclub, but doubles as a bounty hunter. Her one rule is that nobody call her babe. When her ex-boyfriend, Axel Hood shows up, Barb is the only person that can help him. But will she? After all, these two don’t exactly have the best history. Really the plot is an excuse for lots of action and mayhem. We get plenty of it, but it isn’t the least bit exciting. I wish I cared more about anything on display here, including Pamela and her assets. Her cleavage is mostly always on full display, but that can only carry the film so far. There have been good actresses of this sort before, but Anderson just doesn’t have the screen presence a film like this deserves. Roger Ebert compared the plot to Casablanca and maybe to some extent it has similarities, but to even bring up a classic film when talking about this trash just feels wrong.
Barb Wire has many characters and a lot of plot within its brief running time, but trying to figure out or care about any of it was the biggest challenge for me. I understand the film has its fans, however small that group may be, but I’m just not one of them. I found the whole affair downright boring after a while, with really no redeeming qualities.
Video: How’s it look?
Making its second Blu-Ray release, the film at least looks decent enough. I never viewed the previous disc, so can’t make comparisons, but things look well enough here. The AVC encoded image gives us the 1.85:1 transfer that serves the film about as well as it could. I didn’t detect any glaring issues. The print appeared in good enough shape and details were about as expected.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD track hits hard as well. Vocals were fine, but the action is what kicks the track up a few notches. If you even care to put the film into your player, that is. The channels all stayed fairly active, keeping your unit busy with explosions and gun play.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Here’s hoping you like the film because there’s only a blank menu that has a play movie option or the subtitle option. In other words, this disc has no supplemental material.
The Bottom Line
By now one knows if they like Barb Wire and want to own it or not. Honestly, I’d seek out the Universal disc as this one doesn’t even have a scene index menu. I hate not having that with any film. The film is quite the stinker. It doesn’t even deliver on a campy level and the nudity is virtually nonexistent, save for a couple of brief shots. Skip it.