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A 1996 soft core porn film disguised as an action film. So when you're watching it, and your mom walks in, you can just point to some of the explosions and claim it's an example of female empowerment... or something...
The movie stars Pamela Anderson Lee doing what she does best - running around with the minimal amount of clothing on, and the opening credits involve a prolonged scene with Pam strip-dancing. There's also no small number of other women wearing very little as well, but honest to god mom, look at all the explosions and Pam kicking the asses of all those men; it's female empowerment I swear!
Anyway, apart all the boobage - err, the explosions - this was Pam's attempt for her to bridge her career from television to film. And quaint as seeing her toting vast amounts of guns in skin-tight black leather is, it kinda failed. It has earned its reputation for completely ripping off the plot of Casablanca in a way that makes Overdrawn at the Memory Bank look like Citizen Kane (to stretch a metaphor beyond the point of logic). Has been Snark Bait for many a reviewer.
The film is based on the series printed by Dark Horse Comics.
- Anti-Villain: Police Chief Willis. He may be a corrupt, lying asshole who makes Barb's life difficult, and a pawn of the oppressors, but he's not actually evil. For one thing, he knows his men are thugs and idiots, but they're still his men. He doesn't agree with the murder of Barb's blind brother, and at the end he saves them all by not handcuffing Barb and giving her a grenade to use.
- Berserk Button: "Don't call me Babe! "
- Big Bra to Fill: Averted. So so much.
- Biker Babe
- Captain Obvious: Police Chief Willis deliberately does this near the end of the film.
Willis: "Look out, she's got a grenade!"
- The beauty of this line is the almost monotone way he says it. It is, after all, the grenade he gave Barb.
- Combat Stilettos: While not doing as much hand-to-hand combat as usual for this trope, she does enough fighting in them to justify it.
- And also, she throws one in a guy's head.
- Cute Bruiser: Barb and also the young leader of the resistance within Steel City.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Colonel Pryzer is good at these. He makes two threats.
"Let me make this perfectly clear. If Cora D escapes, I will personally rip your heart out of your ass, and shove it back down your throat."
"Goddammit Willis, I'm gonna rip you in half!"
- Dark Age: Based on a period comic book, with a typical period "bad girl" heroine.
- Dull Surprise: "God damn it!"
- Eye Remember: stupidly attempted on a blind man.
- Expy: Since the plot completely rips off Casablanca, pretty much everybody is an Expy of somebody. The most obvious though, is the corrupt but on-the-side-of-good Police Chief Willis as Captain Louis Renault.
- The Fat Man is played by.... a really fat man!
- Extended Disarming: Barb has one of these sequences when she and her friends get caught.
- Evil Laugh: Barb Wire hears the villain do it for at least two minutes as he tries to kill her with a forklift!
- Fan Service
- Forklift Fu
- Gender Flip: Several of the Expys.
- Guilty Pleasure
- Guns Akimbo: Barb on a couple of occasions.
- I Broke a Nail
- In Name Only: So far that it's an interesting existential question whether this movie can be considered based on the Dark Horse comic book at all.
- However Conversely in fairness while much of the original source material is left out. The Barb Wire comic itself wasn't (outside of its main character and a few others) the most interesting comic of its day. It contained so many stock generic supervillians and villainous Large Hams worthy of borderline BRIANBLESSED Levels that including these elements into the film might have made things Much Worse as it as the film works well enough on a So Bad It's Good level, including more stuff from the comic would've likely made the film just plain bad.
- Lock and Load Montage: After Barb decides to help out the Resistance, she gets one of these.
- Made of Explodium: Things blow very easily.
- Ms. Fanservice: guess who?
- Naked on Arrival: Barb isn't exactly fully clothed during the credits when the audience first sees her and later, she meets her ex-husband's fiance' just after getting out of the bath.
- Putting on the Reich
- Recycled in Space: Casablanca With Boobies
- Shout-Out: A villain named Big Fatso, an obvious allusion to "The Fat Man" played by Sidney Greenstreet.
- Slip Into Something More Comfortable: Mainly, a gimp suit. However for Barb this pretty much seems to be wearing almost nothing at all.
- Too Kinky to Torture
- Victoria's Secret Compartment
- Villainous Glutton