(Re)discover the Barb Wire action movie, worn by Pamela Anderson, and recently mentioned in the Pam & Tommy series, currently airing on Disney+.
What is it about ?
In 2017, Barb Wire is the owner of a bar in Steel Harbor, a free city in a country ravaged by a civil war. She is also a private detective. She is visited by government police in search of Cora, a scientist who is fleeing the regime, taking with her the secret of a terrible weapon.
“Barb Wire” is only available on DVD-Blu-Ray.
A film not necessarily to take high
In 1996, Pamela Anderson is still the star of Baywatch, and participated in two films, Snapdragon (1993) and Raw Justice (1994). When she was offered to do Barb Wire, adapted from the eponymous comic book, she jumped at the chance to finally have the leading role in a feature film, which is moreover that of an action heroine. She accepts after reading the comics, without even reading the script.
Everything starts on good auspices since the story is signed by the future creator of The L Word, Ilene Chaiken, promising a film rather sensitive to certain themes. This base is then transformed into a screenplay by Chaiken herself and Chuck Pfarrer, co-author of Darkman, who has just signed Manhunt with Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The staging is entrusted to David Hogan, a director specializing in music videos (for Sheryl Crow, Diana Ross, Kylie Minogue…) whose Barb Wire is the first feature film. He will also be the last. In production, we find Brad Wyman (then a specialist in the B series) and the duo behind Timecop with JCVD (Todd Moyer and Mike Richardson).
Barely days after giving the first crank, Pamela Anderson and the film crew arrive at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival to pre-promote the film, and create a sensation. Back on the set, the actress gives her all and performs the stunts she is allowed to do herself. She declares to Los Angeles Times on the set of Barb Wire:
People don’t realize how athletic I am. In this film, I practice kick-boxing, I drive a Triumph and I shoot automatic weapons. I even let them cling to a helicopter when I’m dizzy. I give myself fully.
Unfortunately for the actress, her involvement is struggling to get the script off the ground, largely copied from that of Casablanca and some scenes highlight her plastic more than anything else. Evidenced by this moment when she is disturbed in her bath and gets up only “dressed” in foam, or the opening scene / credits which sees her plunging neckline being sprayed with water dancing on the stage of a bar.
Hogan denies any intention on his part to show his star more naked than she herself wanted. Last May, he told yahoo :
“I accepted some of her objections, but she was comfortable doing what we did, including the striptease. It’s like doing a love scene: you let the actors judge how far they want to go, and that’s what happened in this case”.
Certain passages also testify to a desire to counterbalance the character’s hyper-sexualization, such as the moment when Barb kills a man who calls her “Babe” (doll in French) with a stiletto kick, or when she stares another sternly in the eye as the latter stares pointedly at his chest.
A resounding failure
From the start, Barb Wire had no pretensions other than to be a B series intended to entertain, which it is, because the pace is fast enough to keep the viewers involved, but the result is still a disappointment. , in particular weighed down by the treatment of the character of Wire and a scenario without surprise.
The film is a total crash at the American box office, with barely 3 million collected at the end of exploitation. It must be said that the release of the sextape of the actress during the filming did not help matters*. A terrible missed opportunity for Pam Anderson who always declared to the LA Times, on the set of Barb Wire:
“At this point in my career, I just consider myself lucky to be working, and Barb sounded like the most fun thing I could do on set. She’s actually closer to me than anything I’ve ever had. done before. I feel like I’m navigating as best I can in Hollywood and like Barb, I often find myself in trouble, taking detours to get where I want to be.”
One can imagine his disappointment with the poor financial results of the film and its six nominations at the Razzie Awards. Anderson will be the only one to win an award… Worst Actress. His career never recovered.
Tommy Lee had composed a track to accompany the release of the film, the clip of which includes excerpts from Barb Wire:
* The Pam & Tommy series places the incident of the film crew watching the sextape on the set of Baywatch while according to David Hogan, it’s on his set that everyone (behind the scenes) did not speak than that. He even reportedly caught some of the producers watching the video in their offices.