The year is 2017. In the midst of the second American Civil War, a buxom bounty hunter/nightclub owner named Barb Wire (played by Baywatch star Pamela Anderson Lee) immodestly pouts, puckers and pulls the trigger in a disturbing display of erotically charged mayhem. In many ways, the underlying plot is derivative of Casablanca, but the R-rated Barb Wire takes a voyeuristic turn, relying on a potentially volatile blend of sex and violence to entertain movie audiences.
"I love a good ménage every now and then," purrs the title character, a smoldering sex kitten in leather and chains whose ire peaks when men call her "babe." On one such occasion, she kills the leering lout with a high heel. On another, she responds by emptying a handgun into the goon before pausing to notice that she's broken a nail. Quite the femme fatale.
One minute Lee is dancing erotically on stage or emerging from a bubble bath. The next, she's uttering profanity and murdering the "bad" guys against a dreary backdrop of 21st Century dystopia. Broken necks. Men shot with poison darts or riddled with bullets. An obese villain blown to bits by a grenade. All executed with lascivious passion. Even film critic Roger Ebert has said, "The sexuality involves various forms of foreplay to violence."
Why should adults be concerned about Barb Wire's amalgam of sex and violence? In an interview conducted shortly before his execution, serial killer Ted Bundy discussed the slippery slope that contributed to his deviant behavior. "The most damaging kinds of pornography are those that involve violence and sexual violence," he said, "because the wedding of those two forces—as I know only too well—brings about behavior that is just too terrible to describe." It's doubtful Bundy ever sat in a theater and watched a naked woman being tortured and killed by means of electrocution. Viewers hooked by Barb Wire will.
This troublesome film is based on a character created by Dark Horse Comics. The renewed interest in Barb Wire finds other companies eager to cash in on what they hope will become a hot new action/ fantasy franchise. From posters and trading cards to a set of pre-paid phonecards, Lee's bad girl persona will be thrust into the faces of young males everywhere this summer. Regardless of the medium, teens should avoid getting entangled in Barb Wire.