Looking back, a lot of people have reappraised the merits of Barb Wire. Sure, it's dumb, but the mere fact that it was a female-driven comic book adaptation makes it significant, even today.
Gramercy Pictures, Dark Horse ComicsConsider the fact that this rando got a movie 21 years before freaking Wonder Woman.
The movie is actually surprisingly relevant, even prescient, when seen now. The opening credits roll along with Barb's seductive striptease, because who wouldn't be aroused by champagne-soaked nipples hovering next to Clint Howard's name?
Gramercy PicturesDon't pretend you don't think of Howard's bald, sexy head whenever you see a boob.
It's pretty much how you would expect a Pamela Anderson vehicle to go down -- that is, until the credits end. It's revealed that Barb is dancing in a swank nightclub, and soon a drunken lout heckles her, calling her "babe." Her response? She whips a stiletto heel into his goddamn skull.
Gramercy PicturesNot the type of penetration he had in mind.
Yeah, she fucking kills a guy for catcalling her in a bar. In fact, for a movie seemingly marketed as T&A for 14-year-olds, it repeatedly punishes spectators objectifying Anderson. A later, similarly revealing scene finds her taking a bubble bath. When she realizes someone is secretly leering at her, she immediately pulls a gun on them. She's practically pointing that gun at the viewer.
Gramercy PicturesNote that it's a downward trajectory, too.
It's as if the movie is teaching its audience that women have agency over their own sexuality and gawking at them is creepy -- you know, the exact opposite message one would expect from this stupid flick. If Barb Wire were to be released now, it might even be received as a badass feminist response to Trump and Weinstein, with Barb constantly taking down powerful men who attempt to objectify and assault her, such as a lecherous creep at the strip club whom she blow-darts to death.
Politically, too, the movie is surprisingly in touch with modern times. Barb Wire takes place in a future in which the country's been ruined by a second civil war following a rise of American Nazism ... which happens in the year 2017. Huh.
While a lot of the story elements are obviously ridiculous, they're all layered on a surprisingly sturdy structure: the plot of Casablanca. As many critics have pointed out, Barb Wire is a futuristic update of the Hollywood classic, with Anderson as a somewhat bustier Humphrey Bogart. It even blatantly re-stages the iconic ending:
Gramercy Pictures, Warner Bros. PicturesIn 1,000 years, no one will be sure which one came first.
Yup, Barb Wire is gender-swapped cyberpunk remake of one of the greatest movies of all time. So until someone puts Jenny McCarthy in a cyborg-filled version of Citizen Kane, it's certainly unique.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter, or check out the podcast Rewatchability.
Support your favorite Cracked writers with a visit to our Contribution Page. Please and thank you.
Also, we'd love to know more about you and your interesting lives, dear readers. If you spend your days doing cool stuff, drop us a line at iDoCoolStuff dot com, and maybe we can share your story with the entire internet.
For more, check out What 5 Famously Bad Movies Managed To Get Right and 5 Theories That Make Famously Bad Movies Awesome.
Follow us on Facebook. If you like jokes and stuff.