When I wrote about "Barb Wire" last Saturday I promised I would watch it again soon. It's unusual for me to keep the promises that I make in my blog. Or at least, I do keep my promises eventually. When I say I'll do something soon it can be any time between two years and five years.
The film was made in 1996 and predicted that within 20 years a second American Civil War would break out. This would lead to a Fascist organisation called the Congressional Directorate taking over most of the USA. I've always said that when a film is set in the future the year should be left vague. The director of this film didn't listen to me. It takes place in 2017, which is supposed to be in the future.
In this future world there's only one independent city left in America: Steel Harbour. The rest of the country is divided between the Congressional Directorate and the United Front. Both factions are present in Steel Harbour, but that doesn't mean there's peace. It means there is chaos. Crime and lawlessness are abundant, with everyone grabbing as much for himself as he can get. This is where Barbara Kopetski aka Barb Wire lives. She's a mercenary, selling her services to the highest bidder. She used to be a soldier for the United Front, but that was a long time ago. Now she just looks after herself.
Her loyalties to her old friends are put to the test when Steel Harbour becomes a front line in the war. Topeka, Kansas was wiped out in a test for a new biological weapon called Red Ribbon, a plague that kills its victims within 12 hours. The scientist responsible for the plague, Dr. Corrina Devonshire, has defected to the Resistance against the Congressional Directorate. She's injected herself with the antidote to the plague, so she's carrying the only known cure in her body. She wants to travel to Canada to present herself to the United Nations, but now she's in Steel Harbour and can only get out of the city with Barb Wire's help. Barb Wire would be reluctant to help a penniless idealist at the best of times, but Corrina is also married to her ex-lover.
The resulting film is a fast moving action adventure that lives up to the Dark Horse comics on which it's based. The main characters are all credible, nobody truly black or white, all of them varying shades of grey. We can feel sorry for those who fall by the wayside because they would rather save their own lives than do good. I can't guarantee that I'd be any different in circumstances like those.
I don't know how often this film is shown on television, if at all. All I can say is that it's a film worth seeing. When it was first released the critics and the viewing public were united in saying how bad it was. I don't care what the critics say, they rarely understand what the public likes. I'm disappointed with the public for not giving the film a chance. Many assumed it was bad because others told them it was bad, and they didn't check it out for themselves. It's time to reevaluate the film.
This was one of the first films about a female super-hero. It paved the way for future films like "Wonder Woman" and "Captain Marvel", but DC and Marvel needed 20 years to catch up.
Success Rate: - 2.4
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