Herald Classic
Pamela Anderson

By Howard Hallis

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Name that movie:
War is declared and tensions are high. In the center of the chaos is one small city which has deemed itself "neutral" to both sides of the conflict.

Within this city is a nightclub where most of the movie's action takes place. The owner of the nightclub is a strong-willed no-nonsense type who on the outside doesn't take a stand one way or the other politically, but who secretly has ties to the resistance.

One night, the owner's ex-lover appears at the club with a new romantic interest. This new romantic interest happens to be a crucial leader of the resistance and is almost instantly threatened by the enemy. The desperate couple turns to the club owner to help them get out of the city alive. What follows is a conflict between the emotional attachments and sacrifice for the greater good as the club owner has to decide between helping the two lovers get out of town safely and turning the tables for personal advantage.

Sound familiar? If you answered "Casablanca", you'd only be half right. There is another movie with the exact same plot that you might have heard of. The movie is called "Barb Wire" and starred Pamela Anderson Lee.

Don't believe me? It's true. The "Baywatch" star's almost universally panned screen debut as a super hero clad in leather with tattoos and a motorcycle is actually an honest to God remake of the Bogie/Bergman classic. Never mind the boobie shots that greet viewers almost instantly during the opening credits. Forget about the goofy catch phrases like "Don't call me babe". "Barb Wire" is an action movie bastardization of one of the greatest films of all time. If you see it, you'll learn that in the year 2017 the USA is involved in a second civil war (probably with one side fighting for silicon breast enlargements while the other favors saline. It's never really explained what started the war, but who cares? Pam Anderson is NAKED!!!)

The evil Congressionalist Army has taken over most of the country except for the small city of Steel Harbor, where Barb Wire has her biker-Goth bar named The Hammerhead. It may seem like a far cry from Nazis, Morocco, and Rick's place, but you can see the parallels. When Barb Wire's old boyfriend Axel shows up with his new wife Cora D, a resistance leader who is crucial to defeating the Congressionalists, it's up to the augmented one to get the couple out of town to the safety of peaceful Canada. She does this by using lots of explosions and nudity in favor of secret dealings and innuendo, but the times have changed since 1942, and so have the movies.

One can imagine film teachers in college screening "Barb Wire" and "Casablanca" for their students and asking them to write comparative essays on both movies. Perhaps this isn't such a bad thing after all, as the Baywatch/V.I.P. star may even get some of the legions of her drooling fans to discover cinema by default.###

All contents © 2006 by Gene Mahoney