Released in 1996, the movie stars Pamela Anderson Lee as a nightclub owner/mercenary/Bounty Hunter in 2017 during the Second American Civil War. The Chief of Police raids her club because he is looking for a scientist who has information about a superweapon.
The film is based on the eponymous series printed by Dark Horse Comics during their attempt at creating a shared comic book universe, Comics' Greatest World, which resulted in an In Name Only compared with the source.
Barb Wire was panned by critics and bombed at the box office (making less than $4 million). The failure of the movie also effectively ended Pamela Anderson's dream of becoming a mainstream film star, and it would be 19 years before any more Barb Wire comics would be printed.
"Don't Call Me Trope":
- '90s Anti-Hero: Barb Wire is a Dark Action Girl with a gritty two-word name that sounds like “barbed wire,” who is entirely motivated by selfish reasons—whether it be personal profit or revenge—and only looks better by comparison because the villains of the story are worse. Not only that, but Pamala Anderson is probably the only woman who could pull off the look of a female NAH, with very large breasts and barely-there clothing.
- Action Girl: No matter how much of Pam got showed off, Barb Wire is definitely a hard-up, bad-ass action girl to be proud of.
- Adaptational Curves: Pam's breasts were actually larger in the movie than the original comic character.
- Anti-Villain: Police Chief Willis. He may be a corrupt, lying asshole who makes Barb's life difficult, and a pawn of the oppressors, but he's not actually evil. For one thing, he knows his men are thugs and idiots, but they're still his men. He doesn't agree with the murder of Barb's blind brother, and at the end he saves them all by not handcuffing Barb and giving her a grenade to use.
- Artistic License – Biology: A character fools a retina scanner using colored contact lenses, which actually might've worked if it had been an iris scanner. Evidently, the writers didn't know retinas are at the back of the eyeball.
- Badass Biker: Movie!Barb provides the page image, though she doesn't appear all that often in that outfit.
- Bathtub Scene: Barb is taking a bubble bath in her house, but it turns into an Interrupted Bath when her ex Axel comes in. She promptly grabs a gun she kept within reach and threatens to shoot him, but he pacifies her. She then gets up out of the tub (being covered by Censor Suds) and asks him to throw her a Modesty Towel before they talk.
- Berserk Button: "Don't call me Babe!" (Which led to many jokes about talking pigs.)
- Bury Your Disabled: Barb's blind brother Charlie is tortured to death by the villains.
- Call-Back: Being a blonde curvy girl, riding a motorbike and using the Catchphrase "Don't call me babe!" are the only references to the original comic book and nothing else.
- Captain Obvious: Police Chief Willis deliberately does this near the end of the film: "Look out, she's got a grenade!"
- Combat Stilettos: While not doing as much hand-to-hand combat as usual for this trope, she does enough fighting in them to justify it. And also, she throws one in a guy's head.
- Cute Bruiser: Barb and also the young leader of the resistance within Steel City. Technically this can also cross with Badass Adorable and Little Miss Badass
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Colonel Pryzer (Steve Railsback) is good at these. He makes two threats.Pryzer: Let me make this perfectly clear. If Cora D escapes, I will personally rip your heart out of your ass, and shove it back down your throat.Pryzer: Goddammit Willis, I'm gonna rip you in half!
- Disproportionate Retribution: Barb once shot a person for calling her a "babe."
- Disney Villain Death: Colonel Pryzer, when Barb drops his forklift.
- Evil Laugh: Barb Wire hears the villain do it for at least two minutes as he tries to kill her with a forklift!
- Fanservice: It's a whole movie with Pamela Anderson in either tight, revealing clothing or none at all, what else would you expect?
- Groin Attack: Barb orders a dog to do a "Package check," which means the dog bites the guy on the groin.
- Lock-and-Load Montage: After Barb decides to help out the Resistance, she gets one of these.
- Naked on Arrival: Barb isn't exactly fully clothed during the credits when the audience first sees her and later, she meets her ex-husband's fiance' just after getting out of the bath.
- Navel-Deep Neckline: The neckline in Barb's outfit is so low that her breasts look like they would topple out of her outfit at any time.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Barb spends much of the movie wearing a corset that enhances her already-buxom figure. According to Pamela Anderson, filming the fight scenes while wearing a corset and heels was extremely challenging.
- Recycled In Space: Casablanca in a semi-apocalyptic Detroit; With Boobage.
- Second American Civil War: The film is set during a Second American Civil War between ultra-nationalists and conservatives.
- Shout-Out: A villain named Big Fatso, an obvious allusion to "The Fat Man" played by Sydney Greenstreet.
- Slip into Something More Comfortable: The gentleman in question decides to slip into something less comfortable; a gimp suit. However for Barb this pretty much seems to be wearing almost nothing at all.
- That Man Is Dead: "Miss Kopetski died in the War. I'm Barb Wire."
- Unscrupulous Hero: On the one hand, Barb Wire just wants to run her nightclub. On the other, she's a mercenary and Bounty Hunter during a Civil War, which means she has to do anything she can to survive.