White Fire stands as probably one the most embarrassing action thrillers to come out of Turkey. Granted I'm no expert on Turkish action thrillers but it's hard to imagine a more painful movie than this gem, which uses and abuses the image of Fred "The Hammer" Williamson along with allowing It's reluctant star Robert Ginty to wander about the film in what looks like a drunken stupor. But it's doubtful that Ginty was intoxicated since a drunk man could never match Ginty's signature style of lethargic performance punctuated with brief gasps retard strength. Ginty is a true original, but this movie is unremarkable trash which make The Exterminator look like Citizen Kane.
In the opening pre-credits sequence, we watch as a group of thugs pursue a small group of people through the woods. Folks get shot at, chased, set on fire and then chased some more. Eventually an even smaller group of people make it to a beach where the chase concludes and two kids, siblings Bo and Ingrid, end up to be the sole survivors and only make through the efforts of the "good" thug Sam.
Flash forward one or two years. In Turkey: Ingrid (Diana Goodman) and Bo (Robert Ginty) are full-grown and working for Sam as crooks...or something. Anyway, they all live together in a big villa and everyone's happy. Ingrid is working at a diamond mine which doesn't even look like a diamond mine; it has big high-fences, computer systems and tons of storm trooper-like guards who run around in red jump suits. Every bad foreign action movie must have people running around in red jump suits. Anyway, I hate to be harsh because maybe Turkish diamond fields are like this. I don't get out often.
As the lead actor of the film, Ginty is his usual low-key persona. Whether it be the b-level of directors which he works with or some kind of deep character flaw within the man himself, Ginty has never projected the usual role of fully-formed protagonistic juggernaut. Vengeance is a prime motive in most of Ginty's films, but whereas lesser talents would "take it like a man" and come out of their shell, Ginty's portrayal is often that of a man prone to intense paranoia and doubt, a man under attack by modern society and it's pitfalls. Ginty is almost a pre-natal fawn, tumbling around in his self-imposed womb of pity and doubt. Of course it's partially an act, but I think it goes deeper than that. He's a weird man who stars in weird films and I hope I never meet him on the street. I'd probably let Woody Allen around my kids before Robert Ginty. He's strikes me as an eerie guy. With an eerie look. Eerie.
Edde video is not a company known for quality; in fact they released some very good zombie films in atrocious EP-Mode cassettes. Their release of White Fire mantains their usual mediocre standards, as the beginning of the tape abruptly cuts in with the no opening logos. The film ends in a similar jagged manner. This is real crappy stuff folks; low-quality video, a pointless movie and one fucking chainsaw fight to keep you awake for and hour and a half. Some may find this all funny, but I guess I take movies and life too seriously. Making Fred "The Hammer" suck ain't funny to me.
So this big futuristic diamond mind has all these diamond detectors so no one can sneak out with the booty, but Ingrid manages work ingratiate herself with the boss and sneak some out. Unfortunately both Ingrid and Bo get haijacked but some local pirates while escaping and Ginty has to fight his way out of a dock full of awful-looking thugs...cue the film's only major action scene, where Ginty picks up a chainsaw and starts whacking it into the thugs's legs. Fun stuff. Bo and Ingrid hop onto the nearby boat of somebody doing some topless sunbathing. They escape.
One day a worker in the mines accidentally discovers "white fire," a big glowing radioactive rock which has gained legendary status within the Turkish diamond community. Ingrid's boss kills the poor guy who found it and conspires to lift the diamond with the help of those same local pirates but they're only big problem is Ingrid. After Ingrid enjoys one late-night nude swim (where Bo steals her towel and taunts her for a few seconds, yow) she gets ambushed and murdered by a group of thugs. Boo hooo.
Bo is driven to drink by this development, and just by some sick evil twist of fate he finds a prostitute in a club who bears a striking resemblance to Ingrid! What a fucking coincidence. Bo and Sam concoct a wild scheme to use the call girl to break in to the diamond mine and steal white fire for themselves, but they still have to deal with the formidable threat of the local bootleggers combined with a shady character (Fred Williamson) who wants to regain possession of his lost hooker. It all ends in a climactic showdown at the diamond mind where more thugs (in red jump suitis) get killed, people run around and White Fire blows up.
"The Hammer," Stands around, flashes a tired-looking smile and points guns at people. And he looks real old. And tired. Notice the key words here: OLD and TIRED, which basically describes the entire movie. The most insulting aspect of Fred's involvement comes in his only action scene where he's reduced to jumping off a small embankment (Fred likes jumping off things, see Vigilante) and putting his karate moves on an old man! Quite a comedown for the Black Caesar, but it's all keeping in this film's general theme of humiliating it's actors along with the audience.
AKA Vivre pour survivre/ 1984, 98 min. / Directed by Jean-Marie Pallardy / EDDE Video / NTSC VHS / 1.33:1 / Mono