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White Fire - White Fire( Blu Ray) [Arrow Video - 2020]

White Fire is a 1984 film directed by Jean-Marie Pallardy, a former male model who became bored with his career choices and decided to become a film director. Pallardy was most prolific during the 1970s and early 80s as a director of softcore erotic films, he was responsible for both Emanuelle Goes to College and Emanuelle III, but White Fire remains his most famous and celebrated film amongst cult movie fans.

Originally released in 1984, White Fire tells the story of a brother and sister Boris ‘Bo’ Donnelly (played by The Exterminator’s Robert Ginty) and Ingrid Donnelly (played by Belinda Mayne of Krull and Alien 2: Sulla Terra fame) who escape, when as children their parents are brutally murdered whilst trying to evade some sort of Eastern European looking, military group. Twenty years later and Bo and Ingrid have settled in Turkey, operating as diamond thieves. Ingrid works undercover at a diamond mine, and when she and her boss, Olaf (Gordon Mitchell) are taken to see the near-mythical White Fire diamond, the miner who discovered it is murdered by Olaf who plans to take it for himself. Ingrid is then murdered because she knows the diamond’s whereabouts. Bo, who has an unnatural affection for his sister, is distraught and takes to wandering the beaches of Turkey until he meets an Ingrid lookalike Olga, who is invited by Bo and his business partner Sam (Jess Hahn) to join them as Ingrid’s replacement. Olga undergoes plastic surgery to ensure she looks even more like Ingrid, in order to try to get into the mine and steal the white fire. The whole thing kicks off in the final 30 minutes which I won’t go into as it will spoil the film for new viewers, but what I will say is that it goes to town with some impressive action sequences involving the great Fred Williamson as the lead thug who is trying to track down Olga for his boss.

White Fire is classic exploitation fare, factoring in some pretty impressive action sequences, in particular Ginty’s gory chainsaw fight and a pretty brutal bandsaw murder. To be fair the film has it all, a completely mad plot featuring nudity, gore, explosions, murder, revenge, incest, and diamonds.  What more could the average exploitation fan want? I think it’s worth raising the issue of the somewhat icky underlying relationship between brother and sister Bo and Ingrid. At several points, Bo makes suggestions that the pair have a relationship that goes beyond a platonic brother and sister style love. During one particular sex scene between Bo and Olga, we are treated to flashback images of Bo and Ingrid, to suggest that Bo is thinking about Ingrid rather than Olga, to make matters even plainer after Olga has plastic surgery to look like Ingrid, Bo seems to fall deeply in love with her and on several occasions refers to her by his dead sister’s name.

White Fire is a wild ride through 80s exploitation excess. Ginty is superb as Bo, and Belinda Mayne is perfectly cast as the beautiful Ingrid. Fred Williamson’s turn is one of the film’s highlights as he turns up purely to act as Fred Williamson, which is never a bad thing. If you’re looking for a fun way to waste an hour and a half this definitely fits the bill, it doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not, it is just an overloaded action flick that works like a checklist of exploitation tropes. For added interest, the film also features an excellent electronic score from Deep Purple and Whitesnake keyboard legend Jon Lord.

On top of everything else the disc features some good bonus material, firstly there is an audio commentary with the always knowledgeable and interesting Kat Ellinger, and new interviews with director Jean-Marie Pallardy, editor Bruno Zincone and actor Fred Williamson, as well as the standard trailer. Overall, this is another top release from Arrow films who continue to give us great looking material with interesting and informative bonus content.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Darren Charles
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