Arrow Video: Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend: White Fire (1984) - Reviewed

The poster for White Fire (1984) is a magical piece of art, with Robert Ginty front and center holding a giant chainsaw in front of his crotch--this thing couldn't be more of a stand-in for his penis if it tried. He's surrounded by explosions, a sexy lady pointing a gun, people in futuristic helmets, and Fred Williamson striking a decidedly bad ass kung fu pose. Not one inch of space has gone to waste. Just judging by the poster this is possibly the greatest action film of the '80s! In's not even close, but damn if it wasn't entertaining anyway!

Robert Ginty was known for his turn as John Eastland in the grimy exploitation flick The Exterminator four years earlier in 1980, and White Fire even has a cheeky nod to it with some flamethrower action at the beginning of the film. It starts out with the protagonist Bo as a child running away from what appear to be Nazis (I'm not sure how this timeline works with the bulk of the film taking place in the '80s but you just gotta roll with it) and his parents are murdered. He manages to escape with his sister and the film shifts to present day where adult Bo (Ginty) and his sister Ingrid (Belinda Mayne) now work in a diamond mine. For whatever reason, this mine looks like it's in the future and all the employees wear space outfits and the interior of it looks like a low-rent version of the Enterprise. This is never explained or even acknowledged at any point. Maybe they had these outfits laying around the dressing room from another movie, who knows.

This diamond mine has a dazzling secret--a legendary stone known as White Fire, a diamond so big and bright that it literally burns anyone who touches it. Some unsavory types want to get their hands on it and it's up to Bo and Ingrid to find out a way to stop them (and steal the diamond for themselves). The initial set-up is simple, but where the real high-octane "what in the fuck" factor comes in is the relationship that Bo has with his sister. He's obviously in love with her, and there is one incredibly creepy scene where he finds Ingrid skinny dipping in a pool and he ogles her longingly saying "It's too bad you are my sister!" This isn't even the half of it, their relationship goes from icky right off a goddamn cliff into some Greek mythology style implied incest--the mechanics of which I will leave as a surprise for anyone who wants to check this film out.

The action in the film is adequate and if you like chainsaw fights you will find a lot to love here. The second act drags a bit, but it's saved by Fred Williamson suddenly appearing and being his usual suave and charismatic self. The theme song White Fire, by Limelight, is a rockin' power ballad that comes in at all the best times--for example when there is a fuckin' chainsaw fight. Despite some slow sections, White Fire is a fun little '80s oddity with a bonkers script and lots of boobs, chainsaws, Robert Ginty smirking, and Fred Williamson being awesome.

The transfer on the Arrow release is quite nice and there are a plethora of extras to explore. The interview with director Jean-Marie Pallardy is great, he's a funny and animated guy who has quite a bit to say about where he got his ideas from for the film.


High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation

Original Mono audio - Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Feature length audio commentary by critic Kat Ellinger

Surviving The Fire: a brand new interview with writer-director Jean-Marie Pallardy

Enter The Hammer: a brand new interview with actor Fred Williamson

Diamond Cutter: a brand new interview with editor Bruno Zincone

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing on the film by film historian and author Julian Grainger

--Michelle Kisner