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Although I haven't seen every Vietnam war-movie in the world yet, this
does rank a bit above average, based on pure entertainment-value alone.
I was fortunate enough to find this non-classic movie on a fairly cheap Scandinavian DVD-release, and immediately had to buy it (based on other good experiences with movies starring William Katt, Wayne Crawford and Reb Brown), and when I finally decided to see it - after three years of sitting on the shelf - I wasn't disappointed one bit.
The story is somewhat as follows: When the American soldiers went home from Viet Nam (that's how they spell it) in 1969, not everyone got out in time. The highly skilled soldier Steve Shepard aka "White Ghost" (William Katt) has lived out in the jungle for 15 years, and has even made a nice tree-house for himself and his Asian girlfriend Thi (Rosalind Chao), who is pregnant with his child. After all this time, the Americans discover that he's still out there, and decide to send out a team of mercenaries to finally rescue him and learn what he knows from his stay in the jungle for all those years - he had gathered a large amount of dead American soldier's dog-tags, and now their families will finally know what happened to their missing relatives.
But something goes wrong, and the commanding officer Major Cross (Reb Brown) unfortunately sends off a team led by a grudge-holding scumbag, Captain Walker (Wayne Crawford), who doesn't intend to get Shepard back alive. Now it is up to Cross to get him out of there himself, and up to Shepard to both keep himself and his girlfriend alive, not only from the evil gang of mercenaries, but also from the equally evil Vietnamese soldiers who are right on their tails.
Now, this movie is really fantastic, it keeps your interest from the very first frame, and has enough interesting ideas and scenes to never let up. The violence isn't as extreme like the other reviewers suggested, but sufficient to keep both action- and gore-hounds satisfied. Lots of shooting, explosions, and even a car-chase in the jungle is always nice!
Bonus: One of the bad guys look eerily like Jesse Ventura (as he did in "Predator"), pretty sure his name's Karl Johnson, but not 100% certain. Also, there were many cool boobie-traps in the jungle, just like in "First Blood".
Recommended only for those who either enjoy all sorts of Vietnam war-movies, or just for those who like extreme action-scenes.. which, actually becomes quite humorous, especially when watching it with friends.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, Alexander, this movie has been released on DVD after all. But it
is hard to understand why.
It's very violent, but entertaining in some bizarre kind of way. The main character hardly says anything, but runs around in the jungle, like the white ghost he is, and kills people. On the whole there are a lot of running people in the movie: the "ghost", mercenaries, the vietnamese soldiers and it's hard sometimes to know who's who.
No similarities in other respects, the movie ends with a scene quite similar to that scene in "Platoon" where Sgt. Elias gets killed and the guys sit in the helicopter watching and trying to help.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Steve Shepard (Katt) was a soldier in Vietnam. But after all his fellow
soldiers went home, Shepard stayed behind. He developed a life for
himself in the jungle, and even got a Vietnamese wife (Chao), who now
is pregnant with their child. But, to the locals in rural 'Nam, he's
known as the "White Ghost". (He even wears white pancake makeup to
further compound his reputation). Maj. Cross (Brown) decides to extract
Shepard from the jungle, bring him back to the U.S., and find out what
he knows. To do this, he hires a team of mercenaries. Now, with both
the mercenaries and the Vietnamese army out for his blood, will Steve
survive to white it up another day? When we first see William Katt
here, he looks like Christopher Atkins from The Blue Lagoon. i.e.,
Blonde and nearly nude. Somehow, after 15 years in the Vietnamese
jungle, he still has a stylish perm. His bizarre afro/mullet hybrid
aside, you have to admire his dedication to the hottest styles. Katt's
performance (as well as his "outfits"), and to a certain extent, the
movie itself, is reminiscent of the great Deadly Prey (1987) - but
without about 90% of that movie's insanity. But, rest assured, about
10% is left over.
White Ghost's director, BJ Davis, is the man responsible for Laser Mission (1989), so, there you go. While we greatly enjoyed Katt's presence here (especially his "conviction face"), and think it's a shame he wasn't in more movies like this in the 70's and 80's, we also felt Wings Hauser could have filled the Steve Shepard role nicely.
While the movie does start slow, it's worth hanging in there, because it does pick up steam as it goes along. White Ghost is pretty much a slightly above average 80's VHS Vietnam action movie, with all the trappings that would imply. Torture, shooting, booby traps, blow-ups, and of course the guard tower falls and exploding huts we all know and enjoy. But there are plenty of funny and silly moments as well to keep the viewers' interest even further.
As far as the mercenaries in this particular jungle, or the "White Ghost Team" with its "White Ghost Leader", there's the guy that looks like Stallone, the guy that looks like Jesse Ventura, the beardo and John Barrett. Barrett doesn't do all that much here, but you can chalk up another actioner for his underrated career. Their character names aren't all that important, but the scenes with the mercs do provide some more good bits in the film. As for fan favorite Reb Brown, you have to wait almost the whole movie to hear his trademark yells, but they're there all right.
Released on TransWorld in VHS in the 80's, White Ghost is a decent, good movie, worth picking up if you see it somewhere cheap.
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Although the worrying start will have you saying "What the?", this Vietnam yarn (nothing more) quickly redeems itself, and becomes an involving film, where ex vet Katt, below par, is still in Vietnam, where he's so often shacks up with girlfriend Chao. It's now 1987, and an elite team of mercenaries, are ordered by the Pentagon to find and eliminate Katt, where a few complications, arise. The Commander of this squad really has a hard on for Katt, who wouldn't mind seeing his arch enemy squeal before he dies. He's reasons mirror that in the same scenario of back story, done in Heated Vengeance. One of the Commander's squad (Hewitt) who's very much against it, sides with Katt, where our wrong cast lead must take on the elite force and Charlie who come out like ants. They have kidnapped Chao, and for Katt, his work is definitely cut out for him, where it becomes quite of a heavy mission itself. White Ghost has some gutsy moments, among explosions, close calls, and a little love making. The near mine trip scene is tense. It's start has Katt, just roaming through Vietnam, with the ever present Charlie about, his long curly hair, just gleamimg in the daylight, although he's just stepped off the make up truck, though I wouldn't really joke about that. He doesn't say much, but is just sheer wrong for the part, who like me, will have you thinking that, all the way through. That's just the vibe, you'll get. But Katt went pretty much out of action, after The Greatest American Hero, so he pretty much needed the work, discounting Baby and House. On the whole WG isn't a bad Nam' actioner at all, with good plotting, but too an admirable lead up/finale, when an old Vet buddy, goes into save him. The one major fallback here, sadly is Katt. By the way, White Ghost is a term for a Vet who disappeared off the radar, believed to be dead, or not, where in Katt's case, he's pretty much alive.
When you think about an ex-American soldier from the Vietnam war raging havoc in that country in the 1980s a la "Rambo", it is very unlikely that the first actor someone would picture in the role would be William Katt. Yet here he is in one of the biggest miscasting decisions I've seen in a movie for a long time. Seeing him act like Rambo does occasionally bring in some amusement, but that's about all the entertainment value "White Ghost" has. Although shot in Zimbabwe(!), the jungle locations are badly chosen, making the movie look like it was shot in the wilds of Florida. These locations and the actors are almost entirely shot with the cheap technique of having everything close to the camera. The action sequences are routine at best, and the story and characters we have seen in dozens of other movies before. If you come across a dusty copy in a thrift store, it's best to leave it alone and move to something else.
In this movie like many other Vietnam war films, Vietnam army is shown as weaker that US army. But everybody know that US lost this war. Vietnam officer tells this to Thi "We fought them and won". But in movie, Vietnamese soldiers can't shoot an American standing exposing his body in a short distance. Entire Vietnamese squad could not kill one American. Can any special force commando expose his body and destroy an entire army camp? This is an insult to Vietnam army who crashed the US forces very cleverly in Vietnam war. An army as shown in this film can be defeated by any person who can operate a gun. No special force training is needed. Apart from this weaknesses, it gives good hand to hand fight scenes. What is the purpose of Lt Steve's stay in the jungle? Was he on an undercover mission and later the connection with US army or CIA was lost? Major Cross states something about such operation and Steve says to a mercenary about his commanding officer is holding a woman and child. What is Thi? Is she working for US? Or did Steve stay in Vietnam to live with Thi? Walker and his bald sidekick are the most villains who kills the members of their platoon too. Movie would be more realistic if the war scenes were presented not making Steve a bulletproof superman. The love of Thi to Steve is very emotionally presented. Rosalind's acting as a woman bearing any pain to protect her man is appreciable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILER WARNING this is a cheap and very violent film . I've only seen it once....and i actually own this on VHS.....and trust me, this won't be ever released on DVD......it's just awful. Imagine this as the worst Rambo imitation you'll ever see. the title character is supposed to contain the souls of all the dead u.s soldiers in the vietnam war(!)still want to know more about this??? the pentagon gives orders to kill him and all you see during the movie is blood and suffering, and that's it........ it's very unpleasant to watch this.........although i keep the copy in my video collection * out of 5
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