Directed by: BJ Davis
Starring: William Katt, Rosalind Chao, Wayne Crawford, John Barrett, and Reb Brown
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 (1980). 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.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett