Tuesday, May 19
A.K.A. Vivre pour survivre
Directed by Jean-Marie Pallardy
98 Minutes / Trans World Entertainment / Cropped from 2.35:1 to full screen
Robert Ginty and Belinda Mayne star as siblings saved from murder as children to now work for a diamond mining operation guarded by stocky men in black jumpsuits and Darth Vader helmets. Mayne discovers along with her boss (a very on-vacation Gordon Mitchell) a large diamond previously thought a myth known as the "white fire." The problem is the rock requires special equipment for removal since it causes nasty burns upon flesh.
Mayne is targeted and ultimately murdered for what she knows, yet is "reborn" from a woman (Mayne in a dual role) Ginty meets at a bar that gets her face transplanted by some mystical surgeon at some kind of strange botanical utopia. Or something, she basically gets a new hairdo, but now all that matters is Ginty can finally have sex with his sister...sorta...
The word gets out and several parties become interested in obtaining the legendary diamond by any means. One is led by a slumming Fred Williamson with tiger claw action in toe and the other by Mirella Banti best known as the ravishing Italian babe who gets slashed in nothing but a towel by Argento's black glove in Tenebre.
Being shot in Turkey, expect many thugs with thick black mustaches, but then again most everyone sports the macho look. They also can't seem to even fall over dead or handle a gun properly without inducing hilarity. Also surprisingly there's close-up snippets of fairly painful looking bloody slash and gash effects work--even a bandsaw between the legs.
However there's quite a few problems, chiefly the convoluted plot and boring midsection as Ginty glumly wanders around before finding his sister...sorta...again. This is hard to recommend, but there's just enough terrible acting, absolutely dumb lines, and Mayne fully nude to say to schlocky action fanatics to keep an eye out. On a final note, director Jean-Marie Pallardy apparently was so proud of his accomplishment his name in the opening credits is actually his signature written like he just penned the next Great American Novel. Hahaha!
VHS Picture: 7/10
VHS Sound: 6/10