KARATE KID III bad guy Martin Kove makes an unpromising switch to romantic hero in WHITE LIGHT, a clumsy, lifeless, low-budget hybrid of GHOST and FLATLINERS.
Urban cop Sean Craig (Kove) has gone deep undercover to bust big-time gangster David Ramon (George Sperdakos). Ramon's arrest opens the film, and Craig's return to his apartment almost closes it. One of Ramon's thugs has followed him there and shoots him dead on the street. At the morgue,
however, Craig returns miraculously (meaning it's never explained) to life, attracting the keen interest of cardiologist Ella Wingwright (DANCING IN THE DARK's Martha Henry). For no apparent scientific purpose, Wingwright keeps a lab in the basement of her hospital, where she puts monkeys into a
near-death state and brings them back to life. "Death is the final frontier," she rasps by way of explanation.
She's mainly interested in what Craig saw, heard and felt during his death experience, and it turns out he had a dream in which he was leading a placid domestic life with beautiful, voluptuous and blonde Rachel Rutledge (Allison Hassack). But the dream turns into a nightmare when Rachel is shot
by an unseen killer. Craig's dreams continue even after he leaves the hospital and tries to resume his normal life. Convinced that Rachel is real, Craig obsessively begins searching for her, finally finding her as the mystery model at the center of a discontinued advertising campaign for
something--we're never told what--called "White Light," designed by a top fashion photographer who's connected to Ramon.
Ramon becomes unaccountably enraged upon learning of Craig's search for Rachel. It turns out that the real Rachel was the equally obsessive love object of Ramon, who murdered Rachel's parents in a phony car accident to make her totally dependent on him. Ramon thought he had slipped up when it
appeared that Rachel also perished in the accident. She didn't, of course. And, when Craig has Ella put him under one of her death trances, he pieces his dream together, finding it to be a foreshadowing of his coming together with Rachel--and her death at the hands of Ramon, who returns to finish
the job. Craig finds Rachel and tries to make the good parts of his dream come true and edit out the bad parts.
Speaking of which, someone should have edited WHITE LIGHT out of existence. The script is a dreary patchwork of plugged-in themes and ideas from the hits it tries to imitate. Its utter lack of imagination or inventiveness is underscored by Al Waxman's pretty-but-plodding direction and lifeless
performances throughout, especially from Kove, who has no more charisma playing dead than alive, and Sperdakos, who comes across more like an irritable accountant than a ruthless gangster. Hossack is nice to look at, but that's about it. Henry shrugs a lot and chain-smokes, almost stealing the
film. Instead of enchanting or entertaining, WHITE LIGHT might instead induce brain death in those foolish enough to try and sit through it. (Violence, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: KARATE KID III bad guy Martin Kove makes an unpromising switch to romantic hero in WHITE LIGHT, a clumsy, lifeless, low-budget hybrid of GHOST and FLATLINERS. Urban cop Sean Craig (Kove) has gone deep undercover to bust big-time gangster David Ramon (Geo… (more)