Doling Out Punishment to the Man

White Line Fever holds the unique distinction of being the only pro-trucker soap opera in all of cinema. Take pro wrestling out of the ring, add some big rigs and white collar economic anxiety, and poof – out pops White Line Fever.

Jan Michael Vincent stars as Carrol Jo Hummer, spending a chunk of the movie serenaded by honky tonk jams and worrying for his defenseless wife who has to consider abortion because of financial troubles. White Line Fever doesn’t branch out in demographics; it’s a trucker action flick for truckers.

There’s a bit of Americana in here. Hummer buys his own truck, stays on the right side of law, and travels the west. In the end, White Line Fever turns an evil eye toward corporate profit-driven motives on the little guy. Hummer, the hero, is willing to point his shotgun at the establishment. Winning means violence and fighting for right, leading to a slew of brawls with a touch of old-fashioned Hollywood cowboy punches.

A preposterous, dopey movie, but White Line Fever knew how to reach the necessary audience

The script takes shots at the younger generation’s lacking work ethic, and cheaply snipes a black man’s urge to reject the way things are; it’s a story of white men doling out punishment to one another. White Line Fever reaches absurd extremes and casts most characters as bland good/evil caricatures. Simplicity wins, less this truck drivin’ romp get too complicated on the issues.

In the mix of hokey tropes and daytime TV romance, White Line Fever sprouts a story of working together. In-between, a sense of America’s Union days that happened decades before this movie. Worker’s fought for rights with violence. This movie capitalizes on that ideal. In his last, symbolic defiant act, Hummer stares down corrupt law on corporate payroll and smashes his privately owned big rig through a logo. Only then do people stand with him.

Using the open road for much of the runtime, the third act begins to close down. Scenes of board rooms with expensive desks and flustered secretaries replace those of Hummer in his driver’s seat. The difference is key – those elitist snobs playing golf, goofing off in their corner offices don’t measure up to the will of small time entrepreneurs.

By 1975, wealth inequality started to impact the middle class. White Line Fever is an early example, with the working wife sweating in a factory, the husband seeking any paying gig, but it’s still not enough to raise a family. A preposterous, dopey movie, but White Line Fever knew how to reach the necessary audience, and it’s not without truth.

Video

Passable. That sums up the Blu-ray debut of White Line Fever. Mill Creek sends the disc out with chunky compression, leading to often significant artifacting. Black levels skip true black. That’s inviting to blocking that sheds detail. Grain becomes digital, although controlled.

In terms of the scan, moderate detail resolves a variety of location cinematography. Pleasing shots of Utah wilds and suburban streets handle definition well. Facial detail scores in close, sharp and perky. Texture stays high and consistent.

White Line Fever’s HD disc creates some grand color too. Stout primaries deliver the blue of Hummer’s truck, some outstanding greenery, and near bleeding reds. Bright, but not over zealous as to rob White Line Fever of stability.

It’s an older print, a little dusty in spots but holds up. No evidence of deep scratches show, and gate weave is managed.

Audio

While one explosion becomes a touch too bright and challenges treble, the rest of this DTS-HD mono track creates a pure, organic audio mix. A pure country soundtrack produces smooth low-end with sharp lyrics.

Crisp dialog holds age, no more than is expected for this period.

Extras

Nothing. That matches the VHS throwback slipcover at least.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

White Line Fever
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Jan Michael Vincent stands up for the little guy in White Line Fever’s goofy, pro-working man soap opera story that goes the distance.

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