Skip to content

Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

Challenge to White Fang

(Il ritorno di Zanna Bianca)
1974 | FranceItalyWest Germany | 98 min | More...
A still from Challenge to White Fang (1974)
  • Watched on D: 2 stars (out of 5)
    on Wed Dec 15, 2021 via Blu-ray

    This sequel to White Fang finds original baddie Beauty Smith once again terrorizing a Yukon mining town.

    After swapping the first film’s moppet for a new blonde one, the film meanders through the usual boy meets dog beats. Franco Nero makes a nice entrance midway through, but proves tangential to the story. Instead, we get a ludicrous scene where White Fang saves the moppet from an eagle attack.

    For a moment, I thought director Lucio Fulci would deliver his trademark eye violence, but no. Though he does stage an uncomfortable sequence where the townsfolk mob drive White Fang out of town.

    The production values indicate a bigger budget. Unlike the first film, there are no obvious soundstage shots. Fulci crafts some beautiful wide-screen images, including a memorable shot of a dog sled winding down an all-white mountain.

    But the script offers no emotional stakes. Major deaths don’t resonate and the new moppet feels stretched beyond his range.

    Worst of all, Nero goes from a total badass in the first film—capable of pummeling a horde of Smith’s goons—to ineffectual here, getting literally whipped by a bookish weasel. Disappointing.