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|Index||30 reviews in total|
It is remarkable to me how much affection and revulsion this watchable, incomplete misfire of a film can inspire, here among the Comments and elsewhere; I haven't seen more than a few minutes of it for several years, but did see it in a theater in its original run. Kathleen Turner as VIW is too much a flirt to conform to Sara Paretsky's portrait of her detective, but otherwise gives a decent performance that, better than the script, gets across Warshawski's toughness, wit and unwillingness to suffer fools any more than she has to. The film, as someone else noted, would've done well to be a more faithful adaptation of one of the early novels, rather than pulling bits from several and then letting the plot go completely slack by the last third. But there are nice touches, here and there; Wayne Knight was born to play the petty thug and childhood schoolmate of Warshawski. But the hastiness and corner-cutting of the production is unfortunately evident. One wonders if a second film, with a better script and crew, might've been quite good.
For the time this movie was released, it really is a solid film. One I
stop and watch anytime I catch it on cable. I like Kathleen Turner as
Vic and see her as Vic when I read Paretsky's Blacklist (2004) and
Indemity Only (1982). Paretsky is such a skilled writer that I read all
332 pages of Indemity Only completely in one Saturday. This would have
been a good vehicle/series for Ms. Turner if the movie had followed the
novels closer. They should have hired Paretsky to write the screen
The screenwriters, Edward Taylor, David Aaron Cohen, & Nick Thiel, I believe are responsible for this film being unsuccessful at the box office. It appears they did not read the books or believe themselves that a women could be a private investigator. Paretsky gave them a well rounded, gritty, thorough character. The screenwriters tried to make it a comedy/action film and dishonored Paretsky in their representation of her character. The screen play should have been written as an action/thriller along the lines of Patriot Games (1992), an action/crime like the Italian Job (2003), or a mystery along the lines of the Thomas Crown affair (1999). All have comedic moments in them and would be better genres for the V.I. Warshawki novels.
Maybe if Ms. Turner is up to it she could revive the character or perhaps Charlize Theron would take a shot at it.
In the 1980's Kathleen Turner was a tremendous star. Several of her films were huge box-office hits:"Romancing the Stone"(1984), "Jewel of the Nile"(1986), "Peggy Sue Got Married"(Best Actress Oscar nomination,1986), and "The War of the Roses"(1989). Critics loved her in John Huston's "Prizzi's Honor"(1985) and "The Accidental Tourist"(1987). Her sexy voice helped make "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"(1988) an enormous blockbuster. And who can forget her star-making performance that made her quite the sex-symbol in "Body Heat"(1981). When "V.I. Warshawski" came out Turner was still at her peak. The huge success of "War of the Roses" made her the #1 female star at US BoxOffices in early 1990. But "V.I." opened to disastrous reviews. She is actually very good in it but the script is so mediocre and the direction is so flat. She is given nothing to work with but her vibrant personality and sultry looks keep it together. The film ended up pulling in only 12 million in the US. This disaster immediately derailed Turner's career. Male stars like Bruce Willis and Nicolas Cage can star in one flop after another pulling in huge salaries but it does not matter as long as they get an occasional blockbuster. But take a huge Female star like Turner- give her one colossal dud and she is more or less finished in Hollywood. Turner's career never recovered. A few more mediocre duds followed then her looks went so now she is stuck in supporting roles that make it hard to believe she was once among the greatest of female stars. Maybe she can make a comeback as a star character actress. WHo knows.
Viewed this movie on 11/20/04, and it was so entertaining that it kept
me up until two in the morning. My wife, who has markedly different
tastes than I do, liked it enough to stay up with me. Imagine my
surprise when I went to Maltin to look up a character, and found it
classed as a BOMB. He panned it as wretchedly scripted, directed and
photographed. To the contrary, I found the script to be easily
followed, something that is getting more and more rare in this age of
obscure scripts. If it was poorly directed, the actors are geniuses,
becaust the scenes hung together well, were understandable and seemed
completely natural, even though the story line was a bit picaresque.
The photography was certainly adequate to tell the story without
intruding on it.
Maltin and I may have seen different movies, because his plot summary spoke of a murdered hockey player, and without betraying too much of the plot, there were plenty of murders but no hockey player in the movie I saw. The plot in the movie I saw was delightfully complex, with a number of twists and turns that would have done O'Henry proud. All in all, it was two hours well spent.
V.I. Warshawski is my all-time favorite movie, and I don't know why people
keep butchering it so bad. It's an intriguing mystery that pulls you in and
doesn't let you go until the end.
Kathleen Turner shines as detective Victoria Warshawksi whom is hired by the 13 year old girl, Kat, she is babysitting to find out who murdered her father. With suspects at every corner, Vic doesn't know who to trust and who not to. Kat joins forces with Vic in a more helpful approach to the situation, getting information that Vic can't obtain herself eliminating suspects and narrowing it down to one. The ending will blow your mind, as it isn't expected.
Filmed on Chicago's waterfront, V.I. Warshawski delivers the goods for intrigue, mystery, and top notch action! If you haven't seen it, give it a chance. It's worth the 1.99 rental price - don't listen to anyone who says this movie unbearable to watch because it's an outstanding film and one of Kathleen Turner's best.
I have just seen Kathleen Turnjer in "V.I. Warshawski" for the third time and, for the third time, am at a total loss to understand the panning/overall rating of 4.3 awarded to it by previous reviewers. I think the movie DOES reflect a lot of the Paretsky original novels and think Turner does a good job in portraying "the dick from the dock" in a manner which combines both respect for the literary character and the kind of gritty, down-to-earth film noir genre which the film obviously pays its debts to. This latter aspect is particularly apparent in the DIALOGUE, much of which my wife and I found hysterical and easily on a par with such remakes of Chandler as the "Farewell, My Lovely" version of the 1970s with Robert Mitchum and Charlotte Rampling. Like the letter, "V.I." is not going to be rated as "The Maltese Falcon" or "The Big Sleep" of the 1990s, but I still think it is a sound, entertaining and engaging piece of work, which does not deserve the reviews mentioned above. Now that we are past the "Blow 'em up / SFX-dominated" fayre of "Die Hard 27"or whatever, is it time for a follow-up to what was, in my view, sadly, Turner's sole donning of the red glitter shoes of V.I. with another actress in the role?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a native of Chicago, I can't say enough about how beautifully the city was photographed in this movie. As for the film itself, the story kept moving at an engaging pace as detective V.I. Warshawski "follows the money" and solves the murder of a former pro hockey player. Turner is aggressive, sexy, sultry, and vulnerable in this role. Maybe more street-smart, Chicago toughness in her delivery. The writing, overall, was adequate. Warshawski's general observations about the stupidity and gullibility of men tasted to me like watered-down feminism on a piece of stale, Chicago deep-dish pizza after a while. I wasn't often convinced that the female detective was a physical threat to the male villains. The ending with a double-opponent elimination was OK but I would like to have seen her action skills equal those of Bruce Willis for true equality to prevail. After all, the key to this action genre is the ability of the detective to overcome overwhelming physical and mental opposition. A pleasant, movie-of-the-week kind of yarn, though better. And that beautiful city!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie does have some things going for it; above all, the performances of Kathleen Turner and Angela Goethals. Turner fits the profile of her character and is believably tough, sarcastic and funny, while Goethals is one of the best teen actresses I've seen in a while, with a sharp timing that matches Turner; those two make an enjoyable team. And yet something holds the movie back from being anything more than a passable diversion - maybe it's the plot, which is interesting for the most part but gets a little too far-fetched at the end (without spoiling anything, I couldn't easily accept that "person A" was so intent on killing "person B"), or maybe it's the direction, which doesn't have enough style and doesn't make much use of the Chicago locations (apart from a boat chase). It's kind of a shame that this movie didn't get any sequels - they had the right actress for the part, all they needed was a better vehicle for her. ** out of 4.
I keep thinking the other people who have commented on this movie saw a different movie than I did. I totally enjoyed it, Kathleen Turner delivers a wisecrack better than anyone and her mocking laugh in the bathtub scene is too much! She shows her vulnerable side yet you know that V.I. can take care of herself when she has to. The foul mouthed little girl made me cringe a little with her first words in the movie. The chemistry between V.I. and the girl works for me. Randy Edleman's music for the movie really delivers as well. My test of a film really centers on the characters. If I like the characters and care about them that's usually enough. This film has a story which is more than I can say for other more popular films. I would give it 4 stars out of 5.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"V.I. Warshawski" (Kathleen Turner) is a private detective who is hired by a former hockey player named "Bernard 'Boom Boom' Grafalk" (Stephen Meadows) to investigate some deals involving his two brothers. When her client is murdered she not only inherits the murder case but temporarily gets Bernard's 13 year-old daughter "Kat" (Angela Goethals) as well. Throw in a shady mob figure by the name of "Smeissen" (Wayne Knight), a fatherly cop "Lt. Mallory" (Charles Durning) and a two-timing newspaper journalist named "Murray" (Jay O. Sanders) and what develops is a good action movie with plenty of humor along the way. Now, while this movie certainly has some faults what I liked best about it was the performance of Kathleen Turner who I thought did quite well in spite of some weak dialogue and a couple of rather obvious and predictable scenes. She also had some great legs. In any case, I enjoyed the movie and I rate it as slightly above average.
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