You can’t be much worse-offski than to sit through V.I. Warshawski. Klutzy murder mystery [from a screen story by Edward Taylor] was obviously intended to be the first in a hoped-for series about the eponymous femme detective impersonated by Kathleen Turner.
Somewhere behind the vast underachievement here, one can discern that there was screen promise in the blue collar female dick of Sara Paretsky’s novels. The daughter of a cop and a habitue of sports bars on Chicago’s North Side, this salty, sexy, streetwise straight-shooter clearly could have represented a refreshing new twist on the standard issue private investigator.
The story has Warshawski getting involved in dirty business among three warring brothers. One brother, the good-looking Boom-Boom Grafalk, a former hockey player for whom V.I. has eyes, is killed in a suspicious dockside explosion. Warshawski also is responsible for Boom-Boom’s 13-year-old daughter Kat (Angela Goethals), for whom she was babysitting when the girl’s father was sent into permanent slumber.
From a filmmaking point of view, it is all uninspired and perfunctory, utterly lacking in a sense of style that might have made this punchy fun. Centerscreen throughout, Turner would seem to have been perfectly cast in such a sassy, confident part, but even she can’t drive a totally rusty vehicle.
[For pic’s UK release the handle Detective in High Heels were added to posters.]