What You Need To Know:
(LLL, VV, S) 35-40 obscenities & 22 profanities; graphic violence in beatings & fights; and, sexual immorality implied but not shown.
While men are kinder and gentler in the Summer films of 1991, rough, tough V.I. Warshawski (Kathleen Turner) projects a macho feminine image in her role as a private eye in the film WARSHAWSKI.
In the film, set in Chicago, Warshawski is hired by Kat (Katherine), the 13-year daughter of a murder victim, Boom-Boom, who was the head of the Grayfalk Shipping Lines and a former hockey player, to nab the killer, but soon they are confronted with the seamier side of Chicago’s shipping industry.
After her father’s supposedly accidental death, Kat needs a place to live, so Warshawski helps her out. Along the way, Kat hires V.I. for a dollar to track down her father’s killer.
As Warshawski pursues the killer, she finds out that Kat, not Boom-Boom’s brother nor his ex-wife is the heir to the shipping line. She also discovers a hush-hush plan by Japanese developers for the harbor area where the Grayfalk Lines are headquartered.
Early on, Warshawski finds herself in a Chicago hood’s office where two thugs surprise her and rough her up. Of course, she survives, but sustains a black eye among other minor injuries.
Kat joins her before long and the two pull some interesting capers: one, in a lawyer’s office where Kat distracts the lawyer by yelling “child abuse!” while Warshawski, in an adjoining room, goes through pertinent files. The other takes place in a bank where Warshawski and Kat (again through contrived antics) finagle confidential information from a bank official concerning Kat’s mother’s account.
Among Turner’s exploits in Warshawski: a street fight with local gangsters in which her Karate prowess comes to the fore, and an adrenalin-activating, high-speed boat chase down the Chicago River with Kat and V.I. taking turns at the helm.
Of course, in the end, Warshawski gets her man, or, as it turns out, her woman, and all ends well with Warshawski solving the case and also winning the approval of her sometime love, Murray.
Despite some pluses such as a portrayal of women as something other than sex objects, Warshawski’s considerably rough language and sexual glibness (using slang in reference to male anatomy) definitely detract from seeing her as a “lady” in the true sense of the word. Moreover, observing a woman punching men and them punching her back doesn’t square with the biblical ideal of women (certainly not the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31).
While Hollywood, in its infatuation with the politically correct, is scripting men who are realizing the value of love, wisdom and family, such as REGARDING HENRY and THE DOCTOR (even TERMINATOR II is a more considerate fellow), the women are becoming psychopathic thugs of the first order, who shoot first and ask questions later, as in THELMA AND LOUISE. If the killer male role model was abhorrent, these macho-women are grotesque in the false values they communicate to our impressionable youth.
Although WARSHAWSKI’S plot is believable, its thinness cries out for development and amplification. The craftsmanship is also below par, with a cinematographic “jerkiness” attending several scenes such as the closing waterfront shots where the action is hard to follow because of the camera’s unevenness.
The acting is passable, and Turner comes across as a strong, contemporary, in-charge, with-it, 90’s woman. According to Producer Lurie, “She’s not afraid of duking it out with the hoods of Chicago…She doesn’t need a coterie of male supporters around to save her if she gets into trouble. She’s her own savior.”
Of course, being one’s own savior hardly squares with the biblical view of Jesus Christ being our sole Savior: “to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Jude 25). Therein may lie the real problem with WARSHAWSKI: the film, like the detective, badly needs a savior, or rather the Savior.
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