Fatal Beauty | Chicago Reader

Fatal Beauty

Whoopi's back, and the LAPD's got her. One has to wait about 90 minutes before the cartoonish slam-bang action, bloodbath gore, and Whoopi Goldberg's wisecracks about the size and threatened fate of diverse penises subside long enough for her to “act”: one nice little scene to show her character's vulnerability and preach the evils of hard drugs before the movie reverts to the same nonsensical overkill of violence and tough talk. The characters are uniformly cardboard—including bits by Jennifer Warren and Brad Dourif, and a larger part with Sam Elliott as a crook's bodyguard who turns into a pussycat in order to win the heart of Goldberg's Dirty Harry cop. The notion of a black female detective who's harder than anyone else in the Western Hemisphere seems to hark back to the fantasies of certain black exploitation films of the 70s, but the movie has too little imagination to do much with this conceit other than repeat it endlessly. Tom Holland directed from a script and story credited to three individuals, anyone could have knocked this one out during coffee break. The title, incidentally, refers not to Goldberg but to a brand of lethally cut cocaine, the ostensible pretext for all this mayhem.


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