The General's Daughter
Review by Ross Anthony

John Travolta plays Paul Brenner, a cocky military investigator shaking up the top brass after the General's Daughter turns up dead. It's the type of role Bruce Willis would have loved. That's not to say John isn't commanding -- he is; it's just that the rest of the movie isn't commanding around him. And I'm a little more comfortable when that happens to Bruce Willis (sorry Bruce).

An intriguing premise, Capt. Elizabeth Campbell (the daughter of General Campbell) is found strangled and apparently raped. Soon after, Brenner uncovers her secret life of freaky sex with enlisted men. Not surprisingly, no one at the base appreciates the investigation.

Loaded with a cartridge of high powered actors: Travolta, Hutton, Cromwell, Woods ... "The General's Daughter" has a poorly aligned barrel. Though a few scenes were shot well, hitting their targets hard -- too many shells sail way wide. The rough dialogue is, in part, responsible. When the murderer is finally found our investigators ask the stupidest question --"Why'd you do it?" to which they get a well deserved response, "[You're so smart.] You tell me." (Eek). Secondly, not all the big names deliver big. Cromwell isn't his normal self. He's a fine actor, although his performance in this film lacks substance. Hutton isn't spectacular either.

The strongest scenes, condescending and clever, pit the egos of Woods and Travolta head on and center. Nearly too clever, these scenes destroy their targets anyway. Woods is wonderful.

Still, the DNA bluff sequence that attacked my modest (yet innocent) intelligence, along with a few other faulted scenes leave this decent and respectable story line nearly as overpowered and helpless as its own rape victim.

Starring John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, James Cromwell, Timothy Hutton, James Woods and Clarence WIlliams III.
Directed by Simon West.
Screenplay by Christopher Bertolini & William Goldman.
Produced by Mace Neufeld at Paramount/Rehme/Krane.


Copyright © 1999 Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:09:53 PDT