THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER

1.5 Stars
Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 116 minutes
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From the director of “Con Air,” Simon West, comes an even more preposterous film starring John Travolta. Big John (and I do mean big) is Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, a criminal investigator for the U.S. Army. Brenner is called into Fort MacCullum to investigate the apparent rape/murder of Capt. Elisabeth Campbell (Leslie Stefanson), who, COINCIDENTALLY, Brenner had met and hit on the night before, and COINCIDENTALLY is the daughter of the camp’s commanding officer, General Campbell (James Campbell), who, COINCIDENTALLY, was Brenner’s commanding officer in Vietnam and is, COINCIDENTALLY, about to retire from the military for a life in politics. Billy has 36 hours to solve the case before the F.B.I. moves in on Fort Melrose Place to publicly reveal the crazy soap opera for what it really is. An overcooked potboiler ensues.
You know, I watched “Saturday Night Fever” again a couple of weeks ago, and it’s amazing to see what a subtle and svelte actor Travolta was 20 years ago. Now, even his acting is bloated. The 1999 model looks like Anthony Hopkins after he ate Barbarino and went on to star in “Legends of the Fall” and “Instinct”. Yeah, I liked “FACE/OFF” too, but John, you can stop with the Nic Cage impression, already, and maybe if you stopped munchin’ on the scenery at every opportunity you might fit that ass back in your old white suit.
This may be the most gratuitous film I’ve seen this year. The rape scene, all the action scenes, Travolta’s indignant commentary, Travolta’s southern accent, and, well, Travolta were all gratuitous and unnecessary. Other things I have no use for are the S&M references which seem to be Hollywood shorthand for freaks, just as blindness is shorthand for nobility and commercial / music video directors are shorthand for crappy movies. I’m also sick of ridiculous, over complicated Rube Goldberg-like revenge schemes that no sane person in the real world would ever attempt. “It’s just crazy enough to work!” NO, it’s just crazy.
In order to spare you the trauma of this cinematrocity, I’ll go ahead and tell you how the film turns out. Who killed the General’s Daughter? The filmmakers did.



Posted on June 21, 1999 in Reviews by
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