The General’s Daughter

Review Date:
Director: Simon West
Writer: Christopher Bertolini, William Goldman
Producers: Mace Neufeld
John Travolta as Paul Brenner, Madeleine Stowe as Sarah Sunhill, James Woods as Colonel Moore
An undercover Army detective and a rape counselor find themselves locked inside an investigation of some bigwig General daughter’s rape, torture and murder. They must delve through all of the unspoken Army rules and hush-hushes in order to uncover the conspiracy behind the shocking murder.
By the numbers (see above). This film is just there. It sits there on the big screen for a couple of hours, floats around, goes away, hopefully never to be heard from again. It is so predictable that even a blind man could see its plot points coming a mile away. It’s as suspenseful as a leaf dropping from a tree. It’s as action-packed as a Canadian curling tournament. Get the picture? I sure did…it’s too bad that it took my friend and I less than two minutes to figure out the entire plot, and to break down each scene before it was even completed. Easy as pie. It’s unfortunate because James Woods and John Travolta actually have one extremely enjoyable scene together near the beginning of the film, but alas, t’was not to be (That scene alone scored two of my four points allotted.) Woods chews it up in the few scenes that he’s in, Travolta passes the test, Cromwell plays, well, Cromwell, and Stowe is window dressing with a smile (MIA since 12 MONKEYS (8/10) it seems).

And this predictability isn’t reserved only to those who have seen films like COURAGE UNDER FIRE or A FEW GOOD MEN, it runs deep inside every one of us who knows to suspect someone as soon as they see their obvious guilty mug on the big screen. It’s like riding a bike. Other scenarios which sponge out any tension, suspense or interest from this film include every single character eventually “breaking down” to the investigators without much reason given, a ridiculously placed background relationship between two of the lead characters, as much action as my grandparents bedroom nightly, and a directorial style that can only reward director Simon West with a solid nomination for the “Best Poor Man’s Michael Bay Doing his Best Poor Man’s Impression of Tony Scott” (Add two scenes with sunlight shining through some half-open shades for grit and integrity, and an all-out rainfall for the finale for further chaos, and you’re a great director. Yawn. Yeah, whatever Tony…I mean, Simon.)

And aren’t we all sick of hearing about these Army “bad boys” and their overdone “code of silence”?! Enough already! Next subject, please. See it on video if you wanna fall asleep after seeing a much better movie like AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN (9/10). Otherwise, save yourself the trouble and go take a crap instead. You’ll feel much better afterwards. Trust me.

(c) 2001 Berge Garabedian

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian