The General's Daughter is a consistently
annoying murder mystery. It looks so good and the slick photography
of Peter Menzies, Jr. makes the surroundings glossy and exciting. Too
bad the script is so lame.
Travolta plays Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, a military
investigator with a bulldog attitude and a hefty dose of insipid
charm. Brenner is introduced as an undercover sergeant with a
mushy Southern accent is an opening that serves to identify his
character as an formidable professional. The material seems
hastily thrown together. It's a relief when The General's
Daughter gets on track with the meat and potatoes ,
but the meal is thoroughly disappointing.
Brenner teams with Army rape investigator Sara Sunhill played by
Madeleine Stowe. As the pair dig into the mystery, a pathetic
sub-plot tries to add a touch of romance to the simmering
potboiler, but it fails to bring up the tepid nature of the
material. Brenner and Sunhill go through the motions as everyone
around them wants to cover up the death of the general's
daughter. General Campbell has political ambitions to consider.
His loyal dog of an assistant, Colonel Fowler, is busy clearing
his path. Mix in an MP Colonel to get in the way and the dead
girl's kinky commanding officer, and you have a overflowing stew
of mis-matched ingredients. How many colonels does it take to
screw up a movie?
Some scenes are more embarrassing than others. The initial
confrontation between Brenner and Colonel Moore includes
dialogue more suitable to a pair of bickering lovers than a
detective and a suspect in a murder mystery. There are other
dialog nightmares. Brenner makes a speech about his Vietnam
commander that is totally out of place, but as Simon West
explains it on the commentary, was needed to explain Brenner's
admiration for General Campbell.
The huge pool of acting talent play it like
hour workers racing to the subway on an ice pond. I can imagine
them flailing their hands in panic desperately trying to get off
the set of The General's Daughter. Travolta is stiff
and Stowe, for the first time I can remember, fails be emanate
sexual fire. James Woods plays Colonel Moore, Clarence Williams
III is Colonel Fowler and Timothy Hutton is Colonel Kent. Only
James Cromwell as General Campbell manages to survive the
This DVD looks good enough to walk right into. Nights blacks are
rich, creamy, slick and high key. The sharp images create
an incredible depth to the picture. There is slight edge
enhancement is some long shots, but otherwise The General's
Daughter is very clean. The soundtrack packs the wallop the film
is missing. You can't cover up script faults the size of the San
Andreas with snappy photography and lively scoring.
Simon West does the audio commentary on
this special edition DVD. Four deleted scenes are included and a
by the numbers behind the scenes short.