Retro Review: General’s Daughter

Conceived and advertised as the thriller to see this summer, John Travolta brings us to the world of the US Military where his army-cop persona is as distorted as his rumpled and crunched raincoat.

Not quite fitting in but always delivering a blow to the bad guys, John Travolta’s Paul Brennan is a cross between Columbo and Dirty Harry.

After investigating an arms deal gone sour Brennan is pulled into the extremely grisly murder of the nation’s top general’s daughter.

The performances by such high Hollywood players as James Cromwell of “Babe”, James Woods of “Ghosts of the Mississippi”, Madeleine Stowe of “Blink” and “Unlawful Entry”, and of course Travolta give the film worthy praise and grit.

The two scenes where we find Travolta and Woods banging heads have brilliant dialogue and sometimes even make you smile.

The twists and turns are there and some interesting angles by Con Air director Simon West make the film pleasant to watch when it isn’t grisly.

But for this critic it’s the grisly murder/rape of beautiful newcomer Leslie Stefanson which is so graphic and disturbing that you really wonder why Hollywood seems to like to tell these bondage/rape/murder movies.

If anyone remembers a couple months back the Nicolas Cage movie “8mm” then you can recognize why this film’s mystery element is clouded.

Why are these films so cloudy? Because Hollywood seems to have forgotten that we need to cry and feel a little as the mystery unfolds.

These two films differ in that Cage’s character in “8mm” at least felt something for the victims and in result became emotionally disturbed by the twisted grisly lifestyle.

In the “General’s Daughter” however, when Travolta comes face to face with the murder there is no shock, crying or outrage when he flips back the hair of the woman he had a thing for in the beginning of the film. Why didn’t these people feel anything? Is it the army way? This mystery sure wasn’t business as usual.

(2.5 of 5 stars)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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