The General's Daughter

Bomb Rating: 

I imagine that if Simon ("Con Air") West did an animated film about babyseals and their quest to convince their walrus pals in the Sea of Mirth that life is about singing songs and playing games, he would manage to concoct some situation in which one of the seals inevitably explodes, its charred, bloody flesh jettisoning from the water like the lava of an erupting volcano.

One might thus deduce just how prone West is to needless, predictable, tedious sequences of violence. Or one might simply watch "The General's Daughter," which includes something akin to an explosion at its end, not to mention a guy's head being shoved into the rotor of a speedboat engine by beefy warrant officer Paul Brenner (John Travolta). Little fazed by making face pâté via speedboat engine, nor by being teamed with a former lust object Sarah Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe), Brenner is assigned to investigate the murder of Captain Elisabeth Campbell (Leslie Stefanson), whose body is discovered on the Army base, buck naked and tied down like a circus tent.

West's inability to distinguish an inappropriate moment from an appropriate one dribbles all over this film as plentifully as piss from the bladder of an incontinent elephant. Explosions and impalements aside, Campbell's nude body is the subject of some attention for various reasons -- whenever she's naked, something bad is happening to her. West, apparently, has no intention of neglecting that small but cuddly market share of rapists and necrophiliacs. My advice: buy a parka.

Consider that this film is a fiction when you see what comes at the end. It's some self-serving text about women in the military along with what happens to one of the film's bad guys. Blah, blah, blah. West tries to simultaneously apply righteousness and honor to his film using what basically amounts to a footnote at the end; he could have done better with some footage of himself clubbing a baby seal.

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