General's Daughter

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YOu're in the army now, you'll get spread and ploughed!

Jun 13, 2002 (Updated Jun 13, 2002)
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  • User Rating: Excellent

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Pros:Entertaining - funny army stereotypes, hierarchy and ego problems, fast plot

Cons:Visceral rape scenes, women as "bright" yet dumb in real life, depressing aftertaste

The Bottom Line: Run and hide! Women in the military, you don't stand a chance! Daddy's the General, you're top of the class, you still can't win!


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

First off, you probably know this is a story of a gang rape at an army base. So my first comment: isn't war about rape, pillaging and looting? What were Soviet soldiers (male)notorious for at the end of WWII when they took over Pomerania and Prussia? Why did German women run for their lives? What are soldiers known for all over the world?

What are women doing in any military in the whole world?
Is it really necessary to have them there? IF so, can we not consider segregating them for both genders' sake?

If you have never given this any deep thought - perhaps a fleeting thought only about gays in the military, all kinds of nude ashes in a huge shower room - then this is the movie for you. America has made a bold step into that big locker room call THE ARMY by sending the girls in with the boys, much to some girls' great regret. Other countries do not follow suit, generally speaking. Israel we're not talking about...

In this film, we have an extremely bright captain, graduate of Westpoint, age 27, now working in Psych Ops - not Cyclops, but Psychological Operations. She is a vindictive, attractive (skinny type), bleached blonde powermonger, for indeed, who is her Daddy? None less than the retiring General Joseph Campbell (aaarrrrghh of a name..) who brought his small daughter into the Vietname battlefield no less, giving her lust for blood and war, presumably. She's fond of S&M, keeps such a dungeon in her basement back home off base, and has enjoyed almost every man, from top to bottom, on the local base there in Georgia. Why the nymphomania and S&M? Could it be... SATAN? HOW about overexposure to many, many men? No, not at all...

As a sophomore in WEstpoint, in a nighttime maneuver involving almost 1000 cadets in camoflage, full jungle weeds and makeup, our darling CAptain's daughter is felled like a deer and raped - while staked! - by six male cadets. Their disguise, the crowd, the night all leaves it mysterious who these naughty boys, these resentful cadets, were. Why were they resentful of having a smart, tough and good-looking babe around? Well, they're men, and they don't like that, no, not on their turf, their battlefield. Hence the plan to scare her - and presumbably all other women - out of Westpoint.

Their plan backfires when the General convinces his daughter, bruised and blackened, pregnant and VD-infected, to try to forget about it, put it out of her mind, and no discussion for the sake of the ARMY. For the sake of the continuing co-education at Westpoint, she must not spill the beans about the men's basic nature, their animal jealousy, their violent vengeful imaginings. She agrees, perhaps to please her father, and partially to prevent being kicked out of Westpoint. On she goes, top of the class, smart as a whip and willing to take on any task, including tire changing. HOwever, one problem: she becomes deeply screwed up, angry at her father, the whole Army, and by extension, all men. Women she still can cope with, and those under her she favors, helps, organizes meetings for them, tries to protect against the Nasties: male cadets with no-holds-barred libido and male egos.

Such is the setting for this fast-paced thriller, complete with John Travolta as Inspector, faking a Southern drawl in his undercover role. OTher reviewers here found it nauseating - I found it pulled me into the movie IN SPITE of hating war movies, army movies and violent films. There's something downright absurd with his Mafia-face doing that Georgian thang.

The film is violent through and through, full of twists and turns, false suspects, in-the-closet army gays, loyal toadyists under the General, and all kinds of run-n-shoot-em's.

If we do want to take the feminist angle, since the film supposedly champions women's right to an army career (200,000 there right now, states the last-bit screen info), then let's think about this: a woman is blessed with not only brains and grits, but a father who's a General, who can pull any strings he wants for her. She has a lot to live up to, her family's reputation at stake, the whole Westpoint tradition. Does this woman do anything wrong herself? DOes she mess up a major assignment? Does she have some men and women killed in battle due to her poor strategic planning? Does she fumble logistics? Does she fail at her job IN ANY WAY?

No, says this film. Of course not... she is supposed to be brilliant and favored, how could she have had any trouble, make mistakes? Therefore, her ONLY Failure is that she is a woman, hence ripe for rape at any moment, and should never have been exposed to such an environment for her own good. She could have come into the army with a Ph.D. in Psych from Harvard and coasted into that daddy's position.

If this is the best chance a very gifted girl can have - assuming she makes NO mistakes - then her only downfall as a woman is that she is raped, that she becomes a victim. This film loves to linger its camera on her thin white body, stretched naked, bloody and bruised on the stakes. Sometimes it seems to border on the pornographic. Men's bodies are shown occasionally, very briefly nude, but never as victims. So, she has no chance. She cannot succeed. IF she cannot succeed, neither can any working class, usually black or Mexican, Philippino or poor white girl coming in.

They might as well give up, become Rosie the Riveters or nurses or secretaries? Cooks or housekeepers?

They might also consider becoming lawyers or doctors offbase somewhere, or at least well-paid technicians in the computer world?

What is the final message of all this brutality?

Watch it and decide. Pretty darn depressing conclusions for those bright-eyed enough about boys in the army.

Segregation? Or karate lessons with handy knife usage?

GENERAL'S BETRAYAL - Every Father's Impulse?

I could not help but think, during the dreadful hospital scene, that many a father would advise a daughter to try to put rape or any violent scene out of her mind. It was NOT just for his career, his one extra star, his saving Westpoint for the co-eds, that he urged her to put it out of her mind. He saw that a tragedy had been done, and that his daughter must plow on in life, regardless. What father would not be thinking of her future family life, if she had lost a chance to have children, if the violence had hurt her internal organs to ruin her future health, if the rape would ruin her future ability to enjoy sex in marriage? These issues are simply skirted, but no father would. In his mind, they are foremost, not just his career.

OF course, those six young men should have been castrated.




Rhetoric aside


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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