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Directed by Roland Emmerich
Running Time: 2:45
Rated R for strong war violence.

It's inevitable that The Patriot is going to be compared to Braveheart. Both starring Mel Gibson. Both big budget battle films. Both starring Mel Gibson. Both dealing with revenge. While the latter film is my all time favorite, the former turned out to be good, but a lot more comedic than dramatic.

Gibson stars as Benjamin Martin, a single father raising 7 kids. He's a former war hero, from the French and Indian wars a few years earlier. A legend among the people for what he did to the enemy. But now he's trying to just live his life with his children. But it's 1776, and the war with the British is about to begin. Benjamin decides not to fight, but his eldest son Gabriel (Heath Ledger)joins up. One day Gabriel returns, and brings the battle with him. The ruthless British Colonel Tavington (Jason Isaacs) shows up at his doorstep with horrifying consequences. It's at this point that Martin turns into the original American Bad Ass and slaughters the soliders. He then joins his son in the war, and leads a rag tag group of militia, to fight the British. Along the way all sorts of horrible things happen to his family, and the families of the militia men. Some of the things that happen are just too sickening to even think about. In the end... well, I think you can guess how it ends.

The biggest problem I had with this film, is that it seemed to jump between two major story lines. Revenge and Freedom. Was Martin fighting for revenge, or was he fighting for freedom? I suppose the underlying theme of the movie was of course freedom, but Martin's actions on screen would lead you to believe that he was in it for revenge. And I think that in a movie of this nature, it's important to focus in on one of the two. Seeing as how the title of the movie is The Patriot, and that it's released on 4th of July weekend, you would think that freedom would be the main story line. But too many times the filmmakers have Martin react only in revenge, and it's only near the very end at the climactic battle scene, that we finally see Martin fight for his country.

The other problem I had (and these aren't big problems, just thoughts) was that the movie was very comedic. It was more of a Lethal Weapon Mel Gibson, than a Braveheart Mel Gibson. In Braveheart, there was no laughter. The movie was very serious, very dramatic and very beautiful to watch on screen. Here, there were a lot of moments that were very lighthearted. It wasn't a serious drama, although it had very serious moments (I had to fight back the tears on a couple of occasions). The tone of the film for the most part was very light, with dark moments thrown in to remind you that this was a war movie. I thought it took away from the serious story line of freedom (and revenge) to keep throwing in funny lines and looks. I also thought that the movie was a little too long. There were certain scenes that could have easily been cut out. I thought that there were too many smaller story lines that got in the way. I think there needs to be sub-plots to keep the movie moving along and not boring, but here there were a couple too many and it was hard to give each one the time it deserved.

All that being said, I still think the movie was pretty good. Now realize, Mel Gibson is my favorite actor, so I am a little biased, but any movie that can make me laugh, make me (almost) cry, and make me want to stand up and salute the flag, is a pretty good movie. I thought the acting was wonderful, especially from the evil Colonel Tavington. Heath Ledger is bound to become a matinee idol very soon. And the two little girls were arguably the cutest girls you'll ever see on screen. I thought the battle scenes were done well (although not as well as in Braveheart).

So overall I think you know what to expect when you go to see The Patriot. It'll be bloody, it'll be violent, it'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, it'll make you feel all warm and patriotic inside. It's got Mel Gibson in it, so how can you go wrong? And one more thing... Damn we Americans kick ass!

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Pre-Order $17.99 on DVD
Release date: August 29, 2000

The Patriot
Motion Picture Soundtrack

$12.58 CD

Giant poster

24 in x 72 in


Pre-Order $17.99 on DVD
Release date: August 29, 2000

Text Version

reviewed 06/28/00

© 2000 Wolfpack Productions