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The Patriot

Starring: Mel Gibson
Director: Roland Emmerich
Genre: Action / Drama
Year: 2000
Rating: 5 / 5

Reviewed by Guest Scribe Julio

How can I sum up The Patriot? How about Revolutionary War Lite with a little bit of afternoon soap opera and professional wrestling thrown in for good measure? Call it History 101 for the MTV generation. What more could we possibly expect from the director of Independence Day and Godzilla? I was almost surprised to see that there were no anachronistic product placements for Pepsi, and no Kid Rock on the soundtrack. ("American Bad Ass" seems like a natural choice, does it not?)

But let's get off our intellectual high-horses, shall we? Why let something as meaningless as oft-criticized historical inaccuracies get in our way? While screenwriter Robert Rodat falls far short of matching the power of his D-Day epic Saving Private Ryan, the bottom line is that The Patriot does what any good movie should do: it entertains. Think of it as Lethal Weapon with muskets instead of machine guns. All in all, the script gets the job done, even if it does have more than its fair share of hokey lines and scenes.

One thing should definitely be stressed about The Patriot: it looks good. From the flawlessly recreated streets of Charleston, to the eerie swamps of backwoods South Carolina, to colorful battlefields, Emmerich bombards us with a visual banquet that is breathtaking to behold. At the center of the story (dominating it, really) is Benjamin Martin, a character portrayed by Mel Gibson, and very loosely patterned after the legendary Francis Marion, "The Swamp Fox." Gibson's character tries to stay out of the war against the English, but he becomes involved after the English mess with his family. (Hmm ... now where have we seen that before?) It's no surprise that Gibson is at his emotionally-charged best in this movie, but solid performances are also turned in by new-comer Heath Ledger as Martin's son Gabriel, Jason Isaacs as the ultra-evil Colonel Tavington, and Tom Wilkonson as General Cornwallis.

British audiences were rightfully outraged by The Patriot's one-dimensional portrayal of the British as snobbish, cruel, and ridiculously evil. Historians took issue with the film's many inaccuracies. Critics often point out the cliched corny "hero to the rescue" scenes. All of these people had a point, but there is no reason to worry. Accept The Patriot for what it is, sit back, and enjoy.

Cast:

Mel Gibson..........Benjamin Martin
Heath Ledger..........Edward Martin
Jason Isaacs..........William Tavington
Chris Cooper..........Harry Burwell
Tcheky Karyo..........Jean Villeneuve

Certification: Rated R for violence.
Running Time: 164 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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