The Patriot (2000)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment Unrated Extended Cut)
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Overall Rating 68%
Overall Rating
Ranked #553
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After proving himself on the field of battle in the French and Indian War, Benjamin Martin wants nothing more to do with such things, preferring the simple life of a farmer. But when his son Gabriel enlists in the army to defend their new nation, America, against the British, Benjamin reluctantly returns to his old life to protect his son, now serving under his command, and his family from British tyranny. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: January 23, 2008
These days, when I think of the American Revolution, it's difficult for me to do so without imagining Mel Gibson hacking Redcoats to death with his tomahawk. This was a few years before he went all Jesus happy with "The Passion of the Christ", back when Mel was a bloody son-of-a-bitch and didn't care who he offended. And who better to tackle a subject like the American Revolution than the same director who brought us such factual historic epics as "Independence Day" and "Godzilla", Roland Emmerich. This film, released in 2000, also marked one of the first major roles for actor Heath Ledger, who tragically died yesterday. I thought it fitting to review one of his more accomplished performances, for me anyways. "The Patriot", for many reasons, is a fine film.

The film follows a father, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), as he tries to raise his brood of children after the death of his wife. Martin is a former war hero who is notorious for his savage and maniacal tactics during battle. Has has toned down quite a bit and now lives a rather peaceful life. So, when the Redcoats come knocking on his door, almost literally, he doesn't really want to get involved, and he especially doesn't want his sons involved, even though his stubborn eldest, Gabriel (Heath Ledger) has already enlisted to fight. Basically, everything horrible that could happen to a father happens to Mel Gibson in this film. After one of his sons is killed by a sadistic officer, Colonel Tavington (Jason Isaacs), Gibson goes psychotic and all hells starts breaking loose. The film is really a story about a family torn apart, set to the backdrop of the American Revolution.

First, I have to mention Jason Isaacs. Why? Because he portrays one of the most loathsome villains ever captured on film and he plays it to perfection. You hate this character with all of your being, and he makes you hate him even more each time he re-appears on screen. His character commits some horrible atrocities in this picture and you can't really believe most of them while you are watching them. But, this is what makes the ending of this film so powerful and so emotional instead of cliched and sentimental. We can buy everything that goes with it because we hate Isaacs character so damned much. Plus, any time you get to watch Mel Gibson fight with a tomahawk -- that is what I call entertainment. And, Heath Ledger does a fine job as Gibson's son, Gabriel. This was one of Ledger's first roles and he carries it well, back before he really dove into his craft.

The fight sequences here are more interesting than you probably think -- it's not just "Braveheart". The very first fight sequence, where Gibson and his two youngest sons take on an entire group of Redcoats, is pretty damned amazing to watch. And it gets very bloody too. I also thoroughly enjoyed the final battle sequence, as it just slowly builds to the final showdown you've been waiting for. All in all, "The Patriot" is just a good film. It's both entertaining and emotionally striking and it reminds us of how great Mel Gibson was before the drunk driving and the Jesus freaking. It's also another tragic reminder of why Heath Ledger's death is so unfortunate and why his talent will be missed. "The Patriot" should be in your film collection.

Ginose #1: Ginose - added 01/23/2008, 08:40 PM
Probablly one of my favorite Gibson movies. Convincing performances and easily one of the best American revolution films I've ever seen. 8.3/10
Edd #2: Edd - added 01/24/2008, 11:05 AM
The second most historically innacurate film in history. Still, pretty damn good. 7/10
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 06/15/2009, 03:44 PM
Very enjoyable film. One of my favourite Mel Gibson films. I've seen it many times, and I never get sick of it. Jason Isaacs is the perfect villain.

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