Rob Roy, based loosely on the real life Highlander Rob Roy Macgregor, had the bad mistake of Hollywood timing. There must be a lot spy vs spy in Hollywood, industrial secrets being passed around for a price! Ever notice how if one movie company does some genre, then suddenly they all are? Well, someone whispered Mel as doing in man in a skirt drama (Kilt to you Sasunnach!) and suddenly they rushes to do another. With Rob Roy coming out at the same time, it hurt by comparison. Braveheart was a powerhouse tale of one man's fight for Scottish Freedom. Off the bat, you have a difference. Rob Roy was the story of one man's personal fight against wrongs done to him and his family. So the personal tale automatically feels "smaller". Not big battle scenes for Rob Roy. No King for an enemy, just a Scottish Noble, John Graham, Marquis of Montrose (brilliantly played by John Hurt, Ian McShane old RADA roommate!).
Still, despite the automatic comparisons between the two films (both with problems of historical inaccuracies), Rob Roy should be given a stronger look. The acting is without fault. Neeson as Rob is great (who da thunk an Irisher could do such a good Scot!). Eric Stolz, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth (so utterly despicable!) Andrew Keir (5 Million Years to Earth) and Brian Cox (the first Hannibal Lector in Manhunter, a REAL Scot mind you! He did double duty by playing Mel's Uncle in Bravenheart), gives performances that are flawless. The Highland's are filmed in breathtaking beauty, the writing is gritty, sharp with a good idea for detail. Frankly, any film that has Liam "Calling down the Gregor" commends itself to my Scot heart!