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3.7 out of 5 stars
The Patriot (Extended Cut)
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Showing 11-20 of 97 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on November 4, 2002
It's interesting to look at what sells in movies. World War II has about ten movies set in every front, from the king of war films, Saving Private Ryan (German front) to the subpar Windtalkers (Pacific). Vietnam has about two movies for every month it was fought, and that wasn't even technically a war. But the American Revolution, the war that created the United States-what great movies have been made about that? What happened to the films telling about a man who left his girlfriend one day to die on Bunker Hill? Why isn't there a Boston Massacre thriller? Where is the Benidict Arnold bioepic?
The Patriot, it seems, tries to help those of us with an itch for cannon, muskets, and dead Brits. Mel, as often is the case, plays a widower (Gibson loses a lot of wives. The one movie, to my knowledge, that he ends married is Lethal Weapon 4). Mel forbids his son, Heath Leger, from fighting in the revoution; surprisingly, the son enlists in the colonial militia at his first chance. Then there's murders, raids, massacares, betrayals, laughs, ruthlessness, revenge, and a love intrest between Mel and his sister-in-law.
Wait... was that plot recap to fast for you? Well, to be honest, I don't feel like saying the entire thing; it's rather dull. The villain, a dragoon colonel by name of Tavington, is shown as ruthlessly evil, through and through, just wanting to kill people to win the war, and get some land - and although fully evil characters are fine, he wasn't enough fun to do fully evil well, and he lacked the motivated evil that would allow him to be dull. Someone - I believe it was General Cornwallis, who has the unfortunate duty of not only surrendering his sword to the Americans (which he gave to a lower officer) but also delivering a god-awful monolouge at the finale about how farmers had defeated him, and the whole world is going to hell - has been told that in return for keeping America, the crown will spilt the colonies with him fifty-fifty, and he offered to give Tavington a substantial portion.
This being an action movie in dramatic masking, let's look at the fighting. It's decent, but sometimes it seems like a video game more then anything else. Sure, one guy killing a few brits with no backup other then his twelve year old sons seems possible, but here Mel kills about thirty redcoats without taking a single wound, missing a single shot, or forgetting a single solider. That's only realistic in Medal of Honor, and even then you need a scope to accomplish it. We see cannon taking off legs, but they seem, somehow, less dangerous then those of The Last of the Mohicans. Maybe, however, it's just that Mohicans is a much better movie then the Patriot. The scenes are often colorful in an unrealistic fashion; the best example of this is when the Heath Leger character goes to the window of a house he had entered, and we see an army being routed beneath a sky given an ungodly blue. It's almost as jarring as the fact that this battle is right next to the house, but they hadn't heard the fighting until they got inside it. Or something; I don't remember exactly all the ways the scene was bad.
Is The Patriot a bad movie? No, it has some redeeming qualities. More importantly, it covers a war that needs to be covered, and rarely is; I encourage other directors to go out and show Washington's famous Christmas raid against the Hessians in 1776, or "The Shot Heard Round the World" at Lexington. But as it stands, if you want a good movie in the age of old style cannon, you've got Gettysburg, Glory, or the Last of the Mohicans as good picks; leave this one on the shelf.
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on October 23, 2002
Released: 2000
Running Time: 165 minutes
Director: Roland Emmerich
Main Cast: Mel Gibson as Benjamin
Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin
Joely Richardson as Charlotte Selton
Occam as Jay Arlen Jones
John Isaacs as British Colonel Tavington
Color: Closed-caption, Dolby, NTSC
Sound Mix: DTS/Dolby
This film is a drama that takes place in the late 1700's in South Carolina. Benjamin Martin, portrayed by Mel Gibson is a farmer and father in the Revolutionary War ear. He had previously been a barbarous soldier of the French and Indian War, and because of his experience in those wars, he relinquished fighting forever to raise his motherless children in peace. When Benjamin eldest son Gabriel, portrayed by Heath Ledger, finds out that a friend of his had joined the militia, Gabriel joins as well without his father's permission.
When Gabriel becomes wounded in the war and finds his way back home, the British show up and accidentally find information belonging to the militia. The British Colonel Tavington, questions the family about where the information came from. Gabriel acknowledges that he is the one who had the information. The British then take Gabriel to be hung for treason and they also burn down Benjamin's house. Before the British leave with Gabriel, Benjamin's younger son Mark, jumps the British soldiers and tries to stop them from taking Gabriel, when this happens Mark is shot by the British Colonel Tavington and dies.
At this time the story takes a turn and Benjamin decides he needs to fight. He sends his remaining five children to live with their Aunt Charlotte and he joins the militia. The story continues on with the militia and the British continuously fighting each other till the end.
One of the best scenes of the film is when Benjamin, the leader of the militia, negotiates with British General Cornwallis. The overall movie focuses on Benjamin's anguished quest for revenge against the ruthless redcoat Colonel Tavington, and the rise to manhood of Martin's eldest son, Gabriel, whose battlefield honor exceeds even that of his brutally volatile father.
This film involves some comic as well as emotional scenes. I truly enjoyed watching this film. The worst part of the film was the war battles that were played out in an open field. If this film is a true account of how the war was actually fought during this time, it is sad to think that the men would be foolish enough to line up in an open field, facing each other, then killing each other.
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on October 23, 2002
Released: 2000
Running Time: 165 minutes
Director: Roland Emmerich
Main Cast: Mel Gibson as Benjamin
Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin
Joely Richardson as Charlotte Selton
Occam as Jay Arlen Jones
John Isaacs as British Colonel Tavington
Color: Closed-caption, Dolby, NTSC
Sound Mix: DTS/Dolby
This film is a drama that takes place in the late 1700's in South Carolina. Benjamin Martin, portrayed by Mel Gibson is a farmer and father in the Revolutionary War ear. He had previously been a barbarous soldier of the French and Indian War, and because of his experience in those wars, he relinquished fighting forever to raise his motherless children in peace. When Benjamin eldest son Gabriel, portrayed by Heath Ledger, finds out that a friend of his had joined the militia, Gabriel joins as well without his father's permission.
When Gabriel becomes wounded in the war and finds his way back home, the British show up and accidentally find information belonging to the militia. The British Colonel Tavington, questions the family about where the information came from. Gabriel acknowledges that he is the one who had the information. The British then take Gabriel to be hung for treason and they also burn down Benjamin's house. Before the British leave with Gabriel, Benjamin's younger son Mark, jumps the British soldiers and tries to stop them from taking Gabriel, when this happens Mark is shot by the British Colonel Tavington and dies.
At this time the story takes a turn and Benjamin decides he needs to fight. He sends his remaining five children to live with their Aunt Charlotte and he joins the militia. The story continues on with the militia and the British continuously fighting each other till the end.
One of the best scenes of the film is when Benjamin, the leader of the militia, negotiates with British General Cornwallis. The overall movie focuses on Benjamin's anguished quest for revenge against the ruthless redcoat Colonel Tavington, and the rise to manhood of Martin's eldest son, Gabriel, whose battlefield honor exceeds even that of his brutally volatile father.
This film involves some comic as well as emotional scenes. I truly enjoyed watching this film. The worst part of the film was the war battles that were played out in an open field. If this film is a true account of how the war was actually fought during this time, it is sad to think that the men would be foolish enough to line up in an open field, facing each other, then killing each other.
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on July 28, 2002
I have a feeling that Mel Gibson was hoping to recreate his Oscar-winning experience that he had with "Braveheart" when he agreed to act in "The Patriot." Either that or he *really* has it in for England.
Unfortunately, he didn't quite hit the mark. "The Patriot" is a good movie. There's lots of blood, guts, gore, and swearing (for the men) along with a sweet story of the love a father has for his children (for the women). But it's not "Braveheart." Although I did start to wonder in a couple of scenes - Mel Gibson, atop a horse, waving an American flag... I expected him to shout out "Sons of Scotland!" or the repeated shots shown in the previews of Mel Gibson running towards the camera, grimacing. Perhaps this character is some descendant of William Wallace!
But that aside, this movie *is* worth watching - on video. I thank my lucky stars I didn't waste the money to see it on the screen. There's just a certain something lacking from this movie... a certain spark. And for some reason, I found the war scenes more disturbing than I did in "Braveheart." Maybe I'm just getting squeamish in my old age.
"The Patriot's" saving grace is Heath Ledger, who is, I'm sure, going to become the new Mel Gibson. Or maybe he'll even rise above that. Heath is an incredible actor with a great grasp of depth and emotion. And he's not all that bad to look at, either. I loved him "Ten Things I Hate About You," and I loved him in this movie. Go out and rent "The Patriot," if only for: 1. Heath Ledger's acting, 2. Mel Gibson's crying (makes you want to cuddle him, doesn't it?), and 3. warm and fuzzy nostalgic "Braveheart" memories. Oh yeah, and England gets her butt kicked.
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on April 27, 2002
Mel Gibson stars as American Colonist Benjamin Martin, a veteran of the French and Indian conflict, who denounces going to war with England. But when British soldiers arrive on his South Corolina plantation and endanger his family, he decides to join the fight for independence. Along with his oldest son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger), both men lead a militia to take on an entire army of enemy soldiers. The film was produced and directed by the team that brought you ID4 and the most recent GODZILA flick. The movie's main characters are fictional but are placed against the backdrop of history. The script is written by Robert Rodat, the author of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, and relies more on emotion than history , to tell its tale. It isn't that the facts presented are wrong, it's more that the facts take a back seat to characters and situations. Overall. the film is OK. Although, you could see the ending from a mile away. Gibson is his usuaul heroic self. Very few actors can show pain, grief, and a crazed giddiness, on their face with one single look, the way Gibson can. The film is just a crowd pleaser that tries to be more than that. Somewhere along the way it falls short of that. I think if you like Gibson, you will still find the film enjoyable and worth your time.
The Special Edition DVD has only 2 good extras. They are "The Art Of War" featurette and a few deleted scenes for the completist in me. All of the other extras are pretty average. If you like the film without all of the extras then I recommend the Superbit version DVD, instead of the Special Edition.
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on March 31, 2002
As a British person, watching this movie was actually quite disturbing. The movie itself is entertaining, well acted and the cinematography in particular is excellent. The problem ( unless you're American ) is that this movie portrays every British character as the embodiment of evil and every American as a heroic freedom fighter. The British army kill indescrimanately , set fire to a church with women and children inside it , and generally are portrayed as being the most inhumane people possible. Ask anyone who has studied the American revolution and they will tell you both sides committed some horrendous acts of war.Here history is completely rewritten.This movie is dangerous because it will be seen by a lot of people and many of them will believe it to be fact.The script writers took the easy way out, they knew the movies main market was the USA, so it was necessary for the American characters to be heroic. I know I am not the only English person to be very disappointed by 'The Patriot'. The final insult is to black/african americans, in real life history a major reason for the war was the British authorities decision to abolish slavery and there american counterparts unwillingness to go along with this , here the black characters are shown to be fighting for 'the cause'. What cause was this ? To be enslaved for another hundred years ? To any Americans reading this, I love the USA and it's people,the vast majority of you I know are intelligent enough to see this movie for what it is but movies such as this one do not help transatlantic relations.I don't think I am the only person from the U.K who is sick and tired of our nation being portrayed in such a negative light. Some people could call it racism, I won't , I'd just ask any american reading this how they would feel about this movie if they were British ?
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on March 18, 2002
To paraphrase Charles Dickens, The Patriot is the best of movies and the worst of movies. Visually, it ranks with Gladiator as one of the great movies of 2000. The story has power because, like Gone with the Wind, it brings home the horror of war, in this case The American Revolution, by focusing on its effects on one family. The element that makes it the worst of movies is its historical perspective. The movies generally make bad history teachers. Their primary purpose is to entertain. Still, there have been scores of pictures which have successfully approximated the historical period they were set in without sacrificing their entertainment quotient. So what are we to make of The Patriot? My suggestion is that the viewer enjoy its epic story and remember that it is just a well told tall tale, just a lavishly produced fable.
Col. Benjamin Martin [Mel Gibson] fought in the French and Indian Wars. While hailed a hero, he is racked with guilt over a grisly incident that occurred during his command. He is now a farmer in South Carolina. Recently widowed, Martin must also raise his seven children who range in age from three to seventeen. The revolution has begun in the northern colonies. Martin supports the cause of freedom from British rule, but he stops short of advocating war, much to the chagrin of his two oldest sons. When Gabriel [Heath Ledger] disobeys his father and enlists, Martin is saddened but determined not to bloody his own hands again. When another son is killed in front of him and his other children, Martin's mind is changed. He is forced once more to become the warrior.
The visuals truly are impressive. The digitally rendered backgrounds, such as Charleston harbor, blend seamlessly with the actors in the foreground. The battle scenes are immense in size, very well choreographed and intensely dramatic. The many costumes are elaborate and colorful. The photography has especially vibrant hues. Having lived in the area of South Carolina where many of the exteriors were filmed, I have to add that it is one of the most beautiful areas in the country.
Mel Gibson gives his usual workman-like but enthusiastic performance. As Gabriel, Heath Ledger, raised like Gibsonin Australia, seems more like a young man having a blast making a movie than one enmeshed in bloody revolution. Still, he is apt to become a star in his own right. The female leads, Joely Richardson and Lisa Brenner, both do a good job, but in several scenes they are required to wear makeup that is strictly 21st Century. Martin's younger children are the usual adorable types that exist as a group only in the movies. There is one remarkable performance, that of Jason Issacs as Col. William Tavington, a British officer, Martin's nemesis, and one of the best villains of late. Issacs sinks his teeth into the role.
The Patriot is moviemaking on the grand scale, and if you can disregard its historical mistruths, it can be grandly entertaining.
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on March 14, 2002
"The Patriot" is a fictional Revolutionary War almost-epic about an ardent pacifist (Mel Gibson) doing a 180 after his young son is murdered by a sadistic British officer (Jason Isaacs). Accompanied by his idealistic oldest son (Heath Ledger) and a motley militia of Yankee Doodles, Gibson reinvents himself as "The Ghost", a one man army who makes mince meat out of British soldiers, and sets out to avenge his son's death, being a veritable thorn in the side of British hierarchy, in the process.
While splendidly filmed and acted, "The Patriot" attempts to foist emotional manipulation on us as an epic story. Scene after scene, The Ghost's family and friends become the victim's of atrocites by the British officer Colonel William Tavington (Jason Isaacs in a role that makes Ralph Feinnes portrayal of Amon Goeth in "Schindler's List" look like Mr. Rogers!). If it is not enough that one of his younger sons is callously murdered, we have to witness The Ghost's eldest son stabbed to death, and his son's beautiful young wife and innocent townspeople burned alive in a church. The sole purpose of this carnage is to engender in the audience a strident hatred of Tavington, an effect that is both superficial and manipulative. The film never gave me a sense of meaning.
Do not expect "The Patriot" to be a history lesson, either. The film demonizes the British army, portraying them as nothing more than snobbish bad guys. And the watered down depiction of slavery is shameless. Even John Williams' score is a disappointment (sorry, John).
"The Patriot", with all its faults, is quite entertaining if you except it for what it is--a well made Revolutionary War action film with good acting and a comic book caliber plot.
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on November 15, 2001
Having just watched The Patriot and looked over a few of the previous reviews, let's get one thing out of the way---there are those who criticize this movie for not being a realistic vision of the American Revolution (artistic license, please) so they praise the story of a man and his family caught in war's whirlwind but really, this story is weak and extremely predictable right down to the showdown on the battlefield between Gibson and his sons' murderer. There were so many moments when I laughed and said "enough, already." Are we to believe that a father would stand by while his firstborn son is led away to be hung while his secondborn son is shot and killed right in front of the whole family? The smartest character here is little Susie who refuses to talk! She's probably thinking "I may be young but I WASN'T BORN LAST NIGHT!" And the scene at the aunt's house where everyone is hiding in the basement from the mean Brits --- COME ON, travel all that distance and not search the basement? There are just too many unbelievable scenes here that, one on top of the other, make this an embarrassment. Who wrote this crap? On the other hand, no movie yet has captured this revolution with even a smidgen of historical accuracy so I give it 3 stars for trying. Many people may think it stupid for opposing armies to face each other in open field and fire their weapons all at once but this was the way they often fought with the idea that whoever could reload faster might hold the field. And Cornwallis' interview with Martin concerning "gentleman's" fighting tactics neatly summarizes 18th century warfare unbelievable as it may seem to modern eyes. The hackneyed story and cliche-ridden details throw this effort off the track very early in the movie and by the end (and it doesn't come soon enough) you're left wondering what a picture with Tom Hanks instead of Aussie Mel Gibson would've looked like. I will say this in it's defense---the sound of muskets and cannon are a refreshing change from all other war movies!
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I enjoy watching Gibson kill and smash the bad guys so I enjoyed this film. It really falls short when it comes to the actual story, so don't expect it to be anything like a great historical war movie like "Glory". It is a shame that the producers were willing to put up so much money to make a period film but weren't willing to demand excellence. And I know that Gibson is capable of delivering it. Someone must have felt that since Braveheart was such a success all they had to do was repeat the general theme in a different time and place and they'd have a wonderful movie. Wrong.
But as for the action and death and blood and adventure this movie was fun and I even watched it with my teenagers as it is minus sex or nudity, just gore. It is entertaining so I give it a recommendation to those that like adventure and action. Not to those looking for a really good period story. Not a movie I am anxious to see again either, unlike Braveheart which I could easily watch every couple of years.
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