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4.0 out of 5 stars Braveheart in the new world
It seemed for a time that Mel Gibson thought that the one thing that makes a new picture better than his last picture is a higher body count. Rack up an astonishing 182 dead bodies in 'The Patriot'. This includes death by all manner of devices 'civilised' and otherwise, including a beheading by cannonfire. Did such things happen? Indeed. Do such things continue to happen...
Published on Feb. 28 2006 by FrKurt Messick

3.0 out of 5 stars Distorted history, bad script, yet still a guilty pleasure!
I have a lot of respect for Mel Gibson & I feel he did the best he could in this flawed war movie. That being said, the dialogue is completely laughable at times & just plain stupid at others. When I first heard about this movie I rejoiced, thinking it'd be a factual (or at least partly) account of the famous "Swamp Fox" of the Rev. War, Francis Marion...
Published on June 20 2004 by Dave

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4.0 out of 5 stars Braveheart 1776, April 26 2004
A. J. Cherrington (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
Once again Mel Gibson plays a wronged hero in another good verses evil story. This time it's the turn of the American Revolution.
Gibson plays a widower and former Indian French War soldier who hides a horrible secret and wishes to live a quiet life with his large family becuase of it.
All is turned upside down when the State of Carolina breaks away from the crown and his defiant older son joins the Continental Army.
With a young Heath Ledger playing older rebelious son, Gibson is suddenly confronted with the horrors of war when his home is over run by the British Army and the arrival of the film's villian played by Jasson Issacs, a cold hearted Dragoons Guard.
In the first incounter, Gibson loses his second son to this monster and then the "fun" begins. As usual a romantic line to the story is involved with Gibson's character's sister in law played by the beautiful Jolie Richardson.
A cat and mouse game soon insues and the movie rides along on the back of the continuing tension as Gibson and Issacs face off.
With constant setbacks that leaves you thinking if the Good will triumph over Evil, all soon comes to a head in one final epic battle and it's bloody conclusion... The birth of The United States Of America.
The DVD contains a surprisingly large amount of information including how they did that cannonball through the ranks scene.
For Gibson fans and all, a worthy addition to your library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What a Patriot should be, April 25 2004
This review is from: Patriot, the (VHS Tape)
I enjoy this film each and every time I stick it into the player. It's essentially the story of one man's struggle with his faith during the American Revolution. Due to a shameful past during the French & Indian War, Benjamin Martin has no desire to go to war against England. Eventually, when his family is targeted by the ruthless Colonel Tavington, Benjamin joins up with the Colonial
Mel Gibson once again discharges the role of the reluctant hero who ultimately feels compelled to risk life and limb for his nation. A family is provided to move the plot along. The sons' commitment to the revolution places the Gibson character in an inescapable predicament. A loyal wife and adorable little girls tug at our heart strings. Tom Wilkerson as the British General Corwallis plays the part of a man who will abide by his strict military moral code even if it will hurt England's chance for victory. On the other hand, his underling performed by Jason Isaacs is the pure personification of evil. Isaacs is at his best when ordering the so called traitors burned alive in the church. The director Roland Emmerich knows how to film scenes guaranteed to glue viewers to their seats even though this movie is every long.
The Patriot" does not discount that there were many who were opposed to an armed conflict with the mightily superior and highly organized British army. Indeed, one of the strengths of this movie is that it illustrates how difficult the decision to defend and to extend their notion of freedom and liberty was, knowing that many families would be torn asunder, homes destroyed, and lives sacrificed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Revolution According to Mel, April 14 2004
This review is from: Patriot, the (VHS Tape)
Few films are made about the Revolution since WW II, the financiers on Wall Street must not be comfortable with the concept. The film begins by showing a meeting to discuss Independence, and the need for war. One man talks of "taxation without representation", but the Declaration of Independence lists all the grievances. (Do you remember them?) There is no mention of the 1765 Stamp Act and the ruinous taxation that followed. There is little said of the business of this planter. Isn't tobacco the equivalent of coca leafs or opium poppies? The film gives an example of the fighting of that time. The Carolinas suffered the most in the Revolution, even more than New Jersey, where many of the battles were fought (the land bridge connecting Philadelphia to New York). The after battle scene shows pistols and muskets used to kill wounded prisoners; they would have used gun butts, bayonets, or swords as in other massacres. The film is accurate in showing boys experienced with firearms, and the use of knives and tomahawks in close combat.
Colonel Mel leads his militia into guerrilla attacks on British supply wagons. The militia was usually used to attack foraging troops. These losses tied down the British regulars and prevented their advance. No mention of the Loyalist militia here. The film shows the British setting a trap to ambush the ambushers! (How could this failure of intelligence occur? Just for dramatic effect?) The "Ghost" plays a trick on the General to get 18 prisoners released. Another failure of intelligence? Historians will object to some of the events created for dramatic effects. But popular entertainment isn't academic history. The celebration at the seashore seems designed for an intermission.
The scene where the townspeople are locked in a church and then burned alive has been criticized as an invention. But it symbolizes the cruelty and horrors of war in the Carolinas. Afterwards Mel's men catch up to some of the troops. Could that experienced Colonel be surprised by not posting guards? The evil Colonel escapes by a ruse; would an experienced soldier be fooled?
The final battle seems to be based on the battle of Cowpens, when the retreating militia led the charging British into the prepared trap and won the battle. There is a final confrontation between Mel and the evil Colonel. Cornwallis is forced to retreat to Yorktown, where the French fleet traps them and forces a surrender. The War of Independence was won! But you owe it to yourself to read a history book to learn more. Mike Wright's "What They Didn't Teach You About the American Revolution" is a good place to start.
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1.0 out of 5 stars - An Historic Joke to Represent the Bush Presidency -, April 11 2004
Glenn R. Urbanas (Richmond Hill, New York USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Patriot, the (VHS Tape)
Don't waste more than a dollar on this abomination. The American director and writer are the real villains in this flop, not the British officers. A great opportunity to make a Rev War battle flick that outdid the modest British-produced 'Revolution' and the flawed but spectacular 'Gettysburg' was lost by hackneyed reversion to Hollywood cliche, presumably to appeal to every segment of the woefully ignorant American family audience. Plot, character, behavior, score, costume design, art direction, etc. are almost all wrong. The Continental and Brit infantry extras (mostly re-enactors) do a decent job in the battle scenes which are otherwise ruined by absurdly incorrect artillery. Even the sets are wrong, being highly sanitized representations of very primitive Carolina living conditions. The infamous Tarleton and his British Legion are clothed not in their distinctive green jackets but in something better suited to a comic operetta. Too many failings in fact, dialogue, lifestyle, behavior, costume, arms, etc. to allow any but the ignorant to suspend disbelief. A mockery was made of American/British military history and cynically clothed in jingo-istic flag-waving - a fitting film to represent the hypocritical mis-representations and false 'patriotism' of the Bush administration. A reputable cast wasted on a bit of Hollywood trash - just listen to the listless delivery of Chris Cooper who must have lost all faith in the project. Even the hats are mis-cocked and worn incorrectly - just take a gander at the quasi-Napoleonic monstrosity the actor playing the French officer is made to wear!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, April 2 2004
A. M Robertson "brother_entropy" (Seattle, wa United States) - See all my reviews
First off I will have to admit, I liked this movie. But it was a mixed bag of good and bad. It did come out as a lot of people pointed out, like braveheart, but not nearly as good.
here are some of the good.
The action sequences and cinematography are amazing. This director really knew how to set up the battle sequences so that they are both picturesque, and frightening at the same time. This was rated as one of the middle period Napoleonic wars, and the fighting style is much different than what we are used to. You dressed in bright uniforms and marched to your death. Cavalry charges were still used to a great degree of effectiveness, and they used them with deadly efficiency. The cannons were primarily large bullets that they would angle specifically so that they would bounce or skip and hit as many soldiers as they could, similar to a bowling ball.
There were some funny moments with Mel Gibson and his children.
A few twists and turns were in the plot, where it was following a cliche movie device up until the very end, where they turn it around at the conclusion.
Some of the dialogue is interesting and the character motivations were not all standard. Mel Gibsons characters initial refusal to enter the war, his speech to the continental congress, etc....
Like Braveheart it had many historical ideas that were true in a sense, but didn't happen in the same way. There was a military leader in the british army that practiced a slash and burn operation similar to sherman in the civil war. As well as other decisions by the British that angered many colonials causing them to join the war when the originally stayed neutral. Cornwallis was a noted field commander and a favorite of the king.
Now for the bad.
Some of the cliches were almost laughably bad.
The antagonists, though well acted and interesting, were over the top in some key areas. Cornwallis was not flawless in his exploits, and he was a patriot but actually opposed harsh treatment of Americans before the war, including the infamous "stamp tax". Though some leaders in the millitary did a slash and burn campaign, I don't recall any mention of people being burned alive.
The method they had for victory in the end was a bit simplistic. The main selling point was it was the defeat of a giant in the war for independence. Though the British army in question was a giant in that time, it seemed like too cliche and easy of a ruse, relying on the arrogance of a oppsing general.
The ambush sequence where Mel Gibson and his sons killed a large number of soldiers was a bit far fetched. Though troops at that time were terrible at defending against ambush, they weren't necessarily stupid, and could have mounted a better defense.
The murder of his son in the earlier part of the movie was over the top in its attempt to show how wicked the leader of the Dragoons was. When he ordered the wounded killed, that would have been sufficient, him shooting a boy even out of necessity was a step short of him wearing a black top hat and twisting his mustache.
All in all I give this 3 stars as a standalone movie. It will entertain most and just about everybody will find something they like in it. But the lack of consistency, overuse of cliches, and mixed quality writing will bother most people.
As an action film alone, it gets four stars, but for an overall film, 3.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, March 17 2004
By A Customer
Minutes into this movie, with its idiotic collapsing rocking-chair routine, you know what the rest of it is going to be like. At times it seemed to flatter to deceive (you feel sorry for the hard-working, conscientious costume designers), but in fact was only reducing you into tolerating it at its own cornier than corny basement mental level. An excellent reason for viewing it is to discover that so many one-star reviewers hold exactly the same opinion, which they express with piercing truthfulness --- except for the one who thinks Braveheart was historically accurate (come on! woad and tartan in 1300?). If you want true battle-field accuracy and historical faithfulness, as well as a really awesome spectacle and outstanding casting, try Waterloo, with Steiger and Plummer. I have to give this wretched film one star in order to review it at all (why is this?): I give it another star because the villain (who was otherwise totally unreal) is definitely one of the most charismatically evil and unredeemably nasty characters I can remember seeing on any screen. He had no good qualities of any kind, and the actor portrayed him up to the hilt and beyond. Otherwise, zilch. I thought the little kiddies were quite cute.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I give it Two Thumbs Off, Feb. 13 2004
Joseph J. Slevin (Carlsbad, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This is a movie to watch especially around the 4th of July. Gibson does an admirable job of being a father beset by the loss of his son and having to decide between loyalty to a country he fought for and the land he lives in.
There is some gore in the movie. However, like braveheart, you may get a sense of reality and being in a battle that is around you.
This is a movie where a father cares for his family, alone, yet he has an extended family and his fellow countrymen and women who he can rely on.
You get feeling in the movie that it is okay to fight oppression and greed and there is a time to make a stand for what is a good and proper cause.
One interesting thing about this movie, not many movies have been made about the Revolutionary war and never have I seen one from the perspective of the South. Most of our history has been oriented toward Washington, the Delaware and Philadelphia.
This movie give a view that the war was much larger in scope and had a myriad of events and situations, battles, outcomes and even murder. This is a movie of the triumph of the human will to be free.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fictional story with truthism, Feb. 8 2004
By A Customer
From the reviews I've read when the movie originally appeared in theaters and since and when it came to home video, quite a polarizing piece of work. I'll take the defense of the movie first.
The story is loosely, yes, very loosely, based on several real people. Our villain, Cornel Tavington, (Banastre Tarleton), and the hero, Benjamin Martin (hero of the French-Indian War). Cornel Tarleton, 'The Butcher,' was known for shooting surrendering troops, somewhat shown in the movie when a Lieutenant asked what to do with the Rebel wounded...'Kill them.'
The movie did a good job at explaining the American Revolution started out slowly and was NOT enthusiastically supported by most Colonists. Our well to do farmer, Mr. Martin, resisted war, warned that war would be brought home to family and children. While the Declaration of Independence does close with ...'we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes...' that was not a common sentiment with affluent Colonists of means who relied on Britain for commerce and trade. Mr. Martin opposes war until it is conveniently, and violently placed at his doorstep. The gorilla warfare tactics shown, where the Colonists had the upper hand, was also a truism.
Like most movies, there are images and symbolisms, and this movie is filled with them, and some of them are true and quite telling. There is a scene, near the end of the movie, when Mr. Martin buries his son, when he pulls out the US flag, all torn and soiled. He then changes his tune and joins back in the fight. As corny as this may seem, there is truth to it, how so many Colonists were dragged into the fight because it had meant so much to somebody else close to them.
As uncivil as it seems to us the modern, Colonists and regular British army lined up on opposing sides and fired point blank at each other. This is the second bloodiest war in US history. While relations today between the British and the US have been solid, and rightfully so from World War II on, it should be remembered that the US and Britain were not always on cordial terms for much of early American history. Most alive today can't remember that era. As recently as the European War (World War I), from an American point of view it was NOT clear the US would join the Allies. American businesses saw the British blockade as an act of war and that Britain had no right to interfere with US commerce. Constant German missteps helped push the US into the Allied camp., just to point out a few of the inaccuracies. First, our villain. He says his father squandered his wealth, in reality HE squandered his family fortune through gambling, women and booze, to name a few. Lord Cornwallis articulated the British policy the best. In general, Cornel Tavington's actions were NOT the norm, as the British practiced civilized war (if there is such a thing).
The burning of the church is one that really got the professional reviewers upset. The producers of the movie defend this by pointing out Tories committed many of these acts of atrocities, and if you look, the hand which throws the torch is of a Tory. But, the record should reflect, the British displayed very much restraint on the burning of private buildings (Mr. Martin's home not withstanding), and practiced the same in the War of 1812. While they did burn public buildings, private homes were pretty much off limits. It should also be remembered, and I'm an American, that US troops did NOT show such restraint to our friends to the North in the War of 1812. US troops that invaded Canada burned buildings indiscriminately.
The slavery issues is side stepped. While it is littered throughout the movie, it is never taken head on or developed in any real way, and the backdrop is in slaveholding South Carolina. The African-Americans working on the Martin plantation were 'freed men.' While there was some of that, it is conveniently placed here rather then dive into the slavery issue more candidly.
Evasive treatment to issues like slavery and literary license to history will drive some viewers of this movie crazy. I grant, some of dialogue thin, flag waving and 'Hollywood production' feel coats the film. But, again I say, the movie did show how a reluctant warrior became a Patriot. It also showed personal sacrifice that were borne by the Colonists for an idea. It did showed how the Colonists, even neighbors in the same Colony didn't speak with a uniform voice (such division existed AFTER the war as well, as some Colonists wanted a loose federation of states others wanted a Federal government of states). Also, some who have panned this movie seem to forget, yes, there was a time when civil people of the West, lined up opposing each other and shot at point blank range...repeatedly. Unfortunately, this would not be the last.
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3.0 out of 5 stars No history lesson but, Jan. 15 2004
MCB "mb1620" (NC United States) - See all my reviews
this film does have merit. For one it is entertaining, I like Mel Gibson and the other actors as well and IMHO believe they did a fine job of acting. Jason Isaacs in particular did a fine job.
For another it shows a large audience in the US that the war for independence was fought in other places besides Boston, Valley Forge, New York etc It also demonstrated the brutality of the war in the south.
And it is my hope that the film will spur people to pick up a book about this part of the Rev War. There are many, excellent books about it. May I recommend BRUTAL VIRTUE (dispels the myths about Tarleton), THIS DESTRUCTIVE WAR: THE BRITISH CAMPAIGN IN THE CAROLINAS, and a new book A GALLANT DEFENSE (which superbly details the battle to take Charleston SC).
Once you begin reading you will learn that the Brits were not monsters and the Patriots were not saints. If your entire knowledge of the Rev War in the Carolinas is from this movie then you will be either pleasantly suprised or sadly disappointed after you read these and many other fine books on the subject.
The movie, after everything is said and done, is nothing more than 2 hours of entertainment very loosley based on actual events.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A BRAVEHEART IN COLONIAL TIMES, Jan. 12 2004
The patriot basically is a knock-off of "Braveheart" in buckskin vests and powdered wigs, but that doesn't seem to bother Mel Gibson, who won an Oscar for directing that film and stars in this one as another tread-upon colonial who takes up arms against England for his nation's freedom.
A hero of the French and Indian War who has since pledged to raise his children as a pacifist plantation farmer in South Carolina. He takes up arms against the British after one of his sons is killed in cold blood.
Much like Braveheart, Gibson becomes a one-man army, leading a band of colonialist against the Red Coats.
Still, for all its adherence to formula, "The Patriot" is certainly handsome and effectively rousing in small ways, like the scenes in which Martin smelts his dead son's toy soldiers into musket balls, or when he rallies farmers and villagers to arms, resulting in a motley militia of "colorful" roughnecks from central casting.
Not a bad movie, but as with Braveheart, not high in historical accuracy and he Gibson isn't surrounded by nearly the stellar cast of that movie.
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The Patriot (Extended Cut)
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