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Stephen E. Miller,
A satire of American news reporting, Covert Agencies, and political system. The theft of two suitcase sized nuclear weapons, and their sale to a terrorist group, leads TV Newsman Patrick ... See full summary »
The Patriot is a truly awful 80s action movie. In fact, it is so terrible that I thought it might have been a spoof until the blood started to flow. This film is poorly made, badly directed and something of a grazing ground for incompetent actors. And yet, it is also funny and mindlessly entertaining in a way that only 80s action trash can be.
The plot, if you could call it that, revolves around an ex-Navy Seal called Ryder. Ryder would have to be one of the most personality free action heroes in the history of cinema. If he's not mumbling something to one of his badly permed lady friends in the local bar, he's visiting a demented couple on a houseboat who play Twister dressed as high school students. In addition to these activities, Ryder is also called on by the Navy to stop the detonation of a stolen nuclear weapon. This proves to be rather straightforward due to a friend of Ryder conveniently finding the label from a missing nuke at her workplace. The coincidences continue when Ryder runs into his ex-lover on a Navy ship and we are treated to an incredibly unpleasant lovemaking scene between this most unattractive of couples. The film reaches a new low when two of the thieves dance to 80s pop music while unloading the nuke and then debate going to Disneyland.
There really is no excuse for this smörgåsbord of incompetence. The film was written by Katt Shea of "Poison Ivy" and "Stripped To Kill" fame, the budget appears to have been substantial given the scope of the special effects and Gregg Henry, who plays Ryder, is usually a very good actor. I guess this is just one of those ill-fated projects that inexplicably ends up being terrible. However, the incredibly dull direction, multitude of goofs and appalling supporting cast would not have helped matters.
Despite all the film's flaws, I could not help but find "The Patriot" mildly amusing. For example, Ryder's reunion with Sean, complete with Vietnam war back story, is so contrived and ridiculous that I had to laugh. The same goes for Jeff Conaway's crazy-eyed performance and the bumbling villains ("What's a Hiroshima?"). The action itself, while poorly handled, is still moderately entertaining. Maggie's decompression chamber mishap was my personal highlight.
The Patriot is not a film I would want to watch again but it is probably worth watching on TV if you are heavily medicated and there is nothing else on but re-runs of "Designing Women". Fans of bad 80s action movies or Leslie Nielsen might find it more bearable.
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