The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.
When a multimillionaire man's son is kidnapped, he cooperates with the police at first but then turns the tables on the kidnappers when he uses the ransom money as a reward for the capture of the kidnappers.
It is 1776 in colonial South Carolina. Benjamin Martin, a French-Indian war hero who is haunted by his past, now wants nothing more than to live peacefully on his small plantation, and wants no part of a war with the most powerful nation in the world, Great Britain. Meanwhile, his two eldest sons, Gabriel and Thomas, can't wait to enlist in the newly formed "Continental Army." When South Carolina decides to join the rebellion against England, Gabriel immediately signs up to fight...without his father's permission. But when Colonel William Tavington, British dragoon, infamous for his brutal tactics, comes and burns the Martin Plantation to the ground, tragedy strikes. Benjamin quickly finds himself torn between protecting his family, and seeking revenge along with being a part of the birth of a new, young, and ambitious nation. Written by
If you're entering the theater with the intent to place artistic integrity before blatant marketability, this is not your film. The Patriot is a jumbled, uncoordinated mess without a sense of moral ambiguity that insults the memory of American soldiers who gave their lives for a coordinated cause. It also attributes Nazi mannerisms to the British, led by Colonel William Tavington, who is portrayed by Jason Isaacs.
The plot is as similar to other Roland Emmerich productions (Godzilla, Independence Day, 10,000 B.C.) as it is insultingly simple. A colonial man named Benjamin Martin (played by Mel Gibson) is beset with disaster (the Revolutionary War), and must face it bravely, lest he lose his life as well. In the view of some, this is more of a disaster movie (both figuratively and literally) than a war movie, because Emmerich chooses to place the focus of the nearly 3-hour-long movie on the atrocities (most of which are apocryphal) committed by the British rather than the struggle of the well-meaning protagonist. In reality, church burnings by the British never occurred, there is no evidence Banastre Tarleton (renamed as Tavington in the movie and portrayed by Jason Isaacs) ever broke war rules and shot a child in cold blood, and prisoners of war were never needlessly shot down. This movie also decides that the character shouldn't own slaves (so why choose the location of South Carolina?), or it would make him look bad. This film decides to put big- budget profitability instead of historical accuracy, and hence fails to provide a proper story.
Interspersed throughout the movie are various "hilarious" segments meant to provide comic relief from a serious topic. Fake black teeth, a well- dressed Frenchman, a young lady's deaf father (who wasn't on the screen long enough to provide us anything to laugh at) and Gibson's children, offer nothing more than a simple pleasantry to distract us from Gibson mutilating a corpse with a tomahawk. However this comic relief is misplaced and takes away from the harsh realities of war. While all this may offer half a chuckle at best, one cannot miss the main problem with The Patriot: it follows a familiar storyline with monotonous characters whose struggles are too clichéd for us to sympathize with them. Additionally, the actors in this movie are curt and apathetic - e.g when a character dies, a potentially emotional and powerful scene ends up becoming a jumbled mess of pointless reassurances and quick recovery . Gibson's performance is not only limited by his monotonous drone in place of much needed emotion, but also hindered by a mediocre script and a too-liberal "Americanized" accent. However, his is not the only reviled performance. Heath Ledger is apparently sparing his talent for a later movie, as he seems to act uninterested in the production as well. Ironically, the only decent performance in this film was that of Jason Isaacs's, whose character was basically reduced to nothing but a cartoony "bad guy" left hopelessly for the audience to hate.
The movie doesn't care to focus on character development and emotions as much as it does on glorifying its special effects and slapping on a story at the end. Artistically, it provides nothing of significant merit whatsoever. For those who are looking for a film studio's excuse to show off their excellent CGI and special effects, this movie will suit their purposes. However, if you appreciate a truly compelling story, studded with wisdom, historical accuracy and a powerful message like I do, then let this disaster blow over without your help.
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