The Patriot

I have long feared that my sins would return to haunt me, and the cost would be more than I could bear.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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Three words. Braveheart with Muskets. I know it is too easy, but it had to be said. I have come to the conclusion that Gibson hasn't evolved as an actor since rescuing Cosby's daughter in Lethal Weapon. Whether he is doing a movie about liberating the Scots from the horrors of England or liberating America from the horrors of, uhh, England, it always ends up him headbutting his way through lemming-like bad guys with European accents, sometimes without a shirt. Almost every Mel Gibson can be distilled down to three types of shots. Close ups of his hanging hounddog like face, epic shots of him grunting and crying at sky after his loved ones have been killed / kidnapped, and him hacking, slashing and blasting his way through various mannequin-like wide-eyed bad folk. I guarantee that the suits who sat around and decided to milk the American public of some of it's hard earned money under the guise of patriotism knew exactly what they were going to get when they put in Gibson. They say it was unfortunate that everyone compares this to Braveheart, but that is exactly what they did when they sat around their large lacquered oak desk in their fancy silk business suits with $400 ties sipping their grande' late' mocha espresso and wondering if their new Mercedes SUV is going to be safe now that a black man was hired to run the garage. This movie was built for Gibson. And for us Gibson lovers, a membership I am grudgingly a part of, you get what you would expect. Gibson killing 20 soldiers with a knife. Gibson hitting someone with an axe in slow motion. Gibson staring evil darth vader like bad guys in the eyes while saying lines built to make beer drinking WWF fans say "Fuck yeah, you limey prick!". You get it all. In order to appear to be an "epic" film instead of the action film it really is, those above perfect-teeth suits decided to make it three hours long and throw in enough family members that the tedious subplots are virtually unlimited. Everything from physically painful scenes about black ink-stained teeth to tear jerking interactions with his mute daughter are squeezed out like a soaked sponge to fill out the three hours where he doesn't kill people.

Ok, I have been ragging on Patriot pretty hard, but there are some good points. You get to see a lot of blood and gore. Heads, arms, legs and other various appendages go flying and twirling through the air like water propelled rockets. The battle scenes are done without the typical explosions and gunfire, but with something that sounds at least like the pimply faced sound mixer was trying to do musket fire. You get to wonder what it is that our hero is trying to hide about his past that makes half the world want to worship him and the other half want to hang him, but the movie makes the mistake of telling you what it is instead of letting your evil mind twist up images of our hero making the french watch 24 hours of Jerry Bruckheimer movies without a pee break.

The DVD is reference disc quality. The 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture is beautiful and colorful. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack blasts and soars along with the cannon and musket fire. There is a making of feature, but no directors commentary ("Here is where I told Gibson to hold his dead whomever and stare at the sky while moaning and grumbling a lot.").

I know I give this one a lot of crap, but the reality of it is that I was entertained for two and a half hours and more than likely you will be too. The truth is, though, that I don't want to be entertained by it since it is so obviously a plot by faceless suit-wearing automatons to take my $4 instead of letting me spend it on something useful.