The Patriot (Roland Emmerich, 2000)
[originally posted 4Apr2001]
I’m not sure why I’m mildly surprised this movie wasn’t nearly as good as Braveheart. After all, Roland Emmerich was the brain behind such wondrous projects as Godzilla (1998) and Universal Soldier. Hoo boy. That said, it’s quite amazing that the thing manages to come off as well as it does. The main reason it does is Jason Isaacs, who plays William Tavington, the sleazy British colonel who serves as Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson)’s nemesis. (Did Isaacs look familiar to you? He delivered the immortal “C minus” line in Armageddon—one of the few lines in that movie that made it worth watching.)
While this film is most certainly a Mel Gibson vehicle, he seems somewhat pale here, almost as if he were bored with the thing for a good deal of the shooting. The minor characters, however, make up for that in many cases. Along with Isaacs, excellent performances are turned in by Heath Ledger, Gregory Smith, and the always-underrated Jay Arlen Jones (hey, I had to find a way to get a Night of the Creeps reference in here somewhere!).
Still, it ain’t Braveheart. For that matter, it ain’t Lethal Weapon 2. It might not even be Gallipoli. In other words, if you need a Gibson fix, there are many ways to get it that don’t involve various cast and crew members from awful remakes of movies featuring a guy in a green rubber suit. **