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The Patriot (2000): Braveheart vs. Redcoat, with Expected Results

The Patriot (Roland Emmerich, 2000)

[originally posted 4Apr2001]

Mel Gibson is so dominant in this poster it might as well be called "Mel Gibson and... well, a few other people."

At least he didn’t call it The Last Temptation of Washington.
photo credit: Wikipedia

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.)

Mel Gibson charges through a battlefield in a scene from the film.

“I have to be in the center of every shot. It’s in the contact.”
photo credit: The Guardian

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!).

Heath Ledger in a rare quiet moment from the film.

“Eh, I’ll let that Ledger guy be in it, too.”
photo credit: theaceblackblog.com

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. **

 


Trailer.

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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