I cannot begin to describe the number of things in this movie that made the hairs on my testicles stand on end. Let's begin with the patriotic audience, who cheered every time someone's head got blown off or somebody took a bayonet through the face. Then, when these same banjo-strumming mouth-breathers saw a doctor working on some soldier's blown-off leg, they screeched "Ewww!" Made me yearn for one of those cannonballs to come sailing through a few rows of the audience.
What's wrong with audiences today? The filmmakers behind such gems as "Godzilla" and "Independence Day" are what's wrong. Director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin are making movies with the same melodrama one finds in professional wrestling. How else could one explain the childlike idiot-woman sitting behind me yelling out various plot twists just before they happened? "He's going to shoot the boy! He's going to shoot the boy!" Of course the British and cruel Col. Tavington (Jason Isaacs) are going to shoot Benjamin Martin's (Mel Gibson) son. Why the hell do you think they're playing the kind of music you hear when a daytime soap character goes skipping down a dark alley in high heels? Not to mention that Emmerich has a close-up on the kid's pathetic face, which is just screaming "Hey! I'm gonna run in front of a bullet, yeah!"
Benjamin Martin is the movie's Revolutionary War hero, goaded to arms by Tavington even though he doesn't want to fight. He's not interested in fighting, because he has a family. He also has the happiest black people in South Carolina. Naturally, they aren't Martin's slaves -- they just work for him! We certainly couldn't have a hero who was a slave-owner (though the person this character was supposedly based on was a confirmed racist). That would just be too non-PC. I mean, South Carolina has come so far, hauling down that Confederate flag just in time for the 21st century and all. We wouldn't want to malign their state by implying that there used to be slaves in it, now would we?
Oh, and Benjamin also doesn't want to fight because his dead wife's sister, Charlotte (Joely Richardson), is drooling all over him and heaving her breasts like she's petitioning for a new Olympic event. How a woman of that age and beauty could remain single during that time and not wind up whelping annually in a shack down by the swamp is anybody's guess, but she seems to manage. Naturally, everybody who's supposed to hook up does, which is promptly followed by Emmerich's version of the Ewok Adventure: The whites and the blacks all laugh and play and dance (to lovely Jamaican music, I might add) while taking a break from the fighting. If being patriotic means "the desire to move to a remote island with a bottle of cyanide as your only friend," "The Patriot" succeeded beyond all expectation.
To spread the word about this The Patriot review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.