Directed by Roland Emmerich
Starring Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Tchéky Karyo, and Rene Auberjonois.
“From the creators of Independence Day…. No words in a coming attraction seem to stir my blood more. ID4 still ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite movies. I think I’m the only person on the planet who’ll defend Godzilla. So, when I read that “the creators of Independence Day were teaming-up with the guy who wrote Saving Private Ryan to do an epic about the American Revolution, I could hardly wait. When I was in the theater to see The Patriot, and the lights dimmed, I said to myself, “OK, Roland. Justify my love!”
Mel Gibson is Benjamin Martin, a former soldier who has done terrible things in his past. But, he’s retired now, and focusing on raising his seven children, and tending to his farm. He’s trying to put his past behind him, and move on with his life. But, things are never as easy as they seem. The year is 1776, and the American colonies have just declared their independence. A revolution is brewing, and Martin wants no part of it. But his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) believes it’s a cause worth fighting for, and joins the militia against his father’s wishes. A few months pass, and soon the war is literally taking place in Martin’s backyard. His second-eldest son is murdered by the cruel Col. Tavington (Issacs) of the Green Dragoons, and Martin is just royaly pissed off. Martin then joins the militia for two reasons: vengeance for his second-eldest son, and to watch over Gabriel. Oh, and along the way, he falls for the sister of his deceesed wife (Richardson), who’s watching over the rest of his kids. Will Martin learn that there is more to this war than vengeance? Will he come home alive?
I know a lot of people who hated ID4 for its blatent Americanism. Well, that team has managed to create a movie that’s even more rah-rah for the red, white and blue. But then, it’s their revolution, so what did you expect? Emmerich proves once again that his forte is with the big explosions and action scenes. The sweeping vistas of battleships in harbours and the battle scenes are breath-taking, but the human stories in between just seem to be lacking something. Mel, as always, is Mel, and manages even to get in some good comic scenes, but there’s nothing specatcular about his performance. But, I do like Rene Auberjonois (Odo on Deep Space Nine), and he pops up in a small role as a preacher. Who knows? Maybe I’ve grown up, but the creators of Independence Day haven’t. Ultimatley, I have the same complaint about this film that I had about Titan A.E.: it’s good, but I so wanted it to be great.