Mel shouts out another history lesson in this cornball colonial confection.
The Devlin/Emmerich team returns this Independence Day, but this time
the only aliens getting their butts kicked are the British. In what's
more a traditional action flick than historical drama penned by "Saving
Private Ryan" scribe Robert Rodat, Mel Gibson plays a widower tending to
farm and family during the American Revolution. His eldest son (Heath
Ledger) is itching to enlist, but pacifist dad puts the kibosh on that
plan. When an absurdly evil pack of Redcoats kills one of the brood, the
gentle farmer takes his idealistic son and his trusty hatchet to dish
out payback to the King's army.
Don't bother showing him the script. Crowd-pleaser Gibson won't need it,
since he's going to do his badass rebel/hero thing anyway. Thrill as
this colonial super-soldier wastes 20 Brits with a hatchet and smirk!
Weep as his sulky infant daughter spurns her absentee papa! Fall in love
all over as our hero romances his dead wife's sister (Joely Richardson)!
Then again, don't bother. And Ledger is certain to set hearts aflutter
in the 'N Sync crowd.
No one's expecting subtlety from the team that brought us "Godzilla,"
but "The Patriot" relentlessly wrings the bitter last drop of emotion
out of every scene of this predictable 2 1/2 hour "epic." Emmerich
deserves some credit, though, for the impressive battle scenes that
often make this flick seem like an unauthorized prequel to "Private
Better than a bayonet through the stomach, but ultimately a