After his son is killed by British officer Benjamin Martin joins the local militia and fights for the independence of United States.
When American Revolution has started Benjamin Martin (a widower and father of 7 children) is called to Charleston to vote in the South Carolina General Assembly on supporting the Continental Army. As a veteran of French and Indian War (part of Seven Years’ War) he is against joining the war against Great Britain. Nevertheless Martin’s eldest son Gabriel joins the Continental Army and after a battle that took place nearby he returned home slightly wounded.
In the morning when British have arrived at Martin’s farm Colonel William Tavington orders the wounded Americans to be shot and since Gabriel Martin was a messenger carrying orders he is to be hanged as spy. Benjamin Martin pleads for his sons life, but Tavington is unshakable. When the soldiers are about to hang Gabriel his younger brother Thomas tries to help him and is shot by Tavington, who orders the farm to be burnt. Benjamin Martin takes his younger sons and sets up ambush in the woods hoping to save Gabriel, who is escorted to be executed. After that Martin joins the militia forces and fight the British in guerrilla warfare.
This war movie is another example of "spicing up" the history by American cinema - this time we get Braveheart joins American Revolution. And not only because Mel Gibson played main characters in both. The setting, the scenography, the costumes - all were consulted with the historians to keep them as realistic as possible. Pity they didn’t consult someone about the plot, which is so unrealistic that it is sometimes even painful to watch. To begin with British atrocities during the revolution that are depicted far beyond what really took place, the moronic behaviour of every British soldier in sight (especially during the first ambush), the reality in which 10-year-old children (Martin’s sons) shoot better than British professional soldiers, the crappy dialogues (like "I’ll kill you before end of this war" which is slightly different version of "I’ll be back" and without foreign accent).
Overall it was planned as something between adventure and historical movie and up to a point it worked well, but some of he scenes are pushed far, far beyond reality (like the prisoners exchange) and some of the dialogues and characters are so corny that it is hard to watch. And to make things worse, just like with other American movies with patriotic overtones, the creators are convinced that longer means better, so the movie with story that would fill 2 hours was made into 3 hours...
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