This was terrific! The fight scenes were great, though
frustrating, there was humour interspersed just about everywhere, there
were just enough violent acts to call for revenge, and the music was
There were a few moments that made me cringe, though. One
which occurred several times was the American flag waving. I know
that it's supposed to inspire, but I think it was overdone, especially
with the music that went with it. The speech that Anna made to shame
the men of her town into joining the militia was also sappy enough to jar
me from the movie, as with the music played there, too.
But overall, the music was great, during the battle scenes, tender
moments, sad moments, and casual ones. The battle scenes seemed more
epic because of the music. I also liked the pipes playing stuff like
Mel Gibson's character was a person who was tired of war.
Years ago, he was in a bloody war where he did some pretty awful stuff.
So he thinks diplomacy should be the way to get Independence. But
his oldest son disagrees, and joins up for the army.
One day, two years later, there is a battle near his house, and
he treats the wounded soldiers, of both sides. His son also returns
home, wounded. The next morning, a very cruel British Colonel comes
by, and thanks him for tending to his troops. But because he also
tended to the "rebel" troops, the house is burned to the ground.
His son is taken prisoner, to be hung, and another son is shot as they
try to take his older son away.
This provides the impetus to the rest of the movie. Ben
is after revenge. He takes two of his younger sons, and they ambush
the traveling British group. Ben uses three guns and a tomahawk to
defeat more than twenty troops, in a terrific battle scene that is unmatched
through the whole film. He then sends his kids to their aunt, and
joins the army.
The battle scenes between the British and the Colonial army are
really neat to watch. They provide insight into the British form
of "gentlemanly conduct", because they each give the other side a chance
to shoot, and it goes on and on until one side breaks. It is a fundamental
reason why this sort of war changed forever when automatic weapons were
Ben knows they can never win against the British if they play
by British rules of war. So he drafts a militia, including his eldest
son, and they ambush the British again and again. Soon, Ben is being
called "the Ghost", because he and his troops spring up from nowhere.
Soon, the evil British Colonel is charged to capture or kill
him, using any means necessary. This is what the Colonel has wanted
all along. He starts torching houses and cities one by one, trying
to flush Ben out. He goes after Ben's five youngsters at their aunt's
house, who get rescued just in time, in a very tense scene where I
thought he was going to lose another son.
Ben gives his men a week to take care of their families, lead
them to some safe place. It is during this interlude that his eldest
son gets married, to a woman with whom he has been corresponding throughout
nearly the entire war.
Unfortunately, just as they arrive home, the next day, the evil
Colonel arrives in their town, and calls a town meeting in the church.
He then locks everybody inside, and burns the church to the ground.
I knew it was going to happen the moment he told them to get inside.
But it was completely heart-wrenching to watch. And it was even worse
to see Ben's son's face when they came upon the church.
I was grieved when his son died, then, but understand that he
probably would not have been able to go on living without his love.
But I almost thought he would succeed in killing the British Colonel, because
that is what appeared to happen. But all too quickly, the circumstances
And Ben nearly gives up the entire fight. But the flag
his son stitched inspired him, and he takes his place at the front of the
line. They bluff the British in the next battle, which is to be decisive.
They make the British think that it is only militia fighting, and so are
overconfident. But when they chase the remaining militiamen over
a hill, they are ambushed, and nearly defeated. Ben's men are retreating,
though, so he inspires them again, rallying them forward, forcing the British
But not before Ben meets his nemesis face to face. They
do good battle, and Ben uses all of his good luck charms -the lucky bullet,
his tomahawk - to no effect. Finally, he is on the ground, and he
uses the same trick that the Colonel used on his son, earlier in the movie,
and finally kills the man who slew his son.
That is really where the movie ends, but I am glad they went
on to finish the war. It is done in voiceover, with visuals.
And the view of the French in the bay was amazing.
The lone Frenchman was great, as was Ben's reaction to him.
"Typical French" was written all over Ben's eyes after talking with the
man! And the scenes with the dogs was hilarious. They belonged
to the British Admiral, but took a liking to Ben after being captured.
That made the "prisoner exchange" even funnier than it was to begin with,
as Ben called the dogs out after him! Of course, Ben's men were exchanged
for British scarecrows.
I was enthralled with this movie. It had passion, revenge,
love, and humour. The humour seemed a little out of place at times,
and Mel Gibson looked a little too Lethal Weapon-ish at times. The
British Colonel seemed a little too evil , but at least it was
acknowledged that he was disliked even by his peers, and was not acting
by the established rules.
Finally, Ben's daughters were absolute beauties! I don't
know where they found these girls, but even without any lines, they could
hold up the screen on their own. One has refused to speak since her
mother died, three years earlier, but her eight year old sister encourages
her all the time, and they both seem much, much older than they look.
She finally speaks in a heart-wrenching scene before Ben goes off to battle.
I was really hoping that he would keep his promise to her.
The token black man gets some of the greatest lines. He
earns his freedom; unfortunately, he doesn't know that there will be another
war fought for freedom in a hundred years.
This was a good film that I would enjoy again, I'm sure.
It seemed epic enough during the battle scenes, and it was great to see
the loyalty that his men had for him. It was heartfelt in all the
right places, and really worked.