The Patriot (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) has served his time in military action, but he has no wish to return to his warlike ways. He has lost his wife, but still has several children to tend to and has no intentions of leaving them fatherless. But his oldest son, Gabriel (Heath Ledger) wants to be right on the front lines and enlists even without his father’s consent. Soon Gabriel returns home, though this time he is wounded and is mere hours in front of a massive battle. The battle spills right into the Martin’s property and when morning comes, the cruel Col. Tavington (Jason Isaacs) of the English army arrives and orders the death of Gabriel for carrying papers to American forces. As if that wasn’t enough, Tavington also kills a younger son when he tries to intervene and this drives Benjamin over the edge. He soon rallies his remaining sons, takes arms, and heads out to free Gabriel. After this mission works, he joins up with the American forces and works to amass a civilian team to hold off the English forces until the French arrive. But this is a personal mission as well and by the time the war ends, either Benjamin or Tavington will be dead by the other’s hand.

I am a sucker for period movies and since I also love action films, The Patriot seemed like a perfect match for my tastes. As it turned out, it was a good match and I viewed The Patriot more than a couple times at my local theater. I had a lot of fun with this movie and I think the action and emotional content rival that of any movies of this ilk (i.e. Braveheart or Gladiator). The acting is more than adequate, the battle sequences flat out rock, the production design is epic in scale, and simply put, this is a massive movie that offers a nice ride. Some people complain about “historical inaccuracies,” but then again, this is a MOVIE and not a documentary. Last time I checked, you sometimes need to suspend disbelief at the movies, this being no exception. If you want total realism, I happen to know that A&E offers some excellent documentaries about this subject matter. If you want an action packed movie with an epic backdrop, The Patriot will more than satisfy your needs. This new Superbit Deluxe edition from Columbia offers optimal video & audio, as well as most of the supplements from the previous disc. So if you want more extras, the prior disc will suffice, but if video & audio matter more, then this version is sure to please.

Although this role is much like another he has played, Mel Gibson still delivers a powerful and gripping performance in this movie. I never thought of his work in Braveheart and though they are similar, both remain distinct and different in a lot of ways. We see him in the battlefield a lot, but here the focus seems to be on his personal side, which works out very well in the end. We saw a lot of emotion from him in Braveheart, but I think he is more focused and impressive in this movie. I liked both performances and movies, but I like Gibson better in The Patriot. If you want to see more of Gibson’s work I recommend Braveheart, Conspiracy Theory, Chicken Run, Lethal Weapon 1-4, Ransom, Mad Max, and Gallipoli. The cast also includes Chris Cooper (American Beauty, A Time To Kill), Jason Isaacs (Dragonheart, Soldier), Heath Ledger (10 Things I Hate About You), Tcheky Karyo (Wing Commander, Addicted To Love), Tom Wilkinson (Rush Hour, The Full Monty), and Joely Richardson (Event Horizon, Return To Me).

Video: How does it look?

With all of the catalog titles in Sony’s vault, this one was bound to surface sooner or later. Essentially any title that’s been given the “Superbit” treatment will come to fruition on Blu-ray and it’s now time for us to see “The Patriot” in true High Definition. The AVC HD 2.35:1 transfer is simply glorious, showcasing pretty much all of what the new format has to offer. Flesh tones are right on the money, detail level is incredible and for those wondering, you’ll get to see all of the blood and gore in about as much clarity as you so desire. I really couldn’t find a single thing wrong with this transfer, it’s one of the best I’ve seen on the new format (and that includes HD DVD too) and I’d gladly show off this movie as what Blu-ray is capable of being. Perfect.

Audio: How does it sound?

Ok, let’s get serious here. “The Patriot” sounded amazing on standard DVD and the DTS track on the Superbit version rocked the house. Now we get the good stuff, true uncompressed audio. WOW! I very rarely have to turn down my speakers for fear of waking the neighbors but this is one of those instances in which I did and felt like I was cheating myself out of the whole experience. Every bullet, explosion and everything else in between sounds amazing. The sheer depth of the track is a testament to how good something on disc can actually sound. I was floored beyond belief as good as this movie looks, it sounds just as great. Should you want to (not) hear what you’re missing, the original 5.1 track is on there as well as other 5.1 tracks for French, Czech and Polish VO (whatever that is). Amazing. Top notch. I need not say more.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This new extended version of “The Patriot” is exactly like that of the standard DVD release. This version of the film is 10 minutes longer with the additional scenes added back into the film and essentially all of the other extras have been ported over from the previous editions minus the commentary track from the first disc. Since we’ve covered both of those, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Yes, you get two featurettes but you also get reference quality sound and audio. Fans of this movie (or if anyone wanting to show off their system) should not hesitate to pick this up.

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