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Editor's rating: 
Monday, 01 October 2007 |  Written by Mel Odom  | 
Patriot, The (2000) Why does Mel Gibson get to play iconic heroes in the movies? Because when he’s on he can knock the ball out of the park, that’s why. Gibson delivers the goods again in the Revolutionary War-action flick, “The Patriot.” He plays Benjamin Martin, a farmer in South Carolina, who has seven kids. That’s because that’s how many Gibson had in real life himself at the time. Benjamin was a veteran of the French and Indian War, as it was called in America. The British called it King George’s War, for King George III. Those seven years, from 1756 to 1763, involved some of the bloodiest hand-to-hand combat in the world at that time. It was during this war that the American soldiers learned to fight from cover and use the Europeans’ style of fighting in the open in sheer numbers against them. Despite his oldest son’s desires, Benjamin keeps them all out of ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 06 October 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Tears of the Sun Although the setting for this war/rescue melodrama is unusual—Nigeria during its civil war—the story is overall the same old thing. Don’t come to this film looking for anything out of the ordinary, don’t expect anything other than stereotyped characters—you won’t find them. Director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “King Arthur”) is proficient with action scenes and gets reasonably sturdy performances from his cast. But lead Bruce Willis plays Lt. A.K. Waters in a standard Bruce Willisian manner: he squints, he clenches his teeth and moves as though all his muscles are permanently flexed. There’s no looseness or naturalness to his performance—he’s mostly rather dull. In his commentary track, Fuqua claims he was striving for realism, and so cast the Nigerian characters with real Africans, many of whom had fled the Nigerian Civil War. But then he shot the whole film on highly-recognizable Hawaiian locations (the island of Oahu) and depicts the insurgents following our little ...
Editor's rating: 
Sunday, 01 October 2006 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Stealth Columbia was certain they had one of the biggest hits of last summer in the aerial action movie “Stealth.” It had attractive leads, one of whom—Jamie Foxx—had just won a Best Actor Oscar. It was full of special effects and explosions, the ideal summer movie. But hardly anybody went to see it. Now it’s available on DVD in the Blu-Ray process Sony Home Video is pushing so hard. But if all they have to push is the likes of “Stealth,” the format will never take off with the public. Perhaps Sony’s approach is exemplified by the sole extra on the “Stealth” disc: we see director Rob Cohen. Then we see lots of quick clips from “Stealth” and other sources, accompanied by noise, hammering music. Nothing is pointed out, nothing is demonstrated, nothing is explained. The most obvious and easiest form of demonstration would have been to show the same scenes in standard definition ...
Editor's rating: 
Monday, 01 May 2006 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
Black Hawk Down In 1993, what a Black Hawk helicopter was and the significance of one being downed was virtually unknown. “Black Hawk Down” depicts the harrowing events of October 1993. During a well-planned seek and capture mission in Somalia, one of the powerful Black Hawk support helicopters is shot down. As groups of soldiers head to the crash site, things proceed to go horribly awry, and the separated group of lost and confused Rangers try to make their way back to base while fighting off vengeful mobs of highly armed native militia. “Black Hawk Down” is a gripping, frequently terrifying illumination of little-known recent history. It frequently plays like an update of "Zulu Dawn" as the scattered soldiers are besieged by thousands of furious, machine gun toting Africans. Moment-to-moment reality is the focus here, and the well-chosen settings and atmosphere of human confusion only amplify the believability of the enacted events. The storytelling and focus ...
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