The Patriot 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
After taking home Oscar glory for 1995’s BRAVEHEART and knocking out another LETHAL WEAPON film a few years later, Mel Gibson went back to his historical action-drama genre with THE PATRIOT. Many people went into THE PATRIOT expecting a Revolutionary War version of BRAVEHEART and may have been surprised to see a summer blockbuster version of the war. I remember being pretty disappointed in THE PATRIOT when I saw it in 2000, but expectations have a way of impacting one’s opinion of a film. I actually enjoyed re-watching the film 18 years later and found myself able to appreciate THE PATRIOT for what it is; a feel-good revenge film with a charming Mel Gibson.
Although a fictitious story, a lot of THE PATRIOT is taken from various legends of the Revolutionary War. Mel Gibson is Benjamin Martin, who is loosely based on real life heroes Francis Marion and General Andrew Pickens, who became legends in the years after the war. The plot of the film is something we’ve seen before; Martin is a war hero that wants to live a peaceful life. But when the bad guys burn his house to the ground, Martin reverts back to his warrior life to protect his sons and exact revenge on the man that aimed to destroy him. In this case, it’s not necessarily the destination as much as it is the journey we go on to get there.
THE PATRIOT was director Roland Emmerich’s first attempt at making a legitimate film after indulging in the ridiculous in movies like GODZILLA and INDEPENDENCE DAY and there are a lot of times where he just couldn’t help himself. There are moments where it feels like THE PATRIOT doesn’t know what it wants to be. On one hand it’s a war drama, but on the other hand it plays out more like a summer blockbuster, where things are entertaining but don’t always make sense. However, it’s great to watch one guy and two little kids take on twenty or so trained soldiers, so you have to accept some things if you’re going to enjoy THE PATRIOT.
The biggest advantage for THE PATRIOT is the always great Mel Gibson. Say what you want, but the guy is one of the most charismatic actors of all time and he gives Martin a believe-ability and likability that not many actors could sell. A lot of the movie can be forgiven because we just want to see Mel run around onscreen and kill bad guys while preaching family values and uniting an army. It worked for BRAVEHEART and it works almost as well in THE PATRIOT.
The Revolutionary War is still a war that doesn’t get much love from Hollywood, so THE PATRIOT can still claim to be one of the best Revolutionary War films ever made. Aside from that, the film is exciting and fun to watch, even if the historical elements have to be taken with a grain of salt. This isn’t a documentary on the History channel, this is a summer blockbuster featuring a Mel Gibson in his prime.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Surprisingly, THE PATRIOT looks absolutely fantastic on 4K. I always thought of the film as kind of bland, but the 4K transfer is actually stunning in many scenes. The famous scene of Mel running with the flag takes on a whole new level as the colors in the flag and the details in his uniform pop. Even the more subdued scenes stand out, giving color and definition that has never been there on other home video transfers. The Blu-ray isn’t bad, but the 4K is wonderful. I’m actually really surprised by this because THE PATRIOT isn’t generally considered a classic worthy of all the bells and whistles of the new format. But Sony outdid themselves with this one and delivered an outstanding transfer that is clearly sourced from the original 4K master.
Audio: The Dolby Atmos track is also a nice upgrade, although it’s a little more subtle than the video transfer. My assumption is that the original audio for THE PATRIOT was never mixed with surround channels in mind and so the result is a very front-heavy track.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K actually contains some new features, along with the two featurettes from the original Blu-ray. Here are the 4K exclusive features:
Commentary with Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin: Listening to this track is kind of funny because it’s clear both of them did their research into the period but chose not to stay too true to it. They also dive into everything you could hope for in terms of making-of details.
Deleted Scenes (13:00): Several scenes are included that are all spliced together. Nothing spectacular here.
Visual Effects (9:20): This is clearly an older featurette, but it goes into the making of some of the film’s key special effects.
Art to Film Comparison (4:50): This exactly what the title suggests.
Trailer and Photo Gallery