The Patriot (Dean Semler) 1998

No this isn’t the Mel Gibson Patriot, this is the Steven Seagal Patriot.  What’s odd is how this Seagal film isn’t acknowledged by anyone.  Even Seagal’s shittier movies have some kind of fan following in the same way people might follow Walker Texas Ranger.  It’s because Seagal’s exploits are so overblown and remarkably stupid you watch the movies for camp value.  I don’t hear that at all with the Patriot.  In fact, this was the first Direct to Video Seagal film.  It certainly wasn’t intended to be.  This was supposed to be a theatrical release and had a big budget to shoot.  The film was so bad that producers completely ate the losses for the film.  That’s right, they release On Deadly Ground and Fire Down Below and THIS is the movie where they draw the line.  That almost makes you think it is more campy than those movies right?  Well, when you actually see the movie you see why it wasn’t even given a release.  In fact, I couldn’t even rent this movie anymore.  I had to buy a used copy on Amazon.

The reason why this movie sucks is because this isn’t a Steven Seagal action film.  This is Steven Seagal’s attempt at acting.  Oh yeah.  Just let that settle with you.  Now there are like two fight scenes in this movie (probably a little scrap to throw to his fan base) but they really are nothing.  Seagal punches a few people but that’s it.  They are nothing like the action scenes in his other movies.  No, the intent of this movie was to be a dramatic movie.

The Patriot is “based” on the book The Last Canadian.  I use quotes on based because it is based on the book in the same way Transformers is based on Les Miserables.  The book is about a doctor who is one of the last few people alive after a plague sweeps the planet.  Just before the plague strikes he gets papers making him a citizen of Canada; hence making him the Last Canadian.  In the movie, Seagal plays Wesley McClaren an ex-CIA immunologist (???) who is now a simple country doctor in Montana (which last I checked is not Canada).  In the same town, there is an FBI stand off with Neo Nazi militia members.  The leader infects himself with a government engineered virus and gives himself up to the cops.  Now McClaren must hurry to find a cure before the virus kills the town.

Seagal’s previous movies had his trademark action mixed with the actor’s own crazy views on politics.  Here, we eliminate the action and are left with a dramatic movie about Seagal’s nutty political views.  We kind of have the same crack pot view as in the Sunchaser where “medicine BAD” and “doctors want to make people sick to earn money”.  Our good doctor heals all afflictions and illnesses with herbs and roots from good ole nature.  In fact, the cure to the (and I really want to emphasize this) government engineered virus are some tea Seagal grows on his property.  Now I have no medical training and most of my science I either read on my own or are throwbacks from high school/college.  But I think I can safely say that is complete and utter BULLSHIT.  Not to mention the fact McClaren agrees with the militia’s beliefs, but not their actions.  It is just odd Seagal is now proud to be a police reserve even though it could be argued he is now working for “the man” despite preaching against it in many of his movies.  There’s a word for that…

This movie is just dull.  Most of the movie is Seagal walking around in his then new pregnancy clothes to hide his expanding gut, trying to find a cure for the virus.  Somehow I have a harder time believing Steven Seagal is “the best damn immunologist in the country” than believing Denise Richards is a nuclear physicist.  I’m sorry if I’m having trouble really going in depth in the plot but that’s because there really isn’t any plot.  McClaren works with some test tubes, we get an evil monologue from our militia guy, McClaren tinkers with some beakers, scenes of people dying, more bubbling beakers, endless shots of Seagal horseback riding, and blah blah blah blah blah.  I just love how McClaren is so smart and the “best damn immunologist” but doesn’t think about how it’s odd that everyone in the town is getting sick except for his five person household.  Most people would notice something as blatant as that but not our hero.  What is that word?  Oh yeah, STUPID!!!  This movie is stupid!

Who thought this was a good idea?  Who thought an actionless Steven Seagal movie was just what the people wanted?  Who thought Seagal could act like he was alive let alone in a big budget movie?  This movie is terrible, and not in the way you would watch On Deadly Ground or Glimmer Man.  No, this movie just plain sucks and should never be seen by anyone ever again.

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