A South Carolina planter (Mel Gibson) joins the American Revolution after his son is murdered by a British officer (Jason Isaacs, acting like Snidely Whiplash). Robert Rodat’s script is specious and false on every level—the Nazi-like British atrocities, the calypso music at beach parties, the congregation applauding at a wedding, Gibson’s—ahem—black “employees.” Even the title is a lie: Gibson’s character does nothing out of patriotism. Director Roland Emmerich drags the thin story out by dawdling over pastoral vistas and then jabs us awake with graphic combat and shameless manipulation. (Be warned—there’s absolutely no one Rodat and Emmerich won’t kill to get us worked up.) The film has the sputtering energy of shameless melodrama, but it’s bad history, bad drama and an hour too long.