US, 1998, 95 minutes, Colour.
Steven Seagall, L.Q. Jones, Gaillard Sartain.
Directed by Dean Semmler.
The Patriot opens with Steven Seagall riding the range in Montana and lassoing a cow. However, he then goes indoors as a PhD looking after the small community, health wise, but with a past in research in vaccines and immunology. There is also a fierce white supremacist group in the town. Amongst other things, they are protesting chemical research for warfare. When some germs and viruses get amongst the people, the town is closed down and research has to go on in order to combat the viruses. Needless to say, Seagall does both, as well as confronting the supremacists. The film offers a different image of Seagall, caring, widowed with a daughter, as well as the action scenes. However, his next film was back in the city with Exit Wounds.
Direction is by Dean Semmler, the Australian Oscar-winning cinematographer (Dances With Wolves), which makes the Montana scenery come alive as well as the action sequences.
1. The popularity of Steven Seagall, cinema icon and hero, tough, the background of martial arts, the east? The transferring of his persona to Montana, the west, the range, the town, PhD, medical care, action?
2. The title and the focus on Wesley - and on the supremacists? Their confrontation? The running background of chemical research and chemical warfare and dangers?
3. Wes, his friendship with Frank, with the cattle? His love for his daughter, the caring father and their scenes together? In the town, medical help? The release of the virus, his tending the range of patients, the military, the judge? His friends? The laboratory assistant? The discovery of the remedy with the flowers? The action with the supremacists? Violence and fighting? The cure and the town freed?
4. Chemical warfare, research, American research? Montana and its remoteness? The dangers of the spread of the virus? Immunology? Flower power as the cure? Traditional medicine?
5. The supremacists, the leader, the siege, his speech, surrender, trial, coughing on the judge, his own vaccines? The spread of the virus? His wanting Wes to help him, his assistants, the violent confrontation, the taking of Wes's daughter?
6. The characters in the town, Frank and his friendship, work with Wes, his death? The judge? The other doctors, the researchers? The laboratory assistant?
7. Conventional action material with the overtones of '90s white supremacists, with patriotism, issues of terrorism and warfare? The lone American hero overcoming everything? The reliance on traditional Indian medicine?