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Braveheart

This may not have been Mel Gibson's first directorial effort, but it's certainly the most egotistical of his movies. Gibson's portrayal of William Wallace is so modest, in fact, that he allows his character to be not only the greatest warrior ever seen (able to ride his horse into a building, kill a man, and still get out alive despite the presence of a phalanx of armed guards), but so charismatic that the daughter of the enemy king falls in love with him after only one meeting. He not only fights and romances, he also speaks several languages, and can dazzle lords and commoners alike with his intelligence. ("En francais, s'il vou plait!") With a stirring speech sounding suspiciously like Kenneth Branagh in Henry V, Wallace inspires his men to feats of derring-do, invents battle strategies never even conceived during that day and age (because they were tactically impossible, such as letting the enemy run right into a wall of spears), and leads his army into head-on crashes against the foe that bear more than a passing resemblance to the battle scene from Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky. And when Wallace finally meets his end, it's not enough to merely die a defiant, heroic death…instead, he becomes a Christ figure and has a full-blown crucifixion. (The portrayal of the king's son as a flaming drag queen brought howls of protest from gay-rights groups, as homophobia is a running theme in a number of Gibson's movies.)

The movie is certainly not boring, and the battle scenes are good (if bloody); but it's merely an attempt to combine Errol Flynn's ROBIN HOOD with the typical Mel Gibson character, such as we see in Mad Max or Lethal Weapon. I'd lament the fact that this movie won the Best Picture Oscar in 1995, but then the playing field that year was very poor and the Oscars are usually given to the most "politically correct" movies anyways.