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Revolution (1985)
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by Matt Mulcahey

"So bad Pacino quit making movies for four years"
1 stars

Despite its importance in the landscape of American history, the Revolutionary War has never been a very popular subject in films. In fact, before director Hugh Hudson and star Al Pacino tackled the conflict, you could count on one hand the number of Hollywood films to focus on our nation’s struggle for independence.

The result was such a disaster that the words “Revolutionary War” were not spoken until 2000’s The Patriot, director Hugh Hudson wasn’t given another big studio budget until 15-years later in I Dreamed of Africa and Al Pacino went into a semi-screen retirement before returning in 1989’s Sea of Love.

A disaster on par with Burton and Taylor’s Cleopatra, Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate or Beatty and Hoffman in Ishtar. To be timelier, it was an even greater disaster than Battlefield Earth.

The film cost Warner Brothers $30 million, and it shows in the lavish production design and costuming, but returned less than $200,000 at the American box-office.

Revolution was doomed before the first take when, in what has to be one of the biggest mistakes in casting history, Al Pacino was chosen to play an 18th century New York fur trapper. From the moment he broods onto the screen, it’s apparent that Pacino is out of his element.

Some actors are just too contemporary to play certain parts. Just as Dustin Hoffman didn’t fit in The Messenger or Robert De Niro didn’t fit in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Pacino and his odd accent feel completely out of place.

The miscasting doesn’t stop there. As a sinister British officer Donald Sutherland (with a mole that makes Aaron Neville’s look like a minute speck) and his odd accent are even more jarring. But taking the miscasting cake is Natassja Kinski as the daughter of a Torry family who joins the fight for independence.

The opening scene, set in New York City on the day the Declaration of Independence is signed, is the movies bright spot, with excellent sets combining with a meticulous attention to detail.

But it’s all downhill from there.

After an hour of enlistments and desertions, Pacino and his son (played by two different actors, Dexter Fletcher as the older and Sid Owen as the younger, who give the films only semi-believable performances) end up being taken in by Indians for six months, none of which is shown.

They merely emerge and re-enlist, this time as scouts. Pacino and his son also show up rather unconvincingly at Valley Forge and then the battle of Yorktown.

Which is another problem that plagues the production. It is entirely too dependent on larger-than-life coincidence. That Pacino and his son would end up at so many important places is highly unlikely, but even more unlikely is that they would run into aristocrat-turned-revolutionary Kinski at all of them.

Despite only a few brief meetings, Pacino and Kinski fall in love in what has to be one of the most ill advised, inexplicably unnecessary subplots in the history of film.
You won’t learn anything about why the war started or why people fought. You’ll hear a bunch of extra’s yelling freedom, but, in the end you’ll come away with no better understanding of what was fought for and what was won.

Whether or not scenes ended up on the cutting room floor that went into more detail about the war or Pacino and Kinski’s relationship is a mystery. What is known is that the 2 hours and 9 minutes that end up on screen culminate in one of the worst cinematic miscalculations in history.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4320&reviewer=255
originally posted: 11/27/01 23:23:04
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User Comments

10/13/16 Bobby Pacino's, Sutherland's and other accents are so fake that it just ruins most of the film. 2 stars
1/28/15 Martyn Clarke Visually stunning locations and incredible set dressing 4 stars
1/17/12 Pete I loved this film. Cannot understand the bad comments. 5 stars
7/22/11 art watch this instead of 2000's The Patriot! 4 stars
7/13/10 jim ludicrous garbage. "piss on the British" graffiti LMAO 1 stars
1/10/10 Joe Courtney I skipped the film when it came out due to the bad ratings....my loss. It is excellent. 5 stars
6/10/09 ifndu im dying to watch the film... its al pacino. just for that 4 stars
2/01/09 NUZ001 Xcellent movie.wish i could find it on region 1 dvd.pacino plays part perfectly 5 stars
12/05/08 Shaun Wallner Very Boring! 1 stars
7/24/08 oneofWeThePeople Just wish I could find a Region 4 DVD of it... 5 stars
3/08/08 Kenny Al Pacino!! 5 stars
1/30/08 Jeff Nonsense. This film had some moments, especially the beach ambush when Donald gets shot. 3 stars
9/04/07 WLoustalot they should make a rating lower than total crap 1 stars
6/23/07 David E. Hill Outstanding film! 5 stars
1/04/07 Jeff Gentile Everyone has this film so wrong. I have watched it once a year & it keeps getting better! 5 stars
5/21/06 Jack Sommersby One of the worst films ever made that proves dir. Hudson an incompetent hack. 1 stars
5/17/06 sbpat21 awful 1 stars
3/16/06 Eric Morgan A rating of Total Crap is nothing short of "BS" 5 stars
1/21/06 Jeff Anderson Great production values, but man what a complete waste! Even Pacino is awful & deadening. 1 stars
6/02/05 rookie1218 This movie blows...I'd rather be in the "Omistad" 1 stars
10/24/04 UMER no wonder pacino went into self-exile after this movie 2 stars
10/23/04 Eric Berg Love subplot absolutely rediculous. Not to mention there appearance in some of the most wel 1 stars
11/13/03 Kavita Terrible, completely unrealistic 1 stars
12/11/02 Andrew It´s a great Movie.AlPacino is perfectly Cast.I Liked every Minute of it.Wonderful Movie. 5 stars
11/28/01 L Santini As an Al fan, you just gotta love the way he looks though! 2 stars
11/25/01 officer412/l one big long mess of a movie 1 stars
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  02-Jul-1985 (PG)



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