One Man's Hero

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  • America's traitors are Hollywood's heroes
    In this era, when Hollywood prefers to produce anti-American propaganda, they have reached back 160 years to dredge up an old controversy. During the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, a group of immigrants from Ireland decided that it was immoral for them to fight against their Catholic co-religionists, so they deserted to the Mexican side, and formed the St Patrick's Brigade. When the American side eventually won, the deserters were rounded up, and some 50 of their members were executed. Certainly no army of the nineteenth century would have been any more lenient (flogging and execution were common in the British armed forces of the time).

    An unintended consequence of the action of the St Patrick's Brigade was that, at a time when many Protestant Americans did not trust their Catholic fellow countrymen, they reinforced the idea that a Catholic will always bow to Rome, and support Catholic causes, even when they are injurious to American interests. This same prejudice, now seemingly proved, was to linger until the election of President John F. Kennedy, more than one hundred years later!

    In One Man's Hero, the traitors of the St Patrick's Brigade are elevated to the pantheon of people killed for the cause of freedom, with Tom Berenger leading a surprisingly lackluster cast. If you want to see some anti-American propaganda, then buy this movie, by all means. I give it 0 stars....more info

  • Good intentions, somewhat flawed film, fascinating topic
    Late 2003 addendum: Below is my original review posted in late 2000; it basically stands, but after a few further reviewings, I'm now inclined to be less harsh in my initial assessment (add a half star to the above rating). For one thing, I've decided that watching this in the widescreen format (the DVD offers both widescreen and standard format options) improves the overall experience enormously. The cinematography and production design are actually pretty solid, but this is not apparent in the compressed image. Opening up the screen really opens up the action and the composition is revealed to be much more careful and expressive than a cursory viewing reveals. The Mexican locations and sets are used to good effect. Important details that explain some of the battlefield actions are no longer lost off the edge of the screen.

    I'm also feeling more kindly toward the bravery of the filmmakers daring to make a film portaying the USA as an aggressor and hypocrite. No wonder this film saw only limited theatrical release (if any) -- in this post-9-11 environment, I doubt a movie of this type could be made at all by an American studio. We no longer wish our safe assumptions about our moral superiority questioned, or our honorable intentions impugned, despite a historical record that is often very shabby, as accurately depicted in "One Man's Hero." For many people, the truth hurts; yet, facing the truth is the only thing that allows us to grow as individuals and as a society. The day we cease our quest for understanding the truth about persons or nations, is the day that freedom dies. Perhaps this film beats the drum a bit too shrilly on behalf of the Irish, the Mexicans, the Catholics, but this provides useful balance to an industry that normally is only too happy to churn out mindless patriotic cheerleading and reminds the audience that the rest of the world does not necessarily turn a blind eye to our misdeeds. History is not black and white and does not begin or end at the American border. If we want the world's respect and cooperation today, we should be mindful of the lessons to be learned from our history, especially the less-than-savory episodes.

    Finally, a lingering criticism -- these rustic Irishmen are certainly well educated! There are a few too many quotations from famous works of literature to be believeable.

    original review:
    There are huge themes to be examined in One Man's Hero; unfortunately, the film only pays cursory attention to these in favor of flat characters and stock war movie conventions. Where do a man's true loyalties lie? With country and flag? With his religious convictions? Or simply to those near and dear to him? If the script spent more time probing these questions and less on treading worn pathways, One Man's Hero might have risen beyond itself. As it is, we are left with an occasionally engaging but ultimately less-than-satisfying action-drama. A pity, because the Mexican War has almost never received any attention from the cinema, and the true story of the San Patricio Battalion -- Irish Catholic deserters from the US Army who took up arms for Mexico -- would make a tremendous epic in the right hands.

    There are too many references and borrowings from other historical movies, as if combining enough scenes or characters or snatches of dialogue from Braveheart et al. would fill the time between battle sequences (which are only average and frequently defy military logic -- didn't they employ any military advisors or other historical consultants/reenactors for this shoot?). The pace is slow, attempts at humor seem forced, and the motivations and historical context often unclear. The subplot involving the bandido gang is very awkward, intrusive, and unbelieveable and only interferes with the real storyline (imagine if the producers of Gettysburg had felt it necessary to add "romantic interest" in that movie, what a farce it would have been). Most of the North Americans are standard-issue villains and most of the Mexicans confused victims -- it's difficult to perceive real events and personalities at work. Even the two armies, apart from the San Patricios, are seen only as faceless automatons, lacking all definition, existing only to be slaughtered in obligatory slow-mo as their leaders fight one unexplained battle after another. Finally, the scene of Sgt. Riley's branding , for some reason, struck me as just HILARIOUS! in a Monty Python/Richard Lester sort of way, and I'm sure it was supposed to be anything but. (Is this a sign of poor acting/directing, a script in need of a rewrite, or just my own twisted reaction?)

    Like I say, a real pity. The story of the doomed battalion is one of great pathos and sacrifice that cuts across national boundaries. It still awaits its Shakespeare or Sophocles....more info

  • Has its flaws, but well worth a look
    Without going into the plot (others below have done it) I'll just say that this a fairly good historical pic about a period in U.S. history you don't hear much about, the Mexican War. It was not the most shining moment in our history, as basically we were the aggressors and the war was a land grab. Those who call this movie "anti-American" must be the "we-can-do-no-wrong" types (as opposed to the blame-America-first liberals, who think we are the source of the world's problems! The truth, of course, is somewhere in between.)

    Anyways, while obviously not a big-budget film, director Lance Hool does a good job with what he has. Go into this expecting it to be at the quality level of a good made-for-TV pic and you won't be disappointed. Also, if you're the type of viewer who needs an action scene every five minutes or else you think the movie is "boring," give this one a miss. It has more to do with story and character than with battle sequences. Berenger is quite good in the lead (although I couldn't help picturing Mel Gibson in this role, what with its William Wallace-type overtones) and most of the rest of the cast is ok too, with a couple exceptions in secondary roles. I do agree with the other reviewers that the romance should have been scrapped. As important as the film's quality, though, is the story it tells, and it's apparent that those who made this film cared about that story. Some sequences are quite moving, and even though I am not a Catholic, I can sympathize with the characters in this story who have to make a choice between loyalties to their country and their faith....more info

  • Worth the time
    It is hard to believe that reviewers are complaining about the overuse of clich¨¦ in this film. Geez, its Hollywood for goodness sake! There was just as much clich¨¦ in the Patriot and for that matter just as much artistic license. All in all, this film is very worthwhile and takes no more liberty with the facts then any good historical novel. And, the facts are that the US was the aggressor in the Mexican American War (Lincoln even brought impeachment charges), that the US executed the San Patricios over world protest, that Irish Catholics where an oppressed group.

    Granted the film could have benefited by a bit more editing. It was jumpy and the love interest never really blended well. Still it is well worth the purchase price and the time....more info

  • great movie
    This was a great movie, the fact that displayed the mexican-american war does not mean is anti-american, and should not be a way to be anti-american. It is just lessons to be learned to avoid doing the same mistakes over and over....more info
  • "An Unjust War" - GRANT
    Provides a limited snapshot of the Brigada San Patricio who fought for Mexico against slave state expansion(1846-48) and for their religious rights. Of the 900 men (some with experience of the Napoleonic wars in Europe, is estimated that approximately 30% were German speaking).

    In Europe Republican Democracy was replaced by the Monarchies (1815).
    Post the American war of independence, Article 5 of the Paris treaty (Nov1782), American democrats had to guarantee the `the rights of confiscated `property' of Loyalist Americans (this included slaves and estates). Although small loyalist farmers lost out, the larger Southern plantations owned by English aristocrats remained. Less than 5% of loyalist left for Europe, Canada or the Caribbean. Little changed from the `Ancienne Regime' with dominance in Banking, Universities and levers of foreign policy. This was exemplified in the bombardment (December1831) of the Argentinean Malvinas islands by the Lexington, facilitating the first English invasion (BAU).
    Slave power continued to be the main economic driving forces in the southern states of the new world. Within the slave states, non slaveholding whites were barred from important offices and opportunities. With the Missouri line `Dixiland' could only expand west or south.

    The Slave States:-
    The Mexican constitution's (1824) abolition of slavery, in particular the sale of slaves incensed slave traders. In 1827 President John Adams offered Mexico US$1 Million to buy Tecas, in 1829 President Andrew Jackson tried with an offer of US$5 million but was also rejected.
    Austin and Houston (both of Virginia) were instigators of the Tecas land grab. The addition of Texas to the Union as a slave state, was blocked until the election in 1844 of president Polk.

    In 1836 the `Republics' of Texas and Yucatan were recognized by England and diplomatic missions were established in London.
    The Anglo special interests was cemented with an alleged visit to England by the State 'President' Sam Huston and an audience with the English Queen Victoria.
    The Texans wanted their support in order to maintain their status as a slave state and for further annexation.

    Manifest Destiny:-
    Manifest Destiny, was used by southern based Jackson Democrats in the 1840s, to promote the annexation of much of the Western United States (Indian lands, the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, and the Mexican Cession). Jacksonian democracy (in contrast to the Jeffersonian) promoted the strength of the executive branch and the Presidency at the expense of Congressional power.
    President Polk (1845-49,North Carolina) defeated Henry Clay (Kentucky) on a pro-slavery, expansionist platform.
    Polk's US government was opposed by the Republican party with strong beliefs in opposing slave power. They vigorously argued that free labor was superior to slavery and the very foundation of civic virtue and true American values. "Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men".

    The War:-
    When Polk efforts to buy California and other states from Mexico were rebuked, he decided to provoke war. He ordered General Zachariou Taylor (who owned more than 100 slaves in Louisiana & Mississippi) into Mexico beyond the Neuces river (Corpus Christi).
    Lincoln denounced the war in Congress. Thoreau went to jail rather than pay taxes to support it, and Ulysses Grant (who served in Mexico) described it as "the most unjust war ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation". The Catholic Hierarchy more interested in protecting Anglo interests in the period of the legalisation of the Catholic church in England, sent two priests McEvoy (GaelicSpeaker) and Rein (GermanSpeaker) to stem the flow of support for Mexico.
    The movie does not do justice to the pivotal complex period and merely gives frustrating brief fleeting glimpses of the battles. The plot centers around the personal story of John Riley (O'Reilly - with a street in Habana Vieja named after him), who had been in the North American Army prior to leading the brigade.
    Knowing what would be their fate, the Brigade fought hard and bravely and only surrendered when badly wounded or out of ammunition.
    Foos book documents the repellent figure of Col. (later General) William Harney, (an Irish-Catholic officer in the U.S. Army who became notorious for his sadistic treatment of captured San Patricios). Harney had been frequently charged with disobeying orders and of sexually abusing Native American women and hanging them the next day (during ethnic cleansing of the Black Hawk War).
    The annexed territory comprised of arid zones unsuitable for slave plantations and thus efforts were then made to make further purchases of territory in Cuba, Central America and elsewhere.

    The Aftermath:-
    The references below provide some examples of the correspondence by Grant, Lee, Sherman, Taylor, Scott, Bragg on their personal experiences of the Mexican war prior to the Northern Civil War (1861-65).
    Republicans opposed Slave Power emphasised higher education, banking, railroads, industry and cities, while promising free homesteads to farmers.
    The Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) expanded slavery north into Kansas. Early ante-bellum laws passed indicate their vision of the future. Activists denounced it as proof of the power of the `Slavistocracy' conspiring to control the federal government and to spread slavery nationwide.
    In New York slavery was abolished only in 1827 and a re-introduction was attempted again following the act.
    Implementation of the `Fugitive Slave act' (1850) along with the need to fix the route of the railways finally triggered the American Civil War.

    In the Civil War, Irish Fenians joined the Union forces en masse (under the banner of `los Patricios' the flag of 1798, - the 'Fighting 69th', 63rd, and 88th New York, 116th Pennsylvania and 28th Massachusetts Regiments - witness Colonel Corcoran, General John O'Neill, Thomas Meagher etc).
    Republicanism and political ferment against the injustices of 'Old Europe' and it's social order was manifested in uprisings - in France against the French kings 'Louis XVIII','Charles X' and Emperor Napoleon III (1830-'Les Miserables', 1848 & 1870-'Paris Commune') in Germany, Italy, Austria etc. Rebellions in Ireland - 1803 (Emmet), 1848 (Young Irelanders) and the 1867 (Fenians-in the period of the last big Famine - the Irish Holocaust 1845-49).

    Further Information:-
    'Los Soldados Irlandeses de Mexico' Hogan ISBN:9687846070, 'The Rogue's March' ISBN:1574887386, 'Short Killing Affair by Foos ISBN:0807854050, 'Rise of the English Empire in the American South' Gallay ISBN:0300101937, 'Irish Slave Girl' by McCafferty ISBN:014200183X, `Fate of their Country' by Holt ISBN:0809095181, `Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men' Foner ISBN:0195094972, `1831 Year of Eclipse' Masur ISBN:0809041197, 'United Irishmen, United States' by David Wilson ISBN:0801431751, `Duffy's Cut' ISBN0275987272 &9780275987275, 'California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War' by Richards ISBN:030726520X, How the Irish Became White' by Noel Ignatiev ISBN:0415918251 ,'Workers in the Metropolis' by Richard Stott ISBN:0801420679,`Thread Softly' ISBN:0863276482, 'Holland, 1841-1914: Inventor of the Modern Submarine' Morris ISBN:157003236X, 'Devoy's Postbag, 1871-1918 by O'Brien ISBN:0906187052 and `Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850' Cambell-Bartoletti ISBN:0618548831, 'The Slave Ship: A Human History' by Marcus Rediker ISBN: 0670018236.
    ...more info
  • Decent flick, but not worth buying
    I watched this movie on the satellite dish one day when I had nothing else to do. It was a decent enough action yarn, but not worth buying or renting. As said before, the dramatic license taken was excessive, even by Hollywood standards. The love interest was unnecessary, and the history was skewed at times. Although the unit was named The San Patricio Battalion, not quite half the soldier's were Irish. Close to another half were German Catholics and the remainder were a small mix of native born Americans or other immigrant Catholics. This is the first treatment the cinema has given the Mexican War in a long time, if ever, and I was disappointed they did not do better. The plot was stretched thin at times and overly romanticized....more info
  • Captivating film about a tragic story
    One Man's Hero is a beautiful film. Beneath any flaws in style and editing, discussions of touchy subject matter, etc. etc., it presents the incredible true story of a group of Irish immigrants who deserted the US army to fight with Mexico during the Mexican War to become the San Patricios. For an $ million film and fairly unknown director, it stands the test well and emerges an educational and compelling piece of moviemaking.

    Truth be told, there's nothing spectacular about the battle scenes or any groundbreaking aspects, but the collective strength of the cast and the solid script pay homage to these men. The film boasts several brilliant "moments", a sub-plot romance, wonderful performances from supporting cast, a thought provoking subject from the archives of history, and the drama and charismatic profundity of a lost cause and ultimate tragedy. Kudos to great score and utilizing the terrain to the benefit of the film.

    Though it's not a blazing Oscar candidate, this is a wonderful, sad, and highly personal film about human beings trying to make the best of an unusual and dangerous situation. It has a layered cultural atmosphere that is refreshing and enlightening, and no doubt you'll end the film with a new appreciation of history and belief in film....more info

  • Based on TRUE events!!
    This film is based on true events in history. It is NOT anti- U.S. propaganda! Most U.S. citizens don't know the true facts
    of this least discussed dirty U.S. war.

    The acting is good and the story even better. I recommend this
    film to people who wish to be enlightened and educated concerning Mexico & U.S. history.

    I also recommend the book "The Irish Soldiers of Mexico" by Michael Hogan. (Available on!)...more info
  • History never taught
    One Man's Hero depicts an important part of United States and Mexican history that is not taught in the schools in the U.S. It tells the story of persecuted Irish immigrants landed in the U.S., moving to and becoming Mexican citizens and their role in the subsequent Mexican-American War making them Mexican heros. In Mexico, St. Patrick's day celebrates the heroism of the San Patricios. The history does not compliment the U.S. government and therefore is most likely the reason those of us in the U.S. have not been told about it. While the movie seems to drag in the begining, subsequent viewings reveal more important details to the viewer. While I would not give the movie 5 stars, the importance of the story itself surpasses the average qualtiy of directorship and hollywoodizing and therefore deserves 5 stars in the knowledge it reveals....more info
  • Liberty and Justice for All?
    This movie is by no means an example of film making excellence with its sub-par acting and props and sets indicative of a parsimonious budget. However, it successfully conveys the message that the United States wasn't the bulwark of liberty, justice, equality, freedom, and other human virtues we were all led to believe it was while attending history classes in school. Without a distinctive anti-American "flavor", this flick displays the pervasive human flaws of prejudice, discrimination, ignorance, and hypocrisy that unfortunately were ubiquitous in the United States Army during that period of time. It indeed has a story to tell; of the little-known band of immigrants who initially risked their lives for the United States, but defected to Mexico to fight for the other side after being victimized by the cruelties inflicted on them by the American Army. Unless you have a genuine interest in the period of history depicted in this picture, you probably won't find this film too interesting....more info
    One Man's Hero directed by Lance Hool is a good film to watch if you want to understand the most neglected aspect of America's history, namely our war of expansionism with Mexico. This film will give you an understanding of the animosity between Americans and Mexicans. Tom Berenger plays real life character John Riley. The American army in those days was rife with anti-Catholicism, much like the surrounding culture of the day. Catholics in the US Army, mostly Irish, but some Germans and others deserted because of harsh treatment. The film does a good job of giving you the viewpoints of many important people in this part of our combined American and Mexican history, namely Zachary Taylor, future President and vocal opponent of the war, General Winfield Scott, who hoping the war will catapult him to the Presidency bleeds his field units dry, while embracing a lot of symbolism over substance. And, the Mexicans, who will oppossed to the American presence in their land, have no use for the Mexican military leadership, lacking in any real tactical skill, nor its government run by the dictator General Santa Ana. This movie will get you up to snuff on the infamous San Patricio Brigade, American Immigrants, who deserted the US Army and fought for Mexico, and the Mexican War. As I remember being taught American history, it went something like, the colonies, the American Revolution, let's not forget the War of 1812, the Louisiana Purchase, the Alamo, and jump right to the American Civil War. This film will explain that shame, and fill in the blanks. A great action yarn that stays true to history....more info
  • Innocent historical bystander.
    So there I am, sitting on my couch blissfully unaware of the fact that I am about to be awash in a 160 year old Irish/American/Mexican controversy, when suddenly and without warning, "One Man's Hero" should pop up on.... Several websites later, and after reading the customer reviews here, I find it interesting that a page in our history that has been virtually ignored for 160 years can still bring about such heated feelings of patriotism and racism. .... For the less sensitive and more open-minded however, this film while not that great, should at least be credited for it's willingness to shed light on both an obscure and shameful part of U.S. history. I will agree with the above mentioned patriot that at times there does seem to be an over willingness in the media to trash Uncle Sam and the American way of life. But, this is a true story and truth and justice are the American way. Aren't they? People that turn their backs on history, scare me. So let's learn from our mistakes, and let's all get along. Okay? By the way, there are several books out there about the "San Patricios" both historical and fictional, if your interested....more info
  • Yawn...
    The United States was guilty of aggression and guilty of taking advantage of Mexico's political chaos at the time, but this film is full of sad anti-US drivel. It also is guilty of playing Mexicans into a tired old stereotype. ... One could debate history on this all day but this movie fails as history and as a film (bad script etc.). The love triangle is passionless. ......more info
  • Good theme - but horrible acting, directing and casting
    I had never heard of this 1998 film but the theme intrigued me. It's based on the true story of a group of Irish young men who came to United States during the potato famine and were promised immediate citizenship if they enlisted in the U.S. Army which was then waging a war with Mexico.

    Tom Berenger is cast in the lead role as a sergeant who disobeys his American Protestant peers by daring to go to a Catholic Mass with a dozen of his men. This offense is punishable by a brutal lashing, after which the group goes AWOL over the Mexican border where they are first attacked by and then convinced to fight on the Mexican side.

    This is a great theme and, if only there were better acting, directing and casting, I might have liked it. All the actors seemed to be reading their lines with little emotion. The romantic interest between Tom Berenger and a Mexican woman had no spark at all. The screenplay oozes with dialog that is so preachy and insipid that I almost laughed out loud. And, to top it all off, it was boring.

    I watched a little more than a half hour before shutting it off. And then I thought about how that half hour was a total waste of time.

    Don't waste your time on it either....more info

  • Hokey-Pokey History
    Why spend so much money on falsh information. Any San Patricio that was branded deserted before May 13, 1846. General Taylor Didn't set foot into Mexico until May 18.You see the deserters leave the army in Mexico. Why wasn't O'Riley Hung? You read the true history....more info
  • A great story told badly
    The story of the San Patricio battalion and the Mexican-American war is a compelling one - a group of American soldiers (primarily Irish) end up joining the Mexican army, largely due to the anti-catholic sentiment in the US at the time. The movie One man's Hero does a reasonably good job of getting the basics right, although many layers and details of the story are altered or left out.

    Unfortunately, the movie fails as a movie and the story isn't enough to save it. There are some good performances by some of the supporting cast, who outshine the primary actors. Tom Berenger sleepwalks through the picture, mumbling in an affected Irish brogue. Daniela Romo, a female lead thrown in because somebody felt a love interest was necessary, manages two facial expressions - a worried smile and a worried non-smile. Some of the other primaries may have talent, but it's difficult to say as they are drawn as caricatures and not allowed to show any depth (General Taylor's character being a notable exception).

    The battle and fight scenes are boring, seeming out-of-place and disconnected from the rest of the movie. The movie as a whole is ridden with cliches; you can see the plot "twists" coming well in advance. The personal relationships pop up with little or no explanation, I guess Riley (Berenger) must fall in love with Marta (Romo) at first sight because there's darn little leading up to it (yes, she nurses him back to health but he was unconscious at the time).

    I am interested in this aspect of the Mexican-American War and had done some reading and research on the topic prior to seeing One Man's Hero. I sat down to watch the film ready to enjoy a great story; the story is a good one and would probably make a great movie, unfortunately One Man's Hero isn't it. Anyone interested in the San Patricio battalion is probably better off skipping this movie and reading one of the several books on it (including one by Michael Hogan, who was a consultant for One Man's Hero)....more info

  • Ouch
    This boring movie tells the story of a group of Irish Immigrants who joined the United States Army only for the sake of getting the citizenship. Once they did, they betray this very army because "they're" discriminated on religious and ethnic views.

    A smart man once said "Believe nothing what you hear, and only half of what you see". Apart from historical dates, I don't think any of what we've seen in this movie actually happened. It possibly couldn't.

    If Oscars were given for the bad movies - this one surely would get at least 10.

    Don't waste your time on this movie....more info

  • Blizzards! Give 'em blizzards, boys!
    I bought the video of this film and watched it for the third or fourth time recently. The movie improves the more I watch it as I pick up more of the dialogue, which is very insightful. I think the acting is really quite good despite the script. All things considered, I think the film is a worthwhile experience and I recommend it, although that was not my first impression, since initially I was disappointed that the reasons behind the defection of the Catholic soldiers to the Mexican side were not dramatized more effectively, and my biggest complaint was the whole subplot involving Sgt. John Riley (Tom Berenger) enduring the lame romance with a helpful Mexican senorita, surviving under the watchful eye of her jealous boyfriend who also happens to be the leader of a revolutionary band of banditos.

    Now I think it is probably good that few scenes are devoted to the anti-Catholic persecution that occurred in the U.S. army of that period which drove the Irish and other European Catholic soldiers out of the American camp (they had every right to flee their persecutors). Greater development of the persecution suffered by Riley and his men would have created more tension for the battle scenes that occurred later and the subsequent capture of the Irish brigade, but it would take a top notch director to make 'entertainment' out of what in effect was torture, religious bigotry, and racism. The anti-Catholic persecution is glossed over by the filmmakers and probably needed to be or else the end result would have been a really dark film.

    Similarly, the romance between Tom Berenger's character (John Riley) and the Mexican senorita who nurses him back to health after he and his men are jumped by Mexican banderos is probably necessary. There is no historic evidence of John Riley having a romantic fling during his dramatic days in Mexico, but that's cinematic license for you. The filmmakers have taken a liberty, it adds absolutely nothing to the story, but it fills in many minutes of on-screen time that would have been filled with anti-Catholic hatred and Tom Berenger commanding his canoneers to 'Give em blizzards of grape, boys!'

    I would love to see the San Patricio story turned into a film that is more true to the facts (minus the distracting romance). Still, the many scenes where the San Patricios exchange the characteristically brilliant Irish quips with each other make the film enjoyable, as well as their heroic expoloits on the battle field, where they give the yanks all they can handle. If I were Roger Ebert I'd give this a thumbs up....more info
  • Stomach Churning Propaganda
    As an unabashed fan of historical action films I couldn't wait to get this into the player. Two hours later I couldn't wait to return it. This film neither makes it for historical accuracy nor for swashbuckling fun. This film is highly rated among people who consider themselves as living in "Occupied America". Taking every opportunity to defame Americans, both historical figures like Gen. Scott and just general characters, this film is blatant propaganda. Among its premises are that the Mexican American War resulted from Evil White Protestants conspiring to steal land from peace loving Mexicans; that the Irish deserters were completely justified in making war on and killing their ex-compatriots; and that the U.S. Army was comprised of bigots and war criminals. While I don't deny there is a lot of room for more accurate film making than the old John Ford westerns, this anti-American tripe cannot be endured by anyone who cares about historical accuracy or who doesn't use the American flag as a rug.

    I'm not trying to stop anyone from seeing it, just trying to spare those with pride in the USA from the pain of sitting through it....more info

  • The truth hurts... don't u think so?.... :o)
    Traitors?... Honourable men?... This is a question than touchs inside our patriotic feelings... unfortunately in the both sides the true history is covered by their convenience or by fears to our "friendly" northern nearby country.
    The fact is than the history related is true, the files exists, but U know... the winner always tell the story at their own convenience. Those infamous war was one of the firsts in all over the world yankee invasion.
    I hope many mexican see this film, and begin to consider at their real size to the american (by the way... all of us are american, the U.S.A. ones are GRINGOS) to despise their way of life and maybe to feel sorrow for ther poor lifes with lack of familiar and personal values.
    About the technical resources... yes, they are poor, but the feeling and performance is the important fact, but I know in USA market the important are not the contents, is the lights, efects and a big budget...
    Thanks Mr. Hool and Mr. Berenger for having the courage to tell the true story....more info
  • Not up to Berenger's previous period pieces
    Tom Berenger obviously has a keen interest in U.S. Military History. With works like Platoon, Gettysburg, The Rough Riders and now One Man's Hero, it is easy to see where Berenger's interests lie. Whether it is a poor script, a small budget, or a story told from only one side, this work is not up to par with any of his previous pieces.

    The movie tells the true story of the San Patricios, the St Patrick's Brigade, a group of U.S Army soldiers of mostly Irish descent who fled to Mexico prior to and during hostilities between the U.S and Mexico. Whether you view this as desertion or principle, the movie is not up to telling the story in an even remotely compelling or interesting way.

    The budget is obviously scant, and with that comes compromises on the sets and scenery, especially the battle scenes, which have a TV-like quality to them. Also lacking is any real passion from the cast. Here lie a group of men who should be agonizing over their fate; are they deserters, traitors, heroes? Instead, we are treated to a silly hide and seek romance between Berenger and a local villager who also happens to be the "woman" of the local Pancho Villa-like rogue.

    However, why this movie misses the mark, is it's complete lack of interest in telling a balanced and hisotrically accurate story. The greatness of any art is not measured so much by whether or not you agree with the characters actions, but whether or not you can be sympathetic with their course. The constant anti-American drumbeat was hard to take for 2 hours.

    The movie portrays the war as the fault of naked aggression and expansionist motives by the U.S. In fact, both sides had an opportunity to avoid hostilities. Did the U.S see our march to the Pacific as Manifest Destiny, of course? But the Mexicans also harassed Texans for nearly 10 years after they won their independence and steadfastly refused to recognize the Rio Grande as the rightful border. The U.S also paid Mexico $15M after our victory. Also, the vast majority of Irish did not desert or leave the U.S Army. In fact, most stayed and fought. You would not know this from the movie.

    In all, a sub-par effort, but not entirely without some value for historical film buffs....more info


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