Scotland in the 13th century - and the population has had enough of the tyrannical rule of Edward Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan). Local farmer William Wallace (Gibson) finally snaps after the brutalities inflicted on his family and leads his fellow Scotsmen in an uprising against the English.
Gibson's tale of Scottish heroism steers pretty clear of historical accuracy and political implication, its primary aim being to showcase Gibson and entertain. It achieves this with a certain amount of success. Gibson, who is rarely off screen, is an earnest Wallace and surprisingly stoic, so much so that even when suffering extreme torture he barely grimaces. Patrick McGoohan clearly relishes his role as the evil Longshanks, maximizing his rare moments of menace and ably assisting what little plot there is.
A simplistic tale of good versus evil with large quantities of heroism thrown in for good measure, it is let down by the improbable romance woven into the plot for no apparent reason. That said, the battle scenes are staged well with a fast bloody pace, the acting is passable, and as far as a good old-fashioned story of historical oppression goes, it does sweep you up and entertain. Gibson clearly wanted to step away from his "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon" roots, however the result is still another action film, but with kilts, swords, and a Scottish backdrop.