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whenever u . s . government starts meddling into other countries' affairs , under the pretext of supporting human rights or preventing political , religious or ethnic persecution , the other side is ready to use mantra that says " look who's talking !
what have you done to the indians ? "
however , even the americans themselves are ready to use that dark chapter of their own national history when it suits their purposes .
hollywood is just another example , with its revisionist westerns , made in early 1990s .
those movies tried to exploit the emerging wave of political correctness , coinciding with the 500th anniversary of columbus' discovery of america .
one of such examples is geronimo : an american legend , 1993 western directed by walter hill , film that deals with one of the last conflicts between american natives and white settlers .
the hero of the film is geronimo ( played by wes studi ) , leader of apaches , fierce warrior tribe that used to give hard time to white settlers during the second half of 19th century .
when the movie begins , in 1885 , geronimo and his apaches made peace with u . s . government and try to live peacefully in arizona reservation .
however , broken promises , injustice and violence against his people would make geronimo restless .
with not more 30 or so of his followers , he escapes reservation and begins guerrilla campaign .
general crook ( gene hackman ) , commander of u . s . army forces , respects geronimo and knows that even his 5 , 000 force isn't enough to catch geronimo in the great spaces of the american southwest .
instead , he turns to people who are more experienced with apaches - lt . charles gatewood ( jason patric ) and indian hunter al sieber ( robert duvall ) .
together with young lt . britton davis ( matt damon ) they would begin mission aimed at capturing geronimo .
geronimo : an american legend , like many movies made under the shadow of political correctness , try to tell the tale about oppressed minorities , but instead the real subject is the bad conscience of the oppressors .
so , the story about geronimo is told from the perspective of his enemies .
almost all of them happen to be his greatest admirers and use every opportunity to express how sorry they feel for having to fight him and his people .
although such elements of john millius' screenplay do indeed have some basis in history , they harm the story of geronimo .
to be honest , walter hill does try to make geronimo the real hero of the film , but the movie segments that deal with the plight of apaches and the uprising are given too little time .
instead , they turn out to be nothing more than the back story for rather uninteresting adventure story of gatewood and his band .
to make even worse , hill has some real problems with pacing and style , and in the end we have impression that we are watching two films badly edited into one - story about geronimo and story about his pursuers .
the movie should have been better if it turned to geronimo's life before and after his last uprising , in many ways more interesting than the story about gatewood .
the difference between those segments could be observed through the different quality of acting .
wes studi , cherokee actor who was so impressive as magua in the last of the mohicans , was perfect choice for geronimo , not only because he resembles geronimo , but because he induces a lot of passion in his role .
contrary to him , we have disinterested actors who sleepwalk through the roles of his white enemies .
while this could be expected from someone like jason patric , it is shame when we have veterans like gene hackman or robert duvall .
even hill's directing is bellow expectations - battle scenes are too short and , like in many of his late films , force viewers to ask what had happened to the great action director of 1970s .
even his old associate , music composer ry cooder , disappoints , with the score that shifts between indian motives and classic .
on the other hand , photography by lloyd ahern ii , with the use of red lenses , gives somewhat dreamy atmosphere , ideal for this movie that was supposed to be melancholic epic .
all in all , compared with some of the hollywood's examples of political correctness , this film isn't so bad , but we are left with the unpleasant impression that it could have been better .