Leon Rippy's John
Billings is only in about a third of the movie, but during that time,
he becomes Benjamin
Martin's sidekick. Early in the movie, Benjamin plays off Gabriel,
but while Billings is around, Benjamin plays off of him. It works because it
shows Benjamin's slide back into that more rugged, frontier approach to war
that Benjamin had during the French and Indian War. Around old compatriots like
John Billings, Benjamin Martin seems more at ease to be himself, rather than
the more uptight, civilized family man.
It was also nice to see Leon Rippy given a chance to show some range beyond
sneering, leering and sinister laughing. Like Chris
Harry Burwell is the lone speaking Continental, John Billings is the
lone speaking Indian fighter and frontier trapper that joins Martin's militia.
Billings is given a family and later on Leon Rippy is center stage in the most
powerful scene of the film that doesn't directly involve a member of the Martin
family. There seemed to be an ease and chemistry between he and Mel