Mel Gibson wisely places himself behind the camera instead of in front, but not-so-wisely decides that it would be good for his image as a borderline-crazy racist to try and do justice to an entire ancient civilization in two hours.
Although Mayans did occasionally engage in ritual human sacrifice, they were a far more civilized and complex culture than shown in the film. In fact, the Mayan sun god Kukulkan, to whom the sacrifice is made in the movie, never asked for and was never given such a sacrifice, so whatever priest was offering Kukulkan a human heart was probably just creeping him the fuck out.
Hey, if surrogate Mel Gibson is going to be on the run for half the movie and kicking ass for the other half, it better be because his heart's going to get carved out with a spoon, and not because the elders are going to hold a tribunal, mitigating his sentence to house arrest and temporary probation.
An American whose home gets attacked by foreigners goes ape shit and kills everybody of the same race as those who attacked him, even people who weren't actually involved. Yay, prescience!
Benjamin Martin, the vaguely-named Mel Gibson character in the film, is actually based on a real guy in the Revolutionary War, Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion. Aside from having a more memorable name, there were some notable differences between Mel and Marion. Marion, for example, never single-handedly killed an entire British infantry unit. He did, however, slaughter dozens of unarmed Cherokee Indians and repeatedly raped his female slaves. So, there's that.
True, it would have given us an earlier tip-off that something is dreadfully wrong with Mel Gibson, but we're not sure anyone wants to watch a movie where the bad guys burn churches full of innocent prisoners and the good guy sexually assaults slaves and hunts Indians for sport. You kind of don't know who to root for anymore, other than maybe the French-and who wants that?