Review: Robin Hood

Robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, you won’t feel ripped off by this Robin Hood summer blockbuster.

Ridley Scott teams up with Russell Crowe for the fourth time to give us the latest version of Robin Longstride…or is it Loxley…or Hood. A film that doesn’t try to hard to be any thing other than what it is: middle of the road escapism. But sometimes that’s just fine too.

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THE SETUP:
Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) has returned from fighting with King Richard (Danny Huston) to find England is not as he left it. Though he has little memory of where he came from, he does know that his country under the leadership of the newly crowned King John (Oscar Issac) and lawful enforcer Godfrey (Mark Strong) will only end in chaos and death. With the help of his fellow soldiers, or “merry men”, he works with the Loxley family including Marion (Cate Blanchet) and former Marshall (William Hurt) to fight against the crown and the impending invasion by the French.

THE THOUGHTS:
It’s not Gladiator in tights. There I said it. Yes, it’s a period piece. Yes, it’s the same star and director. But this isn’t that movie for two very important reasons: Robin Hood is funnier and not as good…but still OK.

The first thing you should probably know is it’s a PG-13 rating, meaning no naughty words and not much gross violence (except for one particular arrow). This is about as family friendly as Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe get and unfortunately it comes off not as gritty as I would have liked.

The lighter tone of Robin’s relationship with his merry men was welcome and you could really believe these guys liked each other. I was even surprised there was as much humour in it as there was. (Don’t get excited, it’s not the Hangover).

Acting wise it was fine. And that’s really all I have to say is “fine.” It seems they showed up, put on some accents and had some fun but really didn’t break the Robin Hood mold. Mark Strong is, as always, a great bad guy (see RocknRolla and Sherlock Holmes) and it’s always good to see Max von Sydow and William Hurt. Both add to any movie they’re in.

The action scenes were great, culminating in a big battle with the French at the end. Most of it was believable but I think they pushed Marion into the role of “I’m an equal so suddenly I can use a sword” too forcefully. Not a huge irritation but not so necessary.

ROBIN HOOD Rating:
2 stars – good movie, take a friend. This felt like a movie you go into with no expectations and are pleasantly surprised but not screaming to tell everyone about it.

Random Recommendations
The Full Monty (1997) – If you haven’t seen it, you should. A fun story of a group of working-class, unemployed Englishman trying to raise some money so they put on a strip show for their town. It’s funny. It’s got heart. And you’re man enough to see it.

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The Gift (2000) – Directed by Sam Raimi and oddly based on Billy Bob Thorton’s mom who’s apparently a psychic. Yeah, I know. Weird. But it’s still a thrilling mix of supernatural, violence and Keanu Reeves as a redneck. How can you pass that up?

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 Review: Robin Hood
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