Dir. Ridley Scott
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
It is said that in times of tyranny, outlaws rise and take their place in history…
So here we have everyone’s favourite forest based outlaw in an all new, grittier, glossier and bigger budget take on the Robin Hood myth. Ridley Scott directs his Gladiator star Russel Crowe as Robin Longstride – a sharpshooting archer in the service of Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). When the king falls in battle whilst pillaging a French castle, Robin is tasked with returning the crown to England which is under threat of civil war from the nefarious meddling of Sir Godfrey (a nicely evil Mark Strong).
This prequel tale strives to give an insight into how and why Robin became the tight wearing, Sheriff baiting, wealth redistributing hero of lore. Scott’s Robin is a noble fighter who gets to almost single handedly save England from our swarthy French invaders, bring honour back to the house of Loxley and woo the spirited Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett). Along with the nasty French, Robin also has to stand up to baddie King John (Oscar Isaac) and the obligatory Sheriff of Nottingham (under-utilised Matthew Macfadyen – but as Arnie would say ‘he’ll be back’ – in the sequel).
Robin’s formative band of ‘Merry Men’ are on hand too – with Little John (Kevin Durand), Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes) and Allan A'Dayle (Alan Doyle) backed up by the jolly Friar Tuck (Mark Addy). Thanks to Crowe’s erstwhile manfully grim lead, it falls to these guys to provide what little comic relief there is and they certainly do lighten the mood but don’t really get enough screen time.
Everything ticks along nicely but somehow this Robin Hood doesn’t really engage your heart. In true blockbuster style the plot builds up to a massive climactic battle and it’s a good one. Imagine the beach landing scene from Saving Private Ryan just with swords, bows and cavalry. It’s quite something to behold and is a major payoff for having waded through two hours of averagely entertaining ‘obvious set up for part 2’…
"For England... Harry and King George?"
If this makes enough money, we can only hope that the next chapter gets made because to be honest, it’s the stealing from the rich and giving to poor stuff that is much more watchable. Robin Hood fans are likely to remember this version as their ‘Phantom Menace’…
UNSEEN DELETED SCENE:
In a shock unseen twist ending Robin hood is confronted by Maximus from Gladiator (Crowe playing both roles) and the two heroes have to team up for a two on two fight with King John and his champion warrior...
Darkmatters rating: öööööö (6 expensive arrows almost missing their targets out of 10)
Darkmatters quick reference guide: Action 7 / Style 7 / Babes 5 / Comedy 5 / Horror 5 / Spiritual Enlightenment 4
Fancy some old school Hoodness?