Robin Hood

Maximus Hood? - simonconnolly

10 Points

Viewer Rating:simonconnolly has rated Robin Hood rating: 3 Star

Robin Hood is one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history and has been the subject of a lot of film and television projects. So when Ridley Scott decided to make a Robin Hood reboot he was either going to make him better, or force the character out of cinema for years to come. Collaborating once again with Russell Crowe certain expectations were made. The pairs first film together Gladiator became an instant classic but since then despite their desperate efforts they haven't been able to do anything quite as memorable. Body of Lies, A Good Year and American Gangster. Some good, some bad but none to stand alongside their masterpiece. So how does their latest effort fare? Not bad, but two things made it an irritating project.

In keeping with Scott's new found obsession with prequels, Robin Hood documents the transformation of Robin Longstride from warrior to legend (Gladiator?). Set 12th century France the film opens with a battle, a battle in which King Richard is killed. While returning to England Robin and two of his friends stumble upon an ambush on the kings men who are attempting to get the crown back to England. Robin takes not only the crown but one of the mens sword, with a promise to return it to his father. He returns the crown to the new King, a spoilt, arrogant and dangerously unstable man (Gladiator?). His is named King and Robin heads to Nottingham to return the sword. The dead soldiers father convinces Robin to pose as his son and ends up becoming a son figure for the man (Gladiator?). Meanwhile Godfrey, friend of the King but a traitor to the French, is helping to facilitate a French invasion. Robin takes it upon himself to gather the armies of England and stop Godfrey and the French before they take control of England. After their victory the King sees Robin as a threat and so announces him as an outlaw (Gladiator?). A lot of story, and trust me it was as difficult to write as I guess it was to read.

Now as you might have noticed, maybe, I have been mentioning Gladiator a bit here. This is mainly because of the striking similarities between the two films. Since Gladiator Ridley Scott has often said how he would love to have made a sequel to the hit, but he quite simply wrapped it up too well. Well with Robin Hood he has pretty much remade Gladiator, but this time not only leaves it open for a sequel but pretty much guarantees one. He has made sure that this time he won't have any regrets. And this was my biggest complaint about the film. The last thing we see in the film is a scroll saying "The Legend begins". Well not really. Ask anyone on the street what comes to mind when they hear the name Robin Hood they will probably say that he steals from the rich and gives the the poor/needy. He does this once in Robin Hood. The rest of the time he is in Maximus mode killing bad guys with his sword and his trusty bow and arrow. In this film he didn't become the legend of Robin Hood, he just continued to be the legend of Maximus.

That being said if you forget this fact for even a second then Robin Hood isn't at all a bad film. The battle scenes are wonderfully orchestrated and a stunning watch. Scott has always been great at capturing the epic and this film is no exception. And the eye to detail is astounding. I never really pay attention to backgrounds and costumes and all that but the look of the old days was reconstructed very well. A lot of people were moaning about it being really long and dragging on but personally I didn't notice all this. Sure it was long but I was engaged throughout and it was all interesting build up to another epic battle scene, which were the highlights. The battle scenes almost make up for the familiarity of it all, and would have made up for it entirely if not for the ridiculous amount of slow motion screams.

Now I'm going not to go into detail about the cast because I'll be here all days but I will mention the best of the bunch. Russell Crowe gives his best display since Gladiator here as the charismatic and noble Robin Hood. Cate Blanchett is equally impressive as Mrs. Loaxley. She is in my opinion one of the finest actresses around and seems like a different person with each role. It's Mark Strong though who completely stole the show for me. He more than deserves his own movie at this stage as he has without question been one of the best actors of the year with his roles in this, Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass. And the supporting cast are all great too.

So all in all Robin Hood is an engaging, action packed and very enjoyable film. It shows that despite their recent mishaps Scott and Crowe have still got it. Sure I was by no means a fan of the recycled material and the fact that it was pretty much Gladiator but once you look past that its a worthy look. I would be giving it a four or five star rating if not for the aforementioned problem.

Review published on the 31 May 2010 00:11

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