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Robin Hood movie poster

Robin Hood: Movie Review

Action, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Danny Huston, Max Von Sydow, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Mark Addy, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes
Released by: Universal Pictures

In Short: This completely re-imagined take on the legend of Robin Hood has a few moments of battlefield brilliance mixed into a slow-paced drama that makes mincemeat of English history.

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This Robin Is No Hood

If you’re emotionally tied to the traditional “Robin Hood” myth, the one we’ve seen in classic movies like Errol Flynn’s rousing “The Adventures of Robin Hood” or “Robin Hood,” Walt Disney’s animated take on the tale of the outlaw of Sherwood Forest, then this newest iteration is probably going to disappoint.

That’s because director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe have fashioned a whole new story, one that puts Robin off on the Crusades with King Richard the Lionheart and nowhere near Nottingham and Maid Marian. In fact, this two-hour-plus flick spends the first half mimicking the opening sequences of two of Scott’s previous historical dramas, “Gladiator” and “Kingdom of Heaven,” and the second half rehashing “Sommersby,” the 1993 Jon Amiel film about a man who returns from war and takes another man’s place as landowner and husband.

Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett in Robin Hood Russell Crowe in Robin Hood

Scott’s vision of “Robin Hood” definitely plays fast and loose with the Robin Hood legend, and with English history as well, which are both sins that Hollywood often commits when making films. But being willing to suspend your disbelief is one thing; sitting through a mostly plodding plot filled with hackneyed movie clichés is another. And that’s what most of “Robin Hood” is as it slogs along, with Robin not being a hood in the woods at any point until the very end. In fact, he’s part of the aristocracy for most of this mostly misguided movie. Happily, there are a few moments of violent brilliance, mostly in battle scenes that take place in forests, on the beach at Dover and in siege against French castles.

But overall the film feels like one long, often boring set-up to a movie franchise. Clearly, Ridley Scott and company are planning to stretch out their newly minted myth of “Robin Hood” into a three-picture deal, because finally, at the very end, our hero and his merry men do actually end up in Sherwood Forest, obviously ready to make film number two—as soon as audiences make this one a hit. They may be waiting a long time for that.


Reviewed by Jenny Peters

(Updated 05/14/10 CT)

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