Honestly, I don’t think the world needs another Robin Hood movie. And apparently Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and co. agreed, because their new Robin Hood is in no way, shape or form a Robin Hood movie.
There is no robbing the rich and giving to the poor, and while we do meet Little John, Allan A’Dayle and Will Scarlett, this Friar Tuck keeps bees and brews mead, and Maid Marion is a longbow-firing noblewoman trying to protect her land from bands of marauding feral children. Oh, and “Robin Longstride” never even meets the Sheriff of Nottingham!
The story follows Robin and his companions John (Kevin Durand – Keamy from LOST), Allan (Alan Doyle), and Will (ER’s Scott Grimes) as they attempt to return home with King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston) after a decade of waging the Crusades. The king, of course, doesn’t make it, so Robin and the boys seize and opportunity to impersonate knights and ferry the royal crown back to England. Once in Nottingham, Robin discovers that not only does he like pretending to be Robert Loxley, he likes Loxley’s wife, Marion (Cate Blanchett), so he decides to stick around. Meanwhile, Godfrey (Mark Strong), decadent Prince John’s (Oscar Isaac) hatchet man, runs around apparently killing barons and pillaging at will. The nobles bluster about a charter of rights (a concept that would eventually become Magna Carter). And Godfrey is also acting as an agent provocateur for the French, who are looking to invade.
All of this is pretty much just an excuse for some moderately exciting battle sequences, however this version of Robin is not an extraordinarily gifted archer; so although the does get off a key shot or two, don’t look for any splitting-arrow tricks. Which pretty much sums up the entire movie: Don’t bother looking for the familiar Robin Hood tropes; it’s clear the-powers-that-be are just exploiting the name recognition to sell a largely unrelated project. Scott’s direction is pedestrian, and clocking in at about 2:10, the film feels as bloated as a corpulent merchant in need of having his coffers lightened.
Crowe plays Robin as a veteran soldier who values only his men more than his sense of duty. One gets the idea that if given the chance, Crowe’s Robin would rob from the rich and give to the poor. And he just might be ready to start getting around to it by the time this flick ends. This is one Robin Hood movie that misses the mark, and you should give it a miss, as well. If you go, expect the unexpected — but not in a good way.