The story of Robin Hood is pretty much known to everyone, everywhere. Whether you remember watching one the numerous TV series when you were a child (or indeed an adult) or countless films that have immortalised this real life man in to folk law, you certainly will be familiar with Robin, Sherwood Forrest and his band of Merry Men.
The latest in a long list of directors to tackle this heroic outlaw is Ridley Scott, the spearhead behind such films as American Gangster, Kingdom of Heaven and Blade Runner. His story sees Robin (played by the New Zealand actor Russell Crowe) before he became a legend; working as a humble archer for King Richard (Huston). Robin leaves the army who are stationed in France and travels back to England accompanied by a troupe including English Little John (Durand) and Welsh Will Scarlet (Grimes). Upon stumbling upon the now dead Kings crown, Robin and his men get a free passage to the Palace where they return the crown and a new King is established. Robin and his men then travel to Nottingham, to grant the wish of a dying man and return his sword to his father, where Robin then pretends to be the dead man and for tax reasons ‘marries’ his wife Marion Loxley (Blanchett). About fifteen confusing plot points later Robin, his wife and his merry men end up in an epic battle on the beach, fighting against a French army lead by the Kings own right hand man Godfrey (Strong).
The first thing you notice about this film is the lack of English actors. For a story set in and around the North of England during the 13th Century (and directed by a Northerner) it would have been nice to have seen more actors who’ve been born and bred on this side of the pond. Instead we have an international line up including New Zealand, America and Australia. Scott Grimes (of ER’s Archie Morris fame) is likely to be the worst offender when it comes to dodgy accents and after settling on Scotland, later found out that he was indeed meant to be Welsh. On the plus side Cate Blanchett was my favourite of all the characters as strong and baulchy Marion Loxley and after experience playing Queen Elizabeth I twice before, had a faultless accent.
To start off with Robin Hood is a little confusing and I am still unclear of the many particulars of the plot and story. For this reason the first half of the film is far less enjoyable than the second as I quickly became indifferent to how the multitude of characters would eventually come together. However when Robin finally reaches Nottingham and a story I was more familiar with began to develop so did my interest in the film and I found the last hour rather entertaining. The film has the fight scenes and action sequences that you come to expect from a big budget summer blockbuster and I became particularly fascinated with diverse methods during 13th Century warfare.
Robin Hood is unlikely to win any Oscars for its acting or direction butoverall it’s gives you a little bit more than what you were expecting and I can think if far worst ways to spend 2 and a half hours.
Robin Hood Cast included: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Scott Grimes, Mark Strong, Kevin Durand and Danny Huston
Director: Ridley Scott
Release Date: 12th May 2010
Review by Karla Williams