When Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) returns from the Crusades, he finds his home in ruins and the people poverty stricken. It seems that the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) is bleeding the people dry to fund the war for the Holy Land. With the help of his new ally Yahya (Jamie Foxx) - John to his friends - Robin takes on the persona of "The Hood" so that he might relieve the wealthy of their ill-gotten gains to help those more in need and end the war, once and for all.
In trying to create a more timeless take on the Robin Hood tale, Otto Bathurst has delivered what looks to be Batman Begins meets The Mask of Zorro. The director was apparently looking to give the movie a unique style that's 1/3 historically accurate, 1/3 contemporary and 1/3 futuristic. At times it was hard to tell if I was looking at a set inspired by Gladiator or Star Wars. Generally the movie does look quite good - although quite unbelievable - and the cinematography can be quite beautiful at times. But it is a little odd to see soldiers armed with bows and arrows, using room clearance and close quarters battle tactics, like something out of Black Hawk Down. And I think Bathurst was pushing his luck with the Rocky style training montage.
Unfortunately the generic script lacks any form of stakes, and as a result the cast are never really challenged. All of the main cast do the best with what they have, it's just nothing very memorable. Taron Egerton brings his usual cheeky charm to Robin, but it just looks like Eggsy with a bow and arrow. Jamie Foxx seems to be attempting something between Morgan Freeman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Anthony Hopkins in The Mask of Zorro. And Ben Mendelsohn is doing his usual big bad, the eyeliner's a bit odd though. It is however very similar to his performances in Rogue One and Ready Player One. I was hoping for something a bit different from such a great actor, but spent the entire movie thinking the late, great Alan Rickman did it better.
Robin Hood is relatively action-packed, it's just not very exciting. The problem is all of the action is incredibly unremarkable - not to mention ridiculous - and a few clever slow-motion shots aren't enough to change that. The parody of The Italian Job (that's the Wahlberg version, not Michael Caine) was unexpected, I definitely didn't see that coming. However, there were several occasions throughout where I found myself thinking Robin should either be dead, or at least very broken. But it was only ever from a practical perspective, I never really cared about what happened to the character. And even when he did get hurt or wounded, for the most part he just seemed to walk it off.
I think it's fair to say, if you want to see a modern day depiction of an archer, your best options are still Clint "Hawkeye" Barton and Legolas. The curious style adopted by Otto Bathurst in the retelling of this 'ye olde' English tail just looks a bit odd. And worse than that, there's nothing exciting about it...not what you'd expect of a movie about England's most famous outlaw.
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