Not the most fun “Robin Hood” picture to ever be released, Ridley Scott’s version makes up for its slow plot development and advert wackiness by forging an epic adventure behind dynamic acting performances by Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Oscar Isaac.
Is it enough to take the film past the mediocre?
Yes. Nevertheless, it’s still an enjoyable romp if you can look past some of its weaknesses.
Feeling way too much like some of Scott’s other films, mainly “Gladiator,” Robin Longstride’s journey is more about one man’s story to free a country from a tyrannical King, through war, than the traditional Robin Hood stories of the past. Without a doubt an epic, this version is endearing and will have you reminiscing of William Wallace’s tale in “Braveheart,” just without the same polish.
This is due to the fact that there are times in the film where you will be forced to scratch your head in disbelief. The final battle scene, which starts off in grand fashion, with arrows coming from all angles, a-la “300,” is ruined when another group joins the fight to help the English forces, resulting in a scene that will easily remind one of “Return of the Jedi,” when cute little Ewoks helped destroy the dark side.
Not exactly the most realistic ending to an otherwise, realistic-feeling adventure.
Normally, an ending like this could ruin a lesser film, but the chemistry between Crowe and Isaac fuels the film and makes for an interesting battle of the minds. While its obvious a role like this is right up the alley for Crowe, who essentially embraced the part, firing 200 arrows a day in preparation for it, seeing the Guatemalan Isaac, a relative unknown, aside from his 2006 portrayal of Joseph in the “Nativity Story” play King John with such passion, essentially, is the reason to watch the film.
Add an exceptional supporting cast, which includes Mark Addy, Max Von Sydow, Mark Strong, Danny Huston and the ageless William Hurt and you have more than enough talent on-screen for the film to hold its own. Thanks to amazing cinematography as well, the story, which sometimes progresses a tad slowly, is shot beautifully. Everything from the beaches of Europe to the mountains and forests are full of life and color, bringing this once in a lifetime tale to life.
Nonetheless, there’s only one real scene that captures the full essence of the character and it doesn’t last very long. Sure, Longstride, in his own way, is a patriot of sorts, but where’s all the robbing from the rich to give to the poor? Considering the epic connotations this film possesses, it’s fair to say that Scott, while keeping the basic essence of Hood intact, deviated enough to put his own mark on both his film and the character.
As a result, this film has a completely different feel than you’d expect it to have.
Is it still a quality film though?
Yes, it just trips and stutters every time Scott tries to deviate from the classic story in an attempt to make something different.