Will the real Robin Hood please stand up.
Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe team up yet again, this time to deliver an epic origin story of Robin of Locksley that sees our hero fighting a war against the French, then against the English, and that's all the detail I'll bother giving in my synopsis, because I imagine reading about this lesson in revised history is about as boring as watching it on the movie screen.
If you're looking for hearty belly laughs and candy-coloured leotards, this Robin Hood isn't for you. Russell Crowe is a much different incarnation of the Prince of Thieves than we've seen from the likes of Errol Flynn, in that he's austere, deadpan, and not the least bit enjoyable to watch. His icy love interest, the Lady Marion, is played by Cate Blanchett, a pool of talent wasted on a puddle of a role. Meanwhile, Mark Strong steps up to play the traitorous Godfrey; bald, facially-scarred movie villain #1693 on the pantheon of bald, facially-scarred movie villains. The secondary antagonist, Prince John, is played with relish by Oscar Isaac, the only cast member who makes any attempt at holding our attention, and only because he hams it up big time!
When it comes to Ridley Scott, I can only speak my admiration for the man. He's crafted some of the most exciting films ever made, but after nine years without a decent movie, he's beginning to lose the benefit of my doubt. This picture is long, drowsy, and the action is messy at the best of times. The tone feels like a mash-up of every sword-and-sandals/medieval epic ever made, but with no sense of adventure.
Scott assembled much of the same crew from Gladiator for this film, presumably hoping lightning would strike twice, and in fairness to them, their work is much better than the movie they're dressing up. The sets and costumes set the scene very nicely, and a special mention to Wylie Statman's sound effects. Even though the whole feels so much like a *½ star film, it looks like a **** film, and that's enough for me to donate an extra ½ star to its score.
I don't know whether to expect any nominations for this film or not. It's easy to still earn a nod or two despite a critical spanking, but Robin Hood is also a film that seems hard for anyone like, or even remember for that matter. “No Oscar for you!”
** out of ****