Tuesday, November 09, 2010

628 - Robin Hood review

Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” takes the step of rewriting the universally known story of heroism and class warfare for contemporary audiences, but to what purpose? It’s one of those films where dozens of studio meetings saw pitches about smearing grime over an established tale, though all they’ve done here is swap a fun, lighthearted story for a dim, straight-faced one. Russell Crowe’s fine as the titular hero, though at 45 he’s noticeably far too old for a role that ideally should go to someone my age (which is still a few years short of medieval England’s life expectancy).

Joyless and overlong, the film’s meddling with tradition means nothing when it’s this barren of insight into the characters, which are written as flat archetypes with two settings: Noble and Evil. We’re mostly acquainted with them as they discuss the political climate of medieval England, and though the droning on about liberty and rights might be stirring to some of the more rabid Tea Partiers, I suspect most others will be waiting for the next battle. The film's name-trading is perplexing in light of how little fidelity it shows to the widely known version of the story. Those expecting a witty swashbuckler will doubtlessly be disappointed, as Robin tends to hammer his enemies with a sword as if wielding a sledgehammer, and if he said anything clever, I certainly don’t remember it. The combination of Scott and a nine-figure budget results in some stellar cinematography and action scenes that would be rather enthralling if we cared the slightest about the outcome. Destined to go down as a franchise nonstarter courtesy of lukewarm domestic grosses, this does deserve credit for being vastly superior to the 1991 Kevin Costner/Kevin Reynolds train wreck.

2 out of 5

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