Dan's Review: "Robin Hood" steals away intelligence
Nov 21, 2018 11:28AM
● By Dan Metcalf
Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dornan, and F. Murray Abraham star in Robin Hood.
Robin Hood (Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate)
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive references.
Starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dornan, F. Murray Abraham, Paul Anderson, Josh Herdman, Cornelius Booth, Björn Bengtsson.
Written by Ben Chandler and David James Kelly.
Directed by Otto Bathurst.
My libertarian tendencies prompt me to marvel at how folks think the legend of Robin Hood is some sort of model for social justice, when the character’s heroism is actually more rooted in giving people’s taxes back to them (having been previously been stolen by the government), but I digress. The story (based on legend more than fact) persists in film, with no less than 28 actors playing the character (and three more voicing him) over the years, including Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks, John Derek, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Cary Elwes, and Russell Crowe. I’m not sure why anyone thinks this story needs to be told again, but here we are on Thanksgiving weekend 2018 with another Robin Hood.
This time, Taron Egerton plays Robin of Loxley. A noble in love with the beautiful commoner Marian (Eve Hewson), he is drafted by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) to fight in the Crusades. In war, Robin saves the life of Yahya, a.k.a. “John” (Jamie Foxx) a Muslim warrior about to executed by an English commanding officer (Paul Anderson). Robin is sent home after being injured in the melee that follows his heroic actions, only to discover that the sheriff has seized his estate and all his assets. John stows away on the same boat and offers to help train him to become a master warrior and thief to get back at the sheriff. Robin also discovers that Marian, (having thought him dead) has married a local activist named Will (Jamie Dornan). During a “training montage,” Robin transforms into a thief extraordinaire and begins taking down the sheriff’s reserves of ill-gained riches. The sheriff harbors his wealth with the help of the local Catholic Church, depicted as an evil cabal of abusive priests. One ethical and simple priest is Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin), who secretly helps Robin’s efforts. When “the Hood” continues to steal (or recover) the riches taken from the common people who have been relegated to slavery in a local mine, the sheriff grows angry and increases the bounty on Robin. It is soon discovered that the sheriff is in league with an evil cardinal (F. Murray Abraham) to fund the Muslims in the Crusades in order to keep the war going. It gets complicated from here, but suffice to say that Marian has a change of heart in marriage to Will, who also has a change of allegiance, setting the scene for a reconciliation with Robin. The story culminates in a grand battle between Robin (who has revealed himself to the common folk) and the sheriff’s forces.
Robin Hood is a trite, overdone waste of one hour and 56 minutes (and it feels even longer). The script is ridden with clichés, the costumes appear to be stolen from the set of Hunger Games and the special effects (including the constant billowing of flames that burst out of nowhere). The entire movie seems to be some sort of repudiation of government and religion, along with a shaky premise that taking back your taxes is equivalent to the redistribution of wealth. Robin even tries to rally the people to battle with, “Who wants to redistribute some wealth!?!” Very subtle (not).
I barely mentioned Jamie Foxx, which I suppose is due to the fact that his presence and role are mostly irrelevant, and copied from the 1991 Kevin Costner version, as if he’s supposed to fill a void created by Morgan Freeman.
So, before you share some of your hard earned cash with the studio execs and wealthy actors who brought Robin Hood to the screen again, maybe you should keep, rather than redistribute your money with them. If there’s one thing besides money that Robin Hood steals, it’s the intelligence of anyone who sees it.
Robin Hood Trailer