#REVIEW: “ROBIN HOOD”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
Since its debut as a Silent Film in 1908, Robin Hood had captured the hearts and imagination of millions of theatregoers all around the globe. There have been 77 cinematic adaptations featuring the hero who stole from the rich to give to the poor since then. From countries as diverse as Russia, Italy and Germany, to animated versions and spoofs, playing Robin of Loxley attracted stars from Errol Flynn, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Cary Elwes, Douglas Fairbanks and even Frank Sinatra. In this latest reincarnation, Taron Egerton (best known for being the lead in the Kingsman franchise) is probably the youngest actor to portray the character which is perfect as this ROBIN HOOD is definitely skewed to reach a younger audience that needs their movies fast and furious.
When the first words on-screen are: “I would tell you what year it was, but I can’t actually remember”, you know this current cinematic reincarnation will have little do with the story as we all know it; things like cohesive storytelling and attention to details come third in importance. It’s all about the action sequences in this version. And the Costume Design. Both of these are delivered in spades with gusto, fierceness, finesse, originality and excitement.
Robin is a wealthy land baron who meets the gorgeous Marian (Eve Hewson) while she is trying to steal one of the horses from his stable. The horse was not hers to keep but to give to a poor neighboring farmer, whose own horse died. He’s cute. She’s cute. The excuse is cute. They fall in love and everything in the Nottingham is peachy until Robin receives a draft notice and is sent to fight in a war in Arabia. The battle sequences are action- packed, filmed in slow-motion to intensify the rush, but the weapons are bows and arrows (at which Robin is super adept) versus machine guns. Unhinged by the brutality of war and his commanding officer, Robin saves the life of a moorish prisoner, John (played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx in unexplained facial scars and beads-like decorations) and escapes.
Fast-forward two years. Robin returns to Nottingham, his land and belongings destroyed and according to Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin), whom he convenes with at a church confessional, not only does everyone in town think he is dead but Marian is now together with Will Scarlet (Jamie Dornan). Nottingham is under the dictatorial rule of the Sheriff (a gleeful villainous Ben Mendelsohn), aided by Cardinal (F. Murray Abraham). John is there to avenge the murder of his young son, which just adds confusion and our two heroes scheme a plan to rob from the rich Sheriff to give to the poor as well as do everything in their power to break up Marian and Will so that she and Robin can live happily ever after.
There is some salvage in the shambles that is Robin Hood. The action sequences, of which there are many, are exhilarating. First-time Director Otto Bathurst (best known for directing the renowned TV Series Peaky Blinders) should be commended for enthusiasm. Ben Mendelsohn beautifully chews the scenery with spittle and zest. Taron Egerton has an illuminating charisma.
eOne Films release ROBIN HOOD Wednesday, November 21, 2018.