Ben MendelsohnJamie Foxx...
Action & Adventure
In 4 Cinemas
While adding a twist to on an old story may seem like a good idea, the new Robin Hood film proves that new is not always better.
Robin Hood follows Lord Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) who falls in love with Marian (Eve Hewson), a thief he caught stealing one of his horses. Loxley’s recruitment to fight in the war in Arabia (this is the terminology used in the film) interrupts their love affair. After years in combat, Loxley returns to find his property pillaged, his lover with another man, and his people struggling to make ends meet. Moreover, the Sherriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelson) has raised taxes to excessive levels to support the war, or at least that is what he claims it the extra taxation is for. With the guidance of Little John (Jamie Fox), an Arab he met during the war, Loxley sets out to “steal from the rich and give to the poor” and becomes “The Hood”, but the Sheriff and his accomplices will stop at nothing to bleed the people for every dime they have. It’s a twist on the original plot, which is something that the film clearly sets up in the very first scene with the narrator saying, “Forget what you think you know.”
The film starts with a fairytale-like setup with an omniscient narrator, who seems like he came straight out of Disney, but things quickly take a turn to an action-filled feature in a manner that does not make much sense. In other words, the film struggles when it comes to mixing new plot elements with older ones. Consequently, the end result is an incoherent and implausibly fictitious world.
For example, when Loxley heads off to fight in Arabia, the war seems like an incarnation of the Iraqi war and the only clue that could tell you that this is not happening in modern times is the fact that soldiers are using bows and arrows instead of guns and bullets. Moreover, the Sheriff’s control of Nottingham also seems more like a modern political plot twist, rather than the age-old racist and authoritative dictator who aims to instil fear into people’s hearts.
Despite the incoherency of the film, the action sequences are quite impressive and would satisfy most action fans. There is also a recurring element of comedy; this is mainly due to the lines and attitude of Loxley, and a priest played by the underutilised Tim Minchin.
As for the acting, Taron Egerton was able to deliver an entertaining performance as Robin Hood, but definitely not as memorable as other stars who played the role including Russell Crowe (2010) and Kevin Costner (1991). Eve Hewson’s performance was very limited by the small capacity of her role, and perhaps could have stood out more in different circumstances. Jamie Foxx was also limited by his role and gave what could only be described as a mediocre performance, especially when compared his previous performances. The main standout, and the best performer of the film was Ben Mendelson, who does an amazing job at playing the role of a power-hungry dictator.
If you are looking for the tale of Robin Hood you knew and loved, then you should look elsewhere, but if you are looking for some good action sequences, then look no further than this film.