From everything I’ve read about it, the latest version of ROBIN HOOD is so historically inaccurate that it might be best just to approach it as an alternate history version of the legend. So that’s what I decided to do, and looking at it that way, this ROBIN HOOD is a halfway decent adventure movie.
It starts during the Crusades and focuses on a common archer named Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), who, through an incredibly convoluted bit of plot business, winds up impersonating a minor nobleman named Robert Loxley when he returns to England. Political intrigue abounds – in fact, there’s probably too much of it for my taste – but there’s still room for a number of good action scenes. Armies clash in battle. Swords get swung. Arrows fly through the air. The editing is okay for the most part. Eventually it becomes obvious that this is just a prequel, a set-up for future movies, but whether or not they’ll ever get made is anybody’s guess.
I tend to like Russell Crowe, and he’s fine as Robin. His supporting cast of merry men, which includes the great Mark Addy as Friar Tuck (surely the role he was born to play), is good, too. Cate Blanchett is Lady Marion, a widow in this version, and the always-welcome Max Von Sydow is an elderly nobleman. There are several villains, and they’re all suitably dethpicable, as Daffy Duck would say. There’s a nice little in-joke in the script that harkens back to Crowe’s A BEAUTIFUL MIND. The problems are all that political intrigue I mentioned above, which gets a little dull and hard to follow at times, and the fact that the movie is more than two and a half hours long and feels a little too leisurely in some stretches. Overall, though, I enjoyed it and think it’s worth watching. However, it really makes me want to go back and watch THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD again, the classic version starring Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, and Trigger, and I just don’t have time right now to watch movies I’ve already seen. Maybe someday.