On CLIPS In May, 2010
Director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe chronicle the legend of archer and outlaw Robin Hood.
TRIVIA: What distinction does Russell Crowe hold in his role as Robin Hood?
(4 CAMS) RATED PG-13
After serving King Richard The Lionheart (Danny Huston) during the Crusades, archer Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) returns to a ravaged England under Prince John's (Oscar Isaac) tyrannical rule. Posing as fallen knight Sir Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge) to return mortally wounded Richard's crown, Robin is drawn to Nottingham - where Loxley's father and widow await. Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow) and Lady Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett) enlist Robin's help when the Prince's men and an imminent French invasion threaten their lives. "Robin Hood" is an adventurous and interesting attempt by director Ridley Scott to present the legendary tale in a whole new light. On the epic scale of "Gladiator", with more of a nod to "Braveheart", Scott paints a gritty picture of an England when things were rotten. This is unlike previous incarnations of the famed outlaw on the big screen and may not please the die-hard fans. Swordplay and grand-scale battle scenes are minimized in favor of plot, but the 140 min. length flies by fast enough for me. The final encounter with the French forces has a rather "Saving Private Ryan" quality to it. But this is a fantasy adventure - not real life. Russell Crowe is a stalwart hero and Scott backs him up with a first-rate production and a fine supporting cast. Mark Strong, so villainous in "Sherlock Holmes", brings another vile character to life as Godfrey - John's henchman who sides with the invading enemy. Cate Blanchett makes a lovely Marion who can take care of herself. Robin's gang is represented, but has little screen time to be merry about. Mark Addy and Kevin Durand grab some attention as Friar Tuck and Little John. Matthew Macfadyen also has a surprisingly small role as the Sheriff of Nottingham, since this story takes place before Robin becomes an outlaw. Sherwood Forest is occupied by a group of "lost boys", who ride into battle on ponies. Hopefully an action-packed sequel will follow. "Robin Hood" is a jolly good show, with spurts of violence for the guys and just a hint of men in tights for the gals.