Following on the hoof-prints of “Kingdom of Heaven,” Director Ridley Scott has created another Medieval slash-and-crash spectacular. Starring Scott-regular Russell Crowe, “Robin Hood” tries to bully any Errol Flynn notions out of the collective movie consciousness.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work.
When watching the grim-faced, heavily metaled English barbarians rape, pillage and plunder their way back from Palestine and the crazy Crusades, all that comes to mind is the phrase, “What’s in your wallet?” from the ubiquitous Capitol One TV commercial.
But those commercials are amusing. The Merry Men in this “Robin Hood” are not. They are a miserable lot, led by the never-funny Crowe. In more ways than one, he’s not the Robin Hood we know and love. An archer in the ill-fated army of Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston), Robin Longstride (Crowe) and his buddies have had it, when the king succumbs to a well-placed arrow from a French cook. They take off, only to find a certain Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge) dying after an ambush by the unctuous double agent Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong). Robin steals Loxley’s mysteriously engraved sword and his identity, along with Lionheart’s crown, which the now-dead knight was delivering to Prince John (Oscar Isaac).
From a much rewritten script by Brian Helgeland (“L.A. Confidential”), “Robin Hood” makes up in battles and castle-crushing, what drags it down in historical revisionism. Somehow, Ridley’s Robin Hood not only is responsible for thwarting a 12th Century French invasion of England, but designing the Magna Carta as well. Along the way, he romances Maid Marian who, being played by Cate Blanchett, can’t resist strapping on some armor and joining him in fighting the French.