In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
After being captured by Turks during the Crusades, Robin of Locksley and a Moor, Azeem, escape back to England, where Azeem vows to remain until he repays Robin for saving his life. Meanwhile, Robin's father, a nobleman loyal to King Richard the Lionheart, has been murdered by the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham, who helped install Richard's treacherous brother, Prince John, as King while Richard is overseas fighting the Crusades. When Robin returns home, he vows to avenge his father's death and restore Richard to the throne. Even though Maid Marian, his childhood friend, cannot help him, he escapes to the Forest of Sherwood where he joins a band of exiled villagers and becomes their leader. With their help, he attempts to cleanse the land of the evil that the Sheriff has spread.Written by
Graeme Roy <email@example.com>
Does the basics but nothing more and is dominated by Rickman as a result
Escaping death in Jerusalem, Robin of Locksley returns to his England home with Moor companion Azeem in tow. However he finds his home burnt to the ground, his father slandered and murdered and the poor marginalised to within an inch of their lives. Branded an outlaw by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin flees into Sherwood Forrest where he brings together a group of ragtag rebels "led" by a man called John Little. As his popularity grows, Robin becomes a massive thorn in the side of the Sheriff, forcing him to take harsher action.
Younger viewers coming to this film on television may not appreciate that this film was made at a time when the presence of Kevin Costner was a bonus and indeed almost a selling point. Yes, I know this sounds like crazy talk from an older man who has seen too many movies to be good for him but it is true and Robin Hood is a fine example of a so-so film that was built partly on his star power. Of course the downside of this is that the film itself is not that good because it has his and others' names to let it carry it. The plot is well known but rather annoyingly touched with modernisms and Americanisms to the detriment of the telling (whether this be the accents, the errors or just the attitude). This also contributes to the lack of depth in the film and generally, although it looks slick, it doesn't provide anything in the way of emotional engagement despite the fact that it spawned the manipulative and saccharine Bryan Adams hit that seemed to taint everyone's wedding back in 1992.
The direction is glossy but it cannot get to the heart of anything and Reynolds also fails to get that much out of his cast. As a result Costner simply trades on his rather stiff charm, occasionally enjoying himself but generally taking the whole thing too seriously. Rickman effortlessly dominates the film by chewing the scenery in each and every scene his colourful performance makes Costner (who can be good) look as stiff as a board. I've never seen the appeal of Mastrantonio at the best of times and this is not the best of times. She is dull and pretty poor all round. Freeman is a good face but is a modernisation too far. Slater is pointless although support from Wincott, Blessed, Brimble and a few others is good if not that great.
Overall then this is a rather joyless spectacle but one that is glossy enough to perhaps do the job for undemanding viewers. It isn't that much fun and the attempts at emotional engagement are mostly cloying and sentimental. The cast are mixed but the only one able to inject life into the rather stiff material is Rickman, who easily livens his scenes but cannot carry the film. Worth a look if you are in a undemanding mood but just don't expect anything more than the blockbuster basics.
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