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MovieMike's Movie Reviews (83)

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Robin Hood (2010) 
Not Quite Up There With 'Braveheart'
2.5/4 stars

The tale of Robin Hood is a legend that is closely tied to actual historical events. Its central theme of the common man rising up against the tyranny of a monarchy that treats all its subjects as indentured servants is a popular and enduring theme. Given the current raft of 3-D, IMAX, and films heavily laden with special effects, Robin Hood is a welcome break from all the high-tech, super-hero mania that’s been taking over theaters of late.

Directed by Ridley Scott, (‘Blade Runner’, ‘Gladiator’, ‘Blackhawk Down’), this ‘Robin Hood’ film is really a prequel to the story many of us are familiar with. Given that the story of Sir Robin of Loxley is really a legend, Scott has free reign to embellish or modify the tale as he saw fit. However, I was pleased by the way he chose to stick closer to history than manufactured drama. While probably not 100% accurate (a quick look at the real history of King Richard The Lionhearted is a pretty involved read), Scott manages to paint a 12th Century England that at least feels and looks real. Gone are the gleaming castles and knights in pristine dress; Scott instead gives us a world where things are grittier and more suited to the technologies of the day.

Aboard to play the central character is Russell Crowe (‘Quick And The Dead’, ‘Gladiator’, ‘Master And Commander’), who has managed to deliver a performance here that actually underplays the hero angle. He’s portrayed as a person with a deep childhood trauma, but lives life with a bit of zest and honesty. Initially serving as an archer in the King’s army, Crowe’s character is mainly driven by fate, but also honor and a sense of justice – true to the original legend.

Cate Blanchett plays the character of Maid Marion (‘The Missing’, ‘Babel’, ‘Lord Of The Rings’). She gives us a performance that is at once earthy, bold, and impassioned. Scott chooses (wisely) to give her character a depth that more closely reflects the circumstances that surround her. Other key characters are Max von Sydow (‘Minority Report’, ‘Shutter Island’), as Sir Walter Loxley and Mark Strong (‘Body Of Lies’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’), who plays Robin’s main antagonist.

Even though I thought this movie was beautifully filmed and the core story line well laid out, I found fault with two key parts of the film, the first being a couple of the battle scenes. Two key battles were filmed having disjointed viewer perspectives that made the action appear haphazard and actions that made less than reasonable sense. The second problem has to do with a twist in the storyline at the final battle involving Blanchett’s character that, to me, was not in keeping with flow of the story thus far. I’d group this film in with ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Rob Roy’, although not quite as good. A great effort, but Robin’s arrow just misses the mark.

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