Robin Hood release date November 22.
Robin Hood release date November 22.

MOVIE REVIEW: New Robin Hood saved by Mendo going mental

ROBIN HOOD (M)

 

Rating: Two and a half stars (2.5 out of 5)

 

Director: Otto Bathurst (feature debut)

 

Starring: Taron Egerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Foxx, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Eve Hewson.

 

Always draws a long bow, but often lacks aim

 

 

This umpteenth run-through of the ancient Robin Hood legend (spoiler alert: he robs from the rich, and gives to the poor) gets a reckless remixing for modern audiences.

What emerges is one never-ending mood swing of a movie, excitingly overblown one minute, and erratically underdone the next.

Eve Hewson and Taron Egerton in a scene from Robin Hood (2018). A StudioCanal Films release.
Eve Hewson and Taron Egerton in a scene from Robin Hood (2018). A StudioCanal Films release.

Taron Egerton (the cheeky upstart from the Kingsman flicks) is Robin of Loxley, a spoiled toff drafted against his will to fight for England in the Crusades.

The extended combat sequence that establishes Robin's athletic proficiency with a bow and arrow is a true highlight of the film, with first-time director Otto Bathurst staging the chaos and carnage like a 12th century version of American Sniper.

It is also here, while his company must brutally deal with their prisoners of war, that Robin makes the acquaintance of a fearless enemy soldier named Yahya (Jamie Foxx).

Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx in a scene from Robin Hood (2018). A StudioCanal Films release.
Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx in a scene from Robin Hood (2018). A StudioCanal Films release.

Once back on home turf - with Yahya inexplicably trailing close behind - Robin is mighty peeved to learn everyone thought he was dead, and that some have taken unfair advantage of the situation.

Now a subversive man of the people, Robin plots his revenge against the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn having a hell of a hammy time of it) while winning back his ex-girlfriend Maid Marian (Eve Hewson) from the clutches of her new boyfriend (Jamie 'Fifty Shades' Dornan).

Jamie Dornan starring as 'Will Scarlet' in ROBIN HOOD. Photo by: Attila Szvacsek.
Jamie Dornan starring as 'Will Scarlet' in ROBIN HOOD. Photo by: Attila Szvacsek.

Had Robin Hood more or less stopped the plot right there, it would have had less problems to deal with in the long run.

Unfortunately, the inclusion of a raft of naff secondary characters (including an awfully miscast Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck) and an annoying subplot about how Robin acquired his 'Hood' moniker sends the movie down a number of narrative dead ends.

Ben ‘Mendo’ Mendelsohn in a scene from Robin Hood (2018). A StudioCanal Films release.
Ben ‘Mendo’ Mendelsohn in a scene from Robin Hood (2018). A StudioCanal Films release.

By virtue of Egerton's selective appeal as a leading man - his performance here is like Sam Worthington under the influence of too much coffee and not enough sleep - it is left to a grandstanding, self-parodying Mendelsohn to reverse Robin Hood out of trouble whenever he can.

Overall, the well-crafted action sequences of Robin Hood have a wacky intensity that might win you over sometimes, but a scrappy, pappy story will almost certainly lose you over and over again.


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