The legendary (if overused) tale of Robin Hood is back again in Otto Bathurst’s latest directorial adventure, featuring the skilled archer as he battles to save his land from the cunning leadership of the deceitful Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn).
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We’re introduced to Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton), an affluent member of the higher ranks who is subsequently enlisted to fight in the Crusades against Muslim enemies, where he meets future mentor John (Jamie Foxx). Leaving his sweetheart, Marion (Eve Hewson) behind, Robin reluctantly sets off to fight in the war and returns home four years later to find his stately home in ruins after being seized by the local governing body and turned into collateral housing for war weaponry. A visit to Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) reveals that Robin’s name was read during a memorial for fallen soldiers two years previously and that his beloved Marion has since found love with a local politician and people’s person, Will (Jamie Dornan). After uncovering a vicious plot fuelled by the Sheriff and cardinals, Robin and John hatch a plan to save their land from becoming a war zone built on betrayal, lies and poverty.
The abundance of combat sequences is what made this film somewhat engaging to watch, and at times, these scenes were the only elements that managed to keep it interesting. Constant use of fast-paced and unnecessary diegetic sound forced the action into a state of over-exaggeration and borderline farce; at times combat and war scenes were used because the storyline simply lacked everything else, moments between Robin and Marion became punctuated with gunshots and almost every scene had an element of death, destruction or a useless attempt at comedy.
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If there was one good thing about this film, it was the cast. A line-up consisting of Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Jamie Dornan and Eve Hewson might seem like a strong ensemble, however, this film simply didn’t cut it. Taking into account the successful careers of Egerton, Dornan and Foxx, this film did them no favours. Unimaginative dialogue, a weakened narrative and rather absurd combat scenes – during one escapade we see Robin receive an arrow to the chest but continues as normal moments later…invincible? Perhaps.
It was a shame considering the narrative, overall, wasn’t actually that bad. Personally, it seemed well thought-out and enjoyable to watch but faltered as the film progressed. The action teetered on average and continued on this level for the entirety of the film, barely staying interesting for the duration.
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Despite strong casting, the overdramatic nature of Robin Hood propelled the film into a state of slapstick combat and comedy. Grossing $24.5 million against a sizeable budget of $100 million, it’s clear to see why Robin Hood hasn’t been the success many thought it could be, much like Guy Ritchie’s 2017 flop King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. With a meagre 11% on Rotten Tomatoes and critics serving negative reviews across the board, Hood might have saved his people from a life of poverty and poor treatment, but he certainly hasn’t saved box office ratings from hitting a huge low.
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Words by Paige Bradshaw