Reuniting with Russell Crowe, Scott gives us a completely new take on the old myth of Robin of the Hood with mixed results. On a technical standpoint Scott is on the top of his game giving the viewer a great deal to soak up with each frame. Quite frankly the movie “looks” great. Unfortunately the written portion of the film is not quite up to the same standard as the direction.
The film opens with a decent battle scene where we’re introduced to Robin Longstride; archer of the kings army. Now for this reviewer (who was raised with Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) this was a big difference since I’ve always known Robin Hood as “Robin of Loxley”. This switch was an interesting choice and really gets the viewer prepared for all the differences this movie would have. After both the King’s death and the “real” Robin of Loxley’s demise, our hero outlaw assumes the identity of the fallen knight along with his trusted archer friends; Will Scarlet, Little John and Allan A’Dayle. From here we return to England were the body of the story takes place.
Now the largest difference is the fact that the Sheriff of Nottingham is not the main villain. In fact, he only appears a few times throughout the film and has a total of maybe fifteen minutes of screen time. The real villain is Godfrey, played by Mark Strong whom we will all soon see in next year’s Green Lantern film playing the villain; Sinestro. As far as villains go Godfrey is a weak heavy, who is trying to destabilize England for a French invasion. All of his posturing and scheming leads to the inevitable large battle at the end of the film. This battle is the only time where Scott does not seem to have a handle on things. The battle is short and although it’s the climax of the film, it’s also very boring. It’s not until after this battle and sitting safely on his throne that King John names Robin as an Outlaw leaving the film open with the chance of a sequel that no doubt will ever come.
In short; this is not as good as Gladiator, but thankfully is not a complete mess like Kingdom of Heaven. This movie is definitely a rental or a cheap bin pick-up, but for this reviewer; I’m sticking with Prince of Thieves until we get something better.