Taron Egerton’s Robin Hood aims high – but misses the target by some distance.
The latest attempt to make one of Britain’s favourite legends into a viable movie franchise was left at the bow held by the Kingsman star – but it didn’t learn from the mistakes made last year with Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Which means this – just like Arthur – gave far too much of a contemporary, and over-stylised, take on classic source material, which actually left you yearning for something more traditional. Or Kevin Costner.
Fortunately for Egerton, he’s probably the only thing that will come out of this relatively unscathed, with his cockney-fied Nottingham-based lord bringing anything approaching frivolity through the nearly two hour flick, which actually pretty much plays out the same plot as the aforementioned Costner’s Prince of Thieves – just minus the fun.
He stars as Robin of Loxley, who in the early embers of this adventure is seen commencing a burgeoning relationship with Eve Hewson’s Maid Marian – but is then abruptly whisked off to fight in the Crusades on the Arabian Peninsula at the behest of Ben Mendelsohn’s Sheriff of Nottingham.
Along the way he becomes a prominent archer and battles Jamie Foxx’s (Oscar-winner for Ray) war-hardened commander, who he later knows as John, who stows away on a ship back to England – after Robin tries to save his son from being killed.
When he returns – presumed dead – he finds his manor left in disrepair and his lands ceased by the Sheriff for war taxes – and Marian banished to live in poverty with the poor folk working on the mines.
And having seen his ex-sweetheart finding solace with local politician Will Scarlett (Fifty Shades’ Jamie Dornan) – and all his dreams in tatters – Robin teams up with John to commence a plan to retrieve the loot that has been ruthlessly stolen from the impoverished due to the Sheriff’s greed – becoming the thief known as ‘The Hood’ in the process.
And bar a handful of cheeky moments from Egerton, and a couple of decently-choreographed action scenes, this is a complete and utter misfire. What an earth were they thinking?
The script would have looked out of place in my son’s Christmas play – as it’s as predictable and simplistic as they come.
You know what line or incident is coming next even before it happens – as it’s so stereotyped – and this coming from highly-regarded director Otto Bathurst who had an impressive TV resume that included Peaky Blinders.
And that’s not to mention the styling, which has a wardrobe design more akin to JD Sports than medieval times. Even Mendelsohn’s Sheriff looked like he’d literally walked off the set of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wearing the same jacket.
The entire cast – Egerton, Foxx, Hewson, Mendelsohn, even Tim Minchin’s Friar Tuck – simply deserved a lot more than this. The only one who looked at home was Dornan who’s used to dreadful dialogue after starring in the Fifty Shades series.
It’s such as shame that when this was announced three years ago there was an air of excitement due to Egerton’s casting – but after Crowe failed only eight years ago with a superior, but ultimately mediocre, movie – it looks like it could be a long time until we’ll get a franchise the Sherwood Forest-based icon deserves.
Because there’s nothing merry about this.
Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Paul Anderson & F Murray Abraham
Running Time: 1 Hr 56 Mins
Director: Otto Bathurst
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