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The new Robin Hood: Good plot, lousy movie

 

I’ll be blunt. I wish I had heeded my friend’s advice not to watch the latest Robin Hood movie.

He told me he walked out of the movie after just an hour. What he said intrigued me. I had to find out for myself why he decided to do that.

And after watching the entire movie, I understood why he did so.

Put simply, the new Robin Hood film starring Taron Egerton as the titular hero had a good plot for a movie. Unfortunately, what was shown in the theater was a lousy film.

Why do I describe this movie as lousy?

Basically, it was a hodgepodge of scenes reminiscent of previous Hollywood hits. At different moments of the movie, it looked like Egerton’s Robin Hood couldn’t decide whether to copy the Zorro of Antonio Banderas or Christian Bale’s Dark Knight.

Some scenes felt like a direct imitation of Banderas’s Zorro, especially when Egerton’s Robin Hood had to lead a double life, the Sheriff’s confidant and arch enemy. This was what Banderas’ Zorro did.

The soldiers of the villain in the piece, the Sheriff of Nottingham (played by Ben Mendelsohn), looked like rejects from the Star Wars movies. And the Sheriff character had the aura of a poor Darth Vader copycat. But I do have to give credit to Mendelsohn. He made the character of the Sheriff look evil. Unfortunately, when the Sheriff was with his lackeys, the way the director set things up, they looked like misplaced Star Wars characters.

Otta Bathurst, working on a script written by David James Kelley and Ben Chandler, did try to make a fast-paced action movie based on the classic character of Robin Hood.

Unfortunately, Bathurst’s attempt verged from outright stupid to trying too hard.

Outright stupid was when Egerton’s character was shown in a fierce firefight, akin to modern day close quarters combat.

Bows and arrows were automatic rifles firing back against machine guns, ahem, crossbows. And incredulously, pinpoint indirect fire support can be called in by a trapped infantry unit. A simple flare from a fired arrow was apparently enough to tell those manning the catapults to launch their stones from outside the city walls and accurately hit the buildings where the enemy was hiding.

I can only say “Wow!”

Then there was the character of Little John, who was played by Jaime Foxx. Fox did what he could with the character he was playing. But the dynamic between Egerton’s Robin Hood and Foxx’s Little John was too much a reminder between Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood and Morgan Freeman’s character, Azeem.

Freeman’s Azeem was the mentor for Costner’s Robin Hood.

In the new Robin Hood movie, Foxx’s Little John was the mentor for Egerton’s Robin Hood. And Foxx’s Little John was Muslim, just like Freeman’s Azeem. The folk behind the new film must’ve thought the copying wouldn’t be obvious because they decided to transform Little John from trusted partner and friend to vengeful mentor.

Friar Tuck, played by Tim Minchin, reminded me too much of C-3PO.

Now for one good point. Maid Marian, played by Eve Hewson, was a believable update to the classic character.

What else can I say?

Truthfully, I think this latest version of Robin Hood could’ve have been a good and exciting movie. The plot was okay. Unfortunately, the way the director and the scriptwriters put the elements of the film together stretches a viewer’s sense of disbelief to breaking point and beyond.

I’m not alone with this view. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a dismal 16% rating with 18 good reviews and 95 rotten reviews.

At 116 minutes long, the movie by Summit Entertainment was not to my liking. Watch at your own risk. G

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