Robin Hood - Online Review

'I distinctly do not remember being promised a rom-com'

It might just be me but when Ridley Scott's reboot/remake/re-imagining of Robin Hood was announced, I distinctly remember being promised that this would be a 'grittier' version of the myth. A more 'real' adaptation. A 'stripped back', 'parred down', 'return to the source' style outing. I distinctly do not remember being promised a rom-com.

But, for about half an hour, that is exactly what you get. Robin (Russel Crowe) arrives in Nottingham (little more than a castle and two or three houses) only to be told that, in order for Marion (Cate Blanchett) to inherit Sir Walter's (Max von Sydow) house, he must pretend to be her husband. Even Adam Sandler would think twice before accepting this part of the script, which can only be understandably explained as a 'copy and paste' mistake during Brian Helgeland's screen-writing process. It really beggars belief.

Out of view of this miss-step it's not like we really get the gritty version of Hood we were promised either. The film is really a 12A family adventure that, with a few small cuts, could be shown on BBC1 as an Easter Monday matinee.

Once you adapt to what you're watching, there's nothing really wrong with this. In fact, it's exactly what Robin Hood has been for years: from the Disney version to Prince Of Thieves. The merry men are merry, Robin and Marion are attractive, bald villain Mark Strong is dastardly, the French are, well... erm, French and the lost boys who roam the jungle are a completely un-needed distraction which will nevertheless appeal somewhat to the youngsters.

The film is a tonally unstable mess of family film values and 15-rated ambitions that never sets foot in either camp but tries to at least have the greatest deal of fun possible by doing so. Crowe's Hood is - like much of the rest of the film - part of a fine tradition. In this case, that of stony-faced heroes who like to crack a joke or two and don't mind a bit of a love fling when the opportunity arises. Blanchett battles through the more ridiculous parts of the script manfully and Strong proves a real highlight, although how much longer he can continue to pull of the gruff-talking villain is questionable.

Guff, ultimately, but at least favourable guff with a hidden sense of humour. Knock twenty minutes off the one-hundred and forty minute runtime and you might have something approaching a family classic on your hands.

Robin Hood is available to watch on Sky Anytime and Sky Player for users with an appropriate subscription.

Look further...

'an enjoyable historical war movie with some genuinely good set-pieces and the politics to match' - Top 10 Films, 4/5


  1. Really nice review! But I went to see this at midnight and cannot say I liked it as well as you did. Scott just hasn't been great recently.

  2. Agree on Scott's recent outings. I'm starting to feel optimistic about PROMETHEUS though. Hopefully a return to Sci-Fi will do him good.