Robin Hood

Robin Hood

In Theatres: 
May 14, 2010
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 20 Minutes
Did you know?

Originally, Russell Crowe was set to play both Robin Hood and Sheriff of Notingham. The idea was dropped.

Before he was an outlaw of England and was robbing the rich to give to the poor, Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) was a common archer in King Richard’s Third Crusade. While the army marches home, the King’s life comes to an unfortunate end, leaving the Knights the task of delivering the news to the rest of England and the Queen. On the way, Robin meets the dying Knight Sir Robert Loxley and promises to return his sword to his father in Nottingham. Little did he know that this would set in motion a battle between England and France and create the legend of Robin Hood we hear today.

Arriving to England, Robin assumes the identity of Loxley when John, Richard’s son, is crowned the new King. His first order as King? Tax the people. His right hand man and collector is Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong) who is the one who actually wanted King Richard dead and is planning a French invasion, unbeknown to the new King. His mission is to turn the people against their king so that when the French do come, no one will fight for England.

Robin on the other hand has continued living under the guise of Sir Robert Loxley despite delivering the bad news to his father and returning the sword. It is there, in Nottingham, where he meets the lovely Maid Marian (Cate Blanchett). As the looming French soldiers come and the kingdom is divided, Robin must find a way to unite the people and convince the King that he needs them just as much as they need him.

This version of Robin Hood is much different from the man we have read about in legends and folklore. The film acts as a prequel to his outlaw status, only giving him that title towards the end of it. While it’s different, there are still many of the traditional themes and characters throughout. Russell Crowe may be old, the oldest ever to play Robin Hood, but he does the job well. That’s partly because there isn’t a whole lot of action in the film. Much of it is story and character development. We learn about his life in Nottingham and his band of Merry Men including Little John, Friar Tuck, and the rest. We also get to see the development of his relationship with Maid Marian. If you’re a history enthusiast and enjoy the lore behind the legend, this is the film for you.

Opposite Robin is the cunning Sir Godfrey. Mark Strong, who is known from playing villainous characters, gets the role down but doesn’t quite get the look. Sporting a gash across his mouth he got from Robin early on in the film, the man looks just like King Xerxes from 300. Strong is the true villain of the picture and not King John as one might expect although he does come in at a close second.

Robin Hood does have its fair share of action sequences too, mostly towards the end as the battle between French and English becomes apparent. It’s no Gladiator, but it will satisfy the action hero in you. I only wish there had been more. At over two hours long, it felt like there was just too much of the story between confrontations. Then again, this is Ridley Scott we’re talking about here.

So, how does this Robin Longstride stand up against the other more notable incarnations of Robin Hood? The answer is decently, although it could have been better.  The attempt was there to educate us more on the man behind the legend, even though that legend isn’t really there. It would have been nice to see just another film about the Robin Hood we know and love, and if a sequel is announced, that’s most likely what it’ll be about.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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