Robin Hood Review: It's for Those Who Found King Arthur too Historically Accurate

If you've seen the trailer for the latest take on the Robin Hood story, you have to have some inkling of what you're about to get into. Anyone looking for a historic take on a mythic character and legend should quietly move on along and see if you can uncover Showtime's old Sherwood series. However if you're willing to watch some very modern characters and world views put into the cinematic version of a puree machine with a handful of pages from the cliff notes of the Robin Hood tale, or are a huge Taron Egerton or Ben Mendelsohn fan, then grab a popcorn, check your brain at the door and you might have an alright time.

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Robin Hood

Let's start off by how wildly out of alignment this film is from history; granted Robin Hood is primarily a mythological character in any case, however when you have Robin (played by Taron Egerton) doing a modern style commando style raid while on Crusade, you know this is going to be different. When I say commando raid, I mean imagine a platoon of modern infantry doing an urban sweep who just happen to be holding bows and arrows. Right down to using a firework on an arrow to call in a strike from a catapult battery. Yes, really.

John isn't called Little in this version, instead he's a former enemy-turned-sidekick/mentor to Robin; a Muslim from the Crusade who escaped to follow Robin back to England – because reasons. Marion first appears as a thief trying to make off with one of the lord of the manor's horses, and the stable boy who catches her in the act turns out to be Robin himself (who happens to be the lord of the aforementioned manor). Unfortunately the angle of having Marion be a thief taking from the rich and giving to the poor is dropped after that first introduction never to be mentioned again until Robin decides it's the thing to do. So with this Robin being a lord, the story has more Scarlet Pimpernel vibe to it than a classic Hood tale.

The costuming actually makes CW's Reign look somewhat accurate. There's probably a single garment in the film that would be accurate for the 16th century, let alone the early 13th (where the film is set). The evil Sheriff of Nottingham's grey leather jacket actually looks like one of the plastic capes from the original '83 Empire Strikes Back Lando action figure.

In every jump-cut filled action battle scene the arrows fly with abandon – with utterly zero arc or drop – and able to take large chunks out of castle walls. And for whatever style of bow he's using, an English longbow isn't one of them.

For all of it's myriad flaws, the actors seem like they're having genuine fun and throwing themselves into it. There's not a lot of depth in the story, and they omit some of the key elements of the story (if you're looking for any arrow splitting here, you're going to be disappointed). If you want something that involves some solid actors chewing up the scenery in a supremely goofy take on a historical fiction by a director and scriptwriter who's never even read Wikipedia, this may be the thing for you.

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About Bill Watters

Games programmer by day, geek culture and fandom writer by night. You'll find me writing most often about tv and movies with a healthy side dose of the goings-on around the convention and fandom scene.

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