‘Robin Hood’ is a By-the-Book Waste of Cinema Energy

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – No one in the movie-going universe was pining for another Robin Hood remake. No. One. Yet, with the story in public domain and some overseas cash to spend, here we are. Taron Egerton (“Kingsman” series) takes on the title role, with support from Jamie Foxx.

There is nothing delivered here that is any different, even though the narrator brags that there will be something different in this version of the story. Basically the situation in the same era (the vague Middle Ages), but the evil (Sheriff of Nottingham) versus good (Robin Hood) is boring when we know who will prevail. If they tried to make Robin a rogue element who is conflicted in some way, perhaps there would be some more juice to squeeze. This one, even with the action sequences, was as dry as a turkey bone on Black Friday.

Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) is a English lord of Nottingham, who falls in love with a horse thief named Marian (Eve Hewson, daughter of U2’s Bono!). He is drafted into the Arab Wars by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelson), and is battle hardened, but never loses his sense of justice. It is during this war that he encounters a Moor named John (Jamie Foxx), who hates the English for the execution of his son.

Keep Your Eye on the Arrow: The Cast of ‘Robin Hood’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

When Robin comes home, he learns that his death was reported in the war, and the Sheriff dutifully seized his property for back taxes. Marian has moved on as well, to the arms of Will Scarlet (Jamie Dornan). He connects with John again, and together they plot to overthrow the tax-happy Sheriff by “stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.” Ultimately, they want a more equitable society (ha-ha, just kidding, they want to kick butt).

What bothered me the most was not the comic booking of Robin (called “The Hood” in this version), but the inability to put a spin on the outcome. Does any filmgoer walk in thinking that Robin won’t be the ultimate hero? Where is the fun in that, unless of course you dig bosomy maidens, arrows flying a speeds that defy logic, and the actor machinations of F. Murray Abraham, chewing the scenery – even though it’s mostly made of stone – as “The Cardinal”? Is that fun? Well, I suppose it’s a bit fun, if “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is sold out.

This is also the type of film where everyone is action hero movie predictable, down to perfect make-up for Marian in a filthy mining camp. Robin Hood and John are always the smartest (and where did they get that fire making juice, that stuff was nuclear!) and the Sheriff and his mincing minions are stupid because they are evil, where mostly in real life it’s the opposite. Isn’t Robin Hood a plea also for Communism (the people control the means of production)? Shouldn’t the capitalist pigs of the film industry have stamped their gout-ridden feet?

All A-Quiver: Marian (Eve Hewson) and The Hood (Taron Egerton) in ‘Robin Hood’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Edgerton and Foxx are the two that add life to their characters, while Eve Hewson, Mendelson and F. Murray are content with portraying the easy parts of their easily drawn characters. These action flicks are never known for their thespian ideals, but Jamie Foxx always sweats the details, so you have to appreciate that effort. And F. Murray is actor delicious as the Cardinal, it’s as if he’s the star with his hammy performance.

There is plenty to do and watch during the Thanksgiving weekend, so if you’re making a list put “Creed II,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and the sentimental/well performed “Green Book” before you get anywhere near “Robin Hood,” or the film will be stealing from you, and giving to the gout-ridden investors.

“Robin Hood” opens everywhere on November 21st. Featuring Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelson, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan and F. Murray Abraham. Screenplay by Ben Chandler and David James Kelley. Directed by Otto Bathurst. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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