I won’t lie, I had very low expectations before watching Robin Hood. I assumed, like a lot of my colleagues, that the film was simply going to be “Gladiator
in the forest”. And whilst this is the fifth collaboration between
the director Ridley Scott and the main star Russell “Fightin’ Round the
World!” Crowe, I felt like this was a very different film and was
plesantly surprised.

Robin Hood takes
place in late 12th Century Britain, and Robin Longstride (Crowe) is a
common archer in the Third Crusade, fighting for his King, Richard the
Lionheart, against the French and their King, Philip II. After
Richard’s death, his younger brother John (Oscar Isaac) becomes King and
imposes more taxation on his subjects. This leads to an-almost civil
war until Robin can unite the sides to fight the common enemy of the
invading French, led by English traitor Godfrey (Mark Strong).

Overall, the storyline of Robin Hood is
focussed on the part of the Robin Hood legend that is largely
overlooked in previous versions of the tale. Usually Robin returns
from the crusades to fight oppression caused from the corrupt Sheriff
of Nottingham or uncaring King John, and I thought it was very
refreshing to see it focus more on localised areas of Northern England
rather than it all take place in London.

Recently,
Crowe has received some criticism from the press regarding his
‘wandering accent’ and I have to say I agree. It becomes very evident
that Crowe’s accent does not stay in one region, and it detracts from
the film’s quality. For a film based around one of England’s oldest
legends, you’d expect the title character to be a British actor or at
least be able to carry off a decent accent. To be fair, it wasn’t just
Crowe’s casting, there are a lot of non-English actors which I felt a
little disappointed by, but it just goes to show the state of the film
industry today.
The only
two British lead roles are Mark Strong and Cate Blanchett, who do very
well portraying the type of character they have recently become used
to; the archetypal turncoat villain, and the strong, yet graceful
female.

Despite my
gripes of a lack of a British cast, Max von Sydow is incredibly
entertaining as Sir Walter Locksley, as he embodies a youthful glee
when taking Robin in as a replacement son, which is a joy to watch.

All
in all, when the film finished, I was content with what I had watched.
It was an entertaining two and a bit hours, that managed to introduce
the characters of the story we all know and love whilst setting the
scene for the sequel. It allowed Crowe and Scott to work together
again but didn’t turn into a Gladiator clone, which I always felt it was in danger of becoming.
Whilst
there were some plot holes (such as why Godfrey turned against John
and what was he getting out of Philip II invading?) and some wandering
accents, I felt that the film was well directed and written, and would
recommend to movie-goers anywhere.

Rating – 8/10