Eyes for details. I would easily gave the high mark in that particular aspect regarding this film. It is, after all, something that Ridley Scott is famous for. The level of efforts to bring the 12th century England is commendable. Every chain of a chain mail, every nook of a castle, every feather of an arrow, all was wrought with careful attention. Alas, given such achievement, I would say that the film doesn’t really have much else to offer.
As was the norm in the film industry nowadays, the tale of Robin of Nottingham which was centuries old and has been retold many times through cinema, was rebooted and his origin reimagined in this film. We’re introduced to Robin Longstride (Crowe), an ordinary archer serving under King Richard’s infamous third crusade army. He can’t keep his mouth shut by the way, which if you asked me, at such a tumultuous time as medieval Europe, merely showcased his, for lack of better words, dumbness. One thing led to another, Robin and his sort of and would be merry men, travels to Nottingham, where Robin has to pretend to become some Knight and wedded to Marion Loxley (Blanchett). Meanwhile, in the high place of London, a certain knight, Godfrey (Strong) donned a double mask by disrupting the trust between the land lords and the King and at the same time, preparing the French army to strike at the heart of London amidst the impending Civil war he envisioned with his disruptive design.
In short, it’s a “Batman Begins” up until Bruce Wayne flies back to the Gotham and discussed about fear with his faithful servant, Alfred Pennyworth. In other words, “Robin Hood” is an incomplete tale that even if its runs more than two and a half hours, it felt a bit rushed at the end. Probably because somehow Ridley Scott had thought that we need more of that love story which supposed to be a mere backdrop to the tale during the second act, and the elaborate setup of the D-day reenactment with swords and arrows on the finale which I personally find, did not generate as much excitement as what I believed Mr.Scott’s had hoped to achieve on this setup.
I was largely indifferent with Russel Crowe. I loved his role in “American Gangsters” and I’m still really really hoping that they would continue the “Master and Commander” franchise. His role as Robin in this film is utterly forgettable. So was his supposedly love interest, Cate Blanchett even if I had often named her as one of my favorite actress by a considerable margin with most working actresses out there. During the second act, when the film shifts gear precariously into a romantic comedy genre as Robin and Marion skirted and eventually fall for one another, it was painful to watch. I don’t really see any chemistry between them. I mean, I *don’t* believe that Marion could fall for Robin. At all. In my point of view, Marion Loxley as portrayed by Cate Blanchett is too proud to fall that easily into Robin Longstride as portrayed by Russel Crowe.
That’s two miscasts. Naturally, since these two receives the top billing, there’s no point in mentioning others especially because there’s nothing to remember from the others given their limited screen time.
Further, if Ridley Scoot and Russle Crowe’s previous collaboration, “Gladiator,” had a tragic villain in the form of Joaquin Phoenix in his best role (really, why was everyone cheering for Maximus at the end of that film? They should cheered for Commodus!), this film doesn’t have any such superior quality. Mark Strong is uninteresting and his motivation is negligible at best. I mean, really, it all amounts to this. A formulaic script, a huge miscast on its two top billing, and an uninteresting villain? There’s really nothing to be commended from this film except as I had mentioned above, the details in which the film was made and obviously paid a careful attention to.
My rating: * / **** Fan of Crowe? Fan of a lash out action sequences? This one for you. I was pained as the film wade through its second act and as my wife had attested, the finale battle scene was dull, almost ridiculous, and prompted the film to rush to its conclusion. At best, this is not “Robin Hood.” This is “Robin Hood” part one and here’s hoping there’s no part two in the horizon.