February 25, 2019  (Web Review)

Robin Hood

Lionsgate, 116 min., PG-13, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, Feb. 19

Reviewer rating: 1.0/4

With a few exceptions, Robin Hood—despite an avalanche of movies, telefilms, TV series, and spoofs—has not fared terribly well on screens big or small. This feature debut by Otto Bathurst is one of the worst. Trying to be a cool modern spin on the old tale, aimed squarely at today’s action-oriented youth market, Robin Hood serves up a bizarre reworking of the legend, which is purportedly set in the late 12th century but with sets and costumes that represent a mash-up of medieval rags, vaguely proto-industrial grime, and modernist hipsterism, to which has been added a dollop of utter garishness. The result is visually ugly, especially when combined with chaotic action sequences that are murkily shot and sloppily edited. The narrative is an incoherent jumble in which Robin (Taron Egerton, acting like he is in a CW teen melodrama), who is in love with Marian (Eve Hewson), is “drafted” to go on crusade by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn), where he is wounded and sent home. Finding that his lands have been seized, he joins with Marian, Muslim chieftain Yahya (Jamie Foxx), and Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) to secretly challenge both the sheriff, who is seeking to usurp the crown, and an evil cardinal (F. Murray Abraham) whose crusade he is funding in return for the church’s support. It all comes down to a predictable confrontation—Robin and “the people” vs. the sheriff—followed by a twist pointing towards a highly unlikely sequel. This totally misguided bastardization of the Robin Hood story stems from a truly bad combination of arrogance and ineptitude. Not recommended. (F. Swietek)