Lord Robin of Locksley (Taron Egerton) interrupts a thief from stealing one of his horses. Turns out she, Marion (Eve Hewson) had preconceived notions of what he might be like, which he immediately corrects. As they fall for each other Robin is sent by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) to support England in the Crusades, for four years. While there Robin protects an Arab warrior (Jamie Foxx) who is trying to prevent his son from being executed. In doing so Robin is critically wounded and the Arab escapes. Believing him to have been killed in battle, Marion has moved on with her life and is now helping to organize the local mine workers along with new flame Will (Jamie Dornan).
Returning home to find his estate in ruins, Robin is convinced by the Arab, to confront the Sheriff and the Cardinal (F Murray Abraham) who are conspiring together. Yahya the Arab becomes John, and teaches Robin the ways of fighting with a shorter, faster bow. Robin takes on the persona of ‘The Hood’, and begins a movement aimed at giving power to the people and ending the cruelty the Sheriff and Cardinal have waged upon Nottingham.
The Production: 3.5/5
Robin Hood 2018 is an attempt to re-imagine the well known myth with modern twists. The medieval political underpinnings map to those that frustrate modern audience’s life, and miraculously the weaponry of the time is now more akin to machine guns than to elegant and slow long bows. If that sounds like a mess that has more problems than delights, you are correct. This Robin Hood sets up an origin story with the intentions of a blockbuster franchise, but leaves out charm, wit and purpose in doing so.
Taron Egerton had the advantage of being guided with class and nobility in the Kingsmen series but can’t count on Jamie Foxx’s John’s revenge motives to elevate him here. What’s left is a mishmosh of political motivations bookended by big budget action sequences that substitute horse chases for cars and Arabian city sieges that would be more at home in Assassin’s Creed. Even the talented F Murray Abraham is left with little to do but minor scheming and bold predictions of unlimited power. Ben Mendelsohn’s Sheriff is at least somewhat well formed, and played with sinister appeal that he nailed so well in Ready Player One. And Tim Minchin’s Friar Tuck is likable and funny, but ultimately present in too few scenes.
At the heart of the story is a disjointed love triangle, with Will obviously getting cut out early and transformed from rival, to ally to villain.
The whole thing just feels hollow and a setup for future sequels without ever resolving the inner conflicts of the characters or giving the audience anything to care about, despite the very obvious attempts to draw parallels to daily life today.
3D Rating: NA
It sure looks good. And that’s in HDR10 for me. Dolby Vision and HDR+ encodes are on the disk as well. The two main action sequences present opportunities for tons of flying debris and arrows whizzing through the environments causing destruction. Colors pop and dark sequences are nicely contrasted with deep inky shadows versus torch lit main subjects. It’s sharp sharp sharp, with visible pores and clothing patterns in closeups. There’s a fine layer of likely artificial film grain which gives it a classic look.
A solid but not amazing Dolby Atmos track. Arrows whiz to all corners nicely and there are a few sections where deep base rumbles can be felt from powder keg explosives and horse hooves, but the focus on bowfights over modern artillery are somewhat limiting as to what we can expect. There’s good height data too with whooshes up and down as debris falls and items are lifted from below.
Joseph Trapanese’s score is big on building orchestral swells backed by synths, and features repeatedly climbing themes with driving drum beats, and those underscore the action sequences nicely.
Special Features: 3.5/5
There’s a 7 part making of segment called Reshaping Robin Hood that repeatedly pushes the ideas of making a modern Robin Hood that audiences can relate to in perspective with current political climates. If this movie did more for you than it did me you will enjoy it. Personally I wasn’t motivated to go through all of it, tho the segments on casting and bow fighting were highlights.
There’s also a gag reel and a collection of wisely deleted scenes. Meh.
Ultimately Robin Hood is a miss but not a disaster. The script had some good intentions as far as giving meaning to the reboot but the end result didn’t quite measure up, especially with the weight of overt politics dragging it down. There’s some fun action sequences and good performances in it. It’s just that they are not enough, and for all the efforts to create something that might have future sequels, I’m not certain that will ever happen.