Robin Hood gets lost in for­est

Dalby Herald - - LIFE -

THIS umpteenth run-through of the an­cient Robin Hood le­gend (spoiler alert: he robs from the rich and gives to the poor) gets a reck­less remix­ing for mod­ern au­di­ences.

What emerges is one never-end­ing mood swing of a movie, ex­cit­ingly overblown one minute and er­rat­i­cally un­der­done the next.

Taron Eger­ton (the cheeky up­start from the Kings­man flicks) is Robin of Lox­ley, a spoiled toff drafted against his will to fight for Eng­land in the Cru­sades.

The ex­tended com­bat se­quence that es­tab­lishes Robin’s ath­letic pro­fi­ciency with a bow and ar­row is a true high­light of the film, with first-time di­rec­tor Otto Bathurst stag­ing the chaos and car­nage like a 12th cen­tury ver­sion of Amer­i­can Sniper.

It is also here, while his com­pany must bru­tally deal with their pris­on­ers of war, that Robin makes the ac­quain­tance of a fear­less en­emy sol­dier named Yahya (Jamie Foxx).

Once back on home turf – with Yahya in­ex­pli­ca­bly trail­ing close be­hind – Robin is mighty peeved to learn ev­ery­one thought he was dead, and that some have taken un­fair ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion.

Now a sub­ver­sive man of the peo­ple, Robin plots his re­venge against the evil Sher­iff of Not­ting­ham (Ben Men­del­sohn hav­ing a hell of a hammy time of it) while win­ning back his ex-girl­friend Maid Mar­ian (Eve Hew­son) from the clutches of her new boyfriend (Jamie “Fifty Shades” Dor­nan).

Had Robin Hood more or less stopped the plot right there, it would have had less problems in the long run. Un­for­tu­nately, the in­clu­sion of a raft of naff sec­ondary char­ac­ters (in­clud­ing an aw­fully mis­cast Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck) and an an­noy­ing sub­plot about how Robin ac­quired his “Hood” moniker sends the movie down a num­ber of nar­ra­tive dead-ends.

By virtue of Eger­ton’s se­lec­tive ap­peal as a lead­ing man – his per­for­mance here is like Sam Wor­thing­ton un­der the in­flu­ence of too much cof­fee and not enough sleep – it is left to a grand­stand­ing, self­par­o­dy­ing Men­del­sohn to re­verse Robin Hood out of trou­ble when­ever he can.

Over­all, the well-crafted ac­tion se­quences of Robin Hood have a wacky in­ten­sity that might win you over some­times, but a scrappy, pappy story will al­most cer­tainly lose you over and over again.

PHOTO: LARRY HORRICKS/STUDIOCANAL

CLAS­SIC STORY: Taron Eger­ton and Jamie Foxx in a scene from the movie Robin Hood.

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