directed by Ridley Scott
Aside: This in no way pertains to the following review, but I have to get this off my chest. Off all the stupid, ulcer-inducing, bullshit remakes that Hollywood can vomit up on screen, why, oh why do they have to ruin one of my favorite childhood films, The Karate Kid? Pat Morita will forever be Myagi, no matter how hard Jackie Chan tries. What’s worse is that I could totally forgive this if they had cast any other kid, any other kid in the whole wide world than Will Smith’s annoyingly voiced son. Seriously, every time I hear that kid’s voice, I want to break something. Anyway, enough with the digression and back to the action…
I guess Ridley Scott caught the reboot fever that has been sweeping Hollywood these past few years, most successfully with Casino Royale and Star Trek, and most disastrous with Halloween (and you call yourself a true fan of horror, Mr. Zombie. For shame!). Scott’s reboot of the most famous ennobled criminal in history, sadly, falls somewhere in between, a cluttered mashup of history, fiction and ambition that exceeds reality. Scott’s Hood only becomes the guy we know at the very end of the film, with the bulk of the story finding him impersonating a dead knight to somehow help an old man and his foxy daughter in law hang on to some land in a post-Crusades England. Oh, but first he escapes from the clutches of his military servitude after King Richard (an always strange and wonderful Danny Huston) kicks off, and with some buddies in tow. I’ll give you a hint, they’re Will Scarlet (a solid Kevin Grimes), some other guy, and a friggin huge Kevin Durand who plays Little John (get it? It’s because he’s so friggin huge). Durand is a treat (as usual), and Cate Blanchett is dynamite as “Maid” Marion, Robin’s faux wife turned legit lover. Script writer Brian Helgeland finds himself cramming too much shit into a too little box, and the result is that characters like the effing Sherriff of Nottingham (Hood’s main foe) get lost in the shuffle. Too bad, but Scott and Crowe (a couple who are sliding down the Burton/Depp isolationist rabbit hole) make a good team, as long as you forget the truly agonizing A Good Year. Mark Strong rules, as does Max Von Sydow, and the whole package finds itself much better than the Kevin Costner abomination, but not nearly as good as Errol Flynn’s iconic turn in the 1938 classic. What else is there to say? The critics have been feeling varying degrees of lukewarm about this film, and with fodder as rich as Robin Hood’s legend, Scott’s final product should have definitely roused more than tepid sentiment in the average moviegoer. I don’t know what went wrong, but let’s hope that Scott’s Alien prequel finds itself more charged and fleshed out than this hijacking of an overdone folk tale.
Note: Whoever decided to extend the excellent brushstroke style of Scott Free’s logo into a filmic summary during the end credits was a genius. Hands down one of the best aspects of this film. Stay and watch and be surprised at every turn.