The Ridley Scott directed, Russell Crowe starring film Robin Hood is just what the doctor ordered for fans of adventure movies. It has a rousing hero and enough action to keep things lively during its two hour and twenty minute length. Throw in Cate Blanchett as the slender but powerful lady known as Marion and you have a film full of fun. There may be some historical gaps here and there and all the traditional Robin Hood occurrences don't occur, but who cares!
The film could easily be called Robin Hood: Origins as it tells the story of Robin Longstride (Crowe) before he became Robin Hood. At the start of this movie Robin is an archer with King Richard the Lion Hearted (Danny Huston). One of the king's right hand men is the knight Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge). When the King and Loxley are killed Robin takes Loxley's name and heads back to England.
There he finds England in turmoil as Prince John (Oscar Isaac) takes the throne. John's mother Eleanor (Eileen Atkins) tries to reason with her son to take the heavy tax load off the people of England, but he decides to make the burden even more severe. This leads to internal conflict at the same time that the French are planning to invade England.
All of this strife leads to amazing battle sequences. Meanwhile Robin is trying to help out Loxley's father (Max Von Sydow) and his widow Marion (Blanchett). The new Friar (Mark Addy) at Nottingham where Marion lives is also drawn into helping out, as are Robin's buddies Allan A'Dayle (Alan Doyle), Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes) and Little John (Kevin Durand).
Crowe is once again the magnificent hero who also has a tender side. His scenes with Blanchett are totally convincing and they make a perfect 12th century couple. Von Sydow is brave and accepting in his role as Loxley's father while William Hurt has a nice presence as William Marshall who helps lead the revolt against the King.
Mark Strong is Godfrey, the villain of the film. He is a sadistic killer who thinks nothing of killing hordes of people. Strong has the look and manner of someone who is inherently evil.
The film is rated PG-13 for violence and brief nudity.
During the middle of the movie there are some scenes that seem to be drawn out and this leads to a need to pick up the pace. Still overall the film holds the interest of the audience and keeps them alert for the next action sequence which quickly follows. Crowe uses his star power to good advantage and Blanchett adds to the texture of the film with another strong portrayal.
Robin Hood may not satisfy the purists who want the legend to remain intact, but for those just hungry for a great adventure Robin Hood fills the bill.
I scored Robin Hood a merry 7 out of 10.
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