The movie industry seems to be caught in a loop. Five remade movies have already been released this year, the most recent being “Robin Hood.”
The movie stars Russell Crowe as the legendary Robin Hood. The supporting cast features Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett and Oscar-nominee Max von Sydow as Lady Marian and Sir Walter of the Loxley family.
Oscar Isaac plays the power-hungry Prince John, Mark Strong takes on the role of the traitorous Sir Godfrey, and Matthew Macfadyen portrays the nefarious Sheriff of Nottingham.
The performances are strong. Action movies like these often showcase Oscar-caliber actors chasing vampires or controlling the weather in black leather. The writers for “Robin Hood” did a good job of creating drama, and that is where the cast shines. Crowe’s performance is similar to a previous role of his. Sword fighting and horseback riding action scenes paired with a military origin and elderly male mentor resemble his portrayal of Maximus in “Gladiator.”
The story does not follow the plot that “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” made popular. Crowe’s character is not captured by the Turks but imprisoned by the English for insubordination. When King Richard is killed in battle, Robin escapes with a band of fellow imprisoned soldiers, who become his merry men.
The plot takes off when Robin encounters a dying knight, wounded by Godfrey, named Sir Robert Loxley. Sir Robert asks Crowe to return his father’s sword to his residence in Nottingham. When Crowe informs the family of Robert’s death, he takes his place, pretending to be Sir Walter Loxley’s son and Lady Marian’s husband, returned from war. Robin spends the movie winning over Lady Marian.
The movie plot recalls the roots of the stories of Robin Hood. A notable moment, when Robin attacks Little John after a game of chance goes badly, is similar to a scene in the story “Robin Hood and the Monk” where he assaults John for beating him in an archery contest.
Just as in the early stories, Robin does little in the way of wealth redistribution. The movie instead focuses on his return from the Crusades and his rise to outlaw status. Only at the end is he declared a criminal.
The movie was a refreshing take on the tale of Robin Hood. The typical green tights and light disposition are traded for a real, more honest depiction of Robin Hood as a man.
Thievery is replaced with discussions of the role of government and war with France.
Those looking for constant action or the stories of their youth should look elsewhere. But people who are interested in seeing a more fleshed-out, human Robin and who love drama, this is a movie for them.