By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief
Robin Hood arrived just in time to win a place among 2018’s worst films. And there are no hilarious, singing men in tights to help smooth over all the bad.
It’s the umpteenth version of the heroic outlaw’s story, once more taking on the merry man but this new Robin, played by Taron Egerton, is so bad he makes viewers long for Errol Flynn’s dashing, definitive 1938 swashbuckler. Audiences would even settle for Sinatra in Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) or even the farcical Mel Brooks parody, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993).
Anything but this.
But it’s not Egerton’s fault. He’s so good in the Kingsman films, but when it comes to the man in the hood, he’s buried under a script that squashes all the actors. It’s the lawman, in a ploy to steal Robin’s riches, who sends spoiled, bratty Sir Robin of Loxley away from Marian (Eve Hewson), the maid he’s bonking, and off to fight the Crusades in Arabia.
Even Jamie Foxx, who plays Yahya, an Islamic warrior who helps Robin, can’t save this film.
Equally as bad are the action scenes as director Otto Bathurst channels Guy Ritchie. Every arrow hits an artery and every explosion sounds like a bomb. The Iraq war parallels are meant to seem modern, but they don’t fit in this time period or this hero’s tale.
The plot is also terrible despite there being so many options of Robin’s origin story. It kicks in when “The Hood,” Robin’s new name, returns home to Nottingham after four years to find his manor ransacked, the sheriff stealing from the poor and Marian in the bed of Will Scarlet, a rabble-rouser played by Jamie Dornan of the Fifty Shades franchise.
Dornan and Hewson have zero chemistry, so it’s hard to understand why Robin gets so worked up about them hooking up. But with no sex in his future, the title character leaps into chaos with his new bestie Yahya, who’s now known as Little John to further fuel the origin story.
The film is also cluttered with countless backstories, including one for Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin). Meanwhile, F. Murray Abraham shows up as a cardinal to underscore the avarice of the Catholic Church. And did you know that the sheriff, as a boy, had been diddled by priests?
Not sure why that needed to be included other than to add relevance to the old tale, another issue throughout the film. Unfortunately the more Robin Hood strives for relevance, the more it seems hopelessly old-hat.
Friar Tuck begins the movie with a directive to “forget history, forget what you think you know, forget what you’ve heard before.”
I wish I could forget this movie. You’d be better off remembering not to waste your cash on it.