Robin Hood

If 200 arrows fly through the woods, do they make a sound? Ridley Scott spent some of his $200 million budget perfecting the ping-swoosh-whoosh-thwock-scream of a bow-and-arrow blitz, just one of many grace notes in a blockbuster as handsome and untouchable as the captain of the football team. Russell Crowe stars as the socialistic archer—he’s 10 years older than he was in Scott’s Gladiator and he looks it, but this is a film about a man old enough to have a breaking point. And he’s still a beefcake. You can hear Cate Blanchett’s bodice flutter when he grumbles, “I need help unfastening my chainmail.”

Robin Hood picks up at the end of Richard the Lionheart’s (Danny Huston) 10-year campaign. Sated—or chastened—by the mass slaughter of Muslims, the Brits are on the march home and pillaging a few last French castles on the way. Crowe is just a two-bit archer, but when the last battle goes bloody wrong, he finds himself with the dead king’s crown and a dead knight’s sword, both of which he must return to their next of kin.

And so he’s set on his course to incite independence in the hearts of Englishmen sick of abasing themselves to the crown, now on the head of Oscar Isaac’s Prince John, a fantastic little snot, who has no idea his best friend is really a French double agent (great baddie Mark Strong) out to undermine his reign. Tea Partiers might thrill to the film’s message that every man should be free to fend for himself. They’d have to ignore the digs that the country’s been bankrupted by a Persian Gulf war. While Robin Hood is as ambitious and smart as Gladiator, as an enemy, taxes don’t have the glamour of man-eating lions. The film—and the cast—make all the right moves, but we aren’t rallied to stand up and cheer. Still, as summer films go, it’s worth the tithe.

Click here for Robin Hood in the IE Weekly

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