Eye For Film >> Movies >> Robin Hood The Rebellion (2018) Film Review
Robin Hood The Rebellion
Reviewed by: Jane Fae
First thoughts on hearing that yet another director – this time Nicholas Winter – has decided to try his hand at a Robin Hood movie?
Why? Just why?
After all, it's not as though it's not been done before. From The Adventures Of Robin Hood, a 1938 swashbuckler with Errol Flynn in the title role, to Robin Hood, 1955, with a slightly less suave Richard Greene taking the lead. Then there's Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves in 1991 with Kevin Costner, and Robin Hood (2010) with Russell Crowe.
Not forgetting – could one ever? – the Disney cartoon version, pitting a bow-toting Fox against King John's cowardly Lion. Or the somewhat left field, Robin Hood: Men In Tights, directed by Mel Brooks.
Which brings us to 2018 and Robin Hood starring Taron Egerton and...oh, wait. No. That's the other Robin Hood coming out this year. This one is Robin Hood: The Rebellion starring Brian Blessed and....that's about it.
The lead role of Robin is taken by Ben Freeman, previously best known as mechanic Scott Windsor in TV soap Emmerdale. Top billing, however, goes to Martyn Ford, a 320 lbs, 6'8" bodybuilder, playing the part of the Sheriff of Nottingham's outsize enforcer, Brimstone: think Jaws the equally outsize henchman and enforcer in The Spy Who Loved Me – but with all-over tattoos and without any redeeming features of skill or charm.
The plot is simply summarised: “with his true love captured by the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham, the legendary Robin Hood and his crew of outlaws execute a daring rescue to save her”.
Well, for crew of outlaws, read just two: Thomas (Kristian Nairn) and Will Scarlett (James Nunn). Add Maid Marian (Marie Everett) and Much (Charlie Hiett), captured earlier by the evil Sheriff (James Wheatley), who appears to have modelled his character on the Alan Rickman version of same – but with all of the sleaze and none of the wit.
But then, this is low budget medieval grunge. The outlaw camp consists of half a dozen sheets hung from trees in the middle of a wood: the Sheriff's castle is an obvious ruin.
Never fear: the director gets round this by smearing the actors in blood and mud, and shooting pretty much every scene by candlelight. The dialogue is clunky and anything but natural. The plot, which takes an inordinate time mulling over the sheer hopelessness of everything, is bleak to depressing. Or as one kitchen maid/scullion takes time out to observe: “there is no peaceful solution to this situation”.
The fight scenes are clunky, consisting mostly of large men whacking blade to blade and grunting a lot before someone – one of the goodies, natch – just manages to get in a fatal blow. There are plot holes so large that an entire huge bearded guy can disappear through them (if you must watch this film, do try to work out what happens to the armoury guard!). And Brian Blessed is thoroughly wasted.
Dramatically, that is.
So the goodies spend most of the film wandering round darkened corridors attempting to rescue one another. Every chance the bad guys get to finish off Robin, they miss. And in the end, all – most – live happily ever after.
Harsh? No. Because the point is: Robin Hood has been done and overdone across the years. So if you must produce a new version, you need a difference. A first rank lead. A chart-topping soundtrack. Something. Anything. Robin Hood the musical! Robin Hood the nudist!
And if you aren't going to make a difference, perhaps you need to ask why you are spending time and money on a mediocre version of a film done so well, so often already.Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2018