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November 26, 2018

Robin Hood (2018) --- “The Legend You Know. The Story You Don't.”

Plot Summary
Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
    The tale of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men with Lady Marian by his side is a tale told a hundred times, in a hundred different ways. Robin Hood (2018) is the latest re-telling of the classic tale but with a modern twist. Directed by Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders; His Dark Materials), written by Ben Chandler and David James Kelly, and starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, and more, it is an adventurous and action-packed film that will be sure to entertain.

     The film opens up by telling audiences to ignore everything they’ve ever known about the tale of Robin Hood, that this was instead a tale about how Lord Robin of Loxley, a wealthy heir with a heart of gold, would later become the legend that is Robin Hood. The most notable difference between this story and older versions is that the Sheriff of Nottingham (played by Ben Mendelsohn in true smarmy fashion) takes the resources of the people to fund the “war effort” of the Crusaders, rather than to fill his own pockets. However, that does not mean that his intentions are pure. In fact, his intentions are even more sinister than your typical greed for more wealth.
     I won’t say anything further about the film’s story, lest I spoil it for those who have yet to see it. Though I will say this, with Award season around the corner many critics put ample pressure on films to deliver Academy Award-level work. However, Robin Hood is not that kind of film. Sure, it takes itself seriously and contains a story that works but it does not try to be more than what it is. It simply is what it is and only asks that audiences enjoy it for what it set out to do, to entertain. And for a film that was mostly meant to fail, it mostly succeeds as an entertaining story despite some weakness due to novice writing.
     I truly appreciated the modern take on the story, primarily with the costumes (Julian DayBohemian Rhapsody) as I felt it gave the film a sort of trendy and edgy style. The cinematography (George SteelWar & Peace) and set designs (Jean-Vincent Puzos, Rade Basta, Ratko Bilus, Robert Capan, Frane Didic, Nenad Drljaca, Marijo Grepo, Goran Kovacevic, and Naomi Moore) were stunning and only enhanced the beauty of the costumes and fierceness of the action sequences. The action sequences were gritty like Troy (2004) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005) mixed with an old-school martial art fighting choreography like in The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) and Dragon Blade (2015).
     The cast performances were great. Taron Egerton’s performance of Robin Hood was one of the better versions, it was relatable and believable, and the fact that Egerton actually learned how to shot three arrows in a second made it all the more so. I believe that most audiences will agree, especially if they have seen some of his previous work in Kingsmen. Jamie Foxx (Baby Driver) was decent as (little?) John, who is more of a mentor/trainer than your typical large and muscled brute from the tale’s older versions. Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One; Captain Marvel; Ready Player One) was a bit boring or otherwise slightly lackluster villain. However, he portrayed the Sheriff of Nottingham with an air of corruption and smarminess that is befitting his character, and I doubt anyone else could have done better. It was interesting to see Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey; A Private War) play a role that had an interesting fate as well as made use of his Irish accent. Eve Hewson was good as Robin’s love interest, Marian, but I do wish that there was more chemistry between the characters and that it wasn’t so rushed. This is most likely due to the underdeveloped character writing rather than the actors’ own talent. The rest of the cast was great, with Tim Minchin (Orange is the New Brown) as Friar Tuck acting like most of the comic relief.
     Overall, Robin Hood (2018) is a pretty decent action-packed adventure film. Despite being written by two novice film writers, which resulted in a somewhat weak story and underdeveloped characters, the story still captures the concept of the Robin Hood legend. Some, if not most, of the action sequences, costumes, and cinematography make up for writing, which is why this film still manages to be entertaining. If you were expecting an Academy Award-worthy film, like most critics, then you will be sorely disappointed. Robin Hood set out to entertain audiences and that is exactly what it did. 

- John (to Robin)

Final Vote --- 7 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
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Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
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Gladiator (2000)
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Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)
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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
The Patriot (2000)
Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Robin Hood (2010)
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Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
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Troy (2004)

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