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At the Movies: This is a new Hood: 2 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5

As legend goes, Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Sounds like a criminal in most regard, but he was doing it for the good of the land, taking essentials back from the greedy lords and kings of England. That would be a scary thought for the likes of Bernie Madoff and many of his associates. Daydreams aside, director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe team up for the fifth time in their vision of this classic hero in the simply titled, Robin Hood.

Instead of a retelling of Robin’s time with his merry men in the Sherwood Forest, the most common reference of the legend, Scott and scribe Brian Helgeland, focus on the development of a common archer in the King’s army into a rebellious hero. Immediately it seems like an interesting reinvention of the legendary tale, illuminating the transition of Robin Hood from loyal subject to freedom fighter. Alright, if anything, Hood was protecting the land and rights of the upper middle-class, but it’s a long way to go from ransacking countless villages in the name of the King.

This ideal is something Crowe’s Hood brings up to King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston) when questioned how he feels about the King’s conquering mission, truthfully stating that the mindless, ruthless slaughtering of the countryside is a shame all individuals will have to bear for a lifetime. Robin and a few of his men including Little John (Kevin Durand) are immediately shackled and left to die and so begins the transformation into heroics.

After escaping an untimely death and coming across an ambush of knights, Robin and his partners decide that they will collect the valuables, impersonating the knights and returning to England. Moreover, King Richard dies in battle, so they are not considered outlaws but they are worse off as Richard’s son, Prince John (Oscar Isaac) is about to take power. The plot definitely thickens at this point with double-crossing agents with ties to the French, Robin having to continue impersonating a knight in order to hold a family’s land, and the developing relationship between Robin and maid Marion (Cate Blanchet). It can be a little over-whelming at times keeping straight exactly what is going on and who is on which side, just like real politics, but it does enhance the epic feel of the film.

Scott does an amazing job per usual with action sequences, cutting between hand-to-hand combat and aerials of whizzing arrows that could makeup an entire film altogether. The battle scenes are fantastic, displaying the weapons and technology of late 12th century and in turn creating a fresh take on the history of Robin Hood. Yes, it might not be historically accurate, but the film definitely looks and feels like it. However, with a complex plot and the likes of Crowe and Scott reuniting, the epic film would have been better off to not reinvent the story, but just focus on the legend we all know and love.


MARK SCHROEDER

Mirror Film Criticmark@smmirror.com

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