There are few modern directors with as keen an eye to staging action sequences or better yet, human drama, than Ridley Scott. The mans pedrigee encompasses such fantastic films as “Blade Runner”, “Black Hawk Down”, “Alien”, and “Kingdom of Heaven”. As these films prove, he is a master at telling a story with interesting, fleshed-out characters, and yet balances these perfectly with large-scale action sequences. It’s unfortunate that his newest effort, the $237-million-budgeted “Robin Hood” is a massive disappointment.
Starring Russell Crowe in the titular role, “Robin Hood” is a prime example of a film that quite simply, under-uses all its good elements. “Robin Hood” rounds up a fantastic cast: Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, not to mention Crowe himself. But it condemns each of these fantastic actors to uninteresting, one-dimensional roles. The movie somehow finds a way to make Robin Hood an uninteresting, dull character. The film is being sold as Robin Hood’s origin story, but seeing as Robin Hood has no personality to speak of in the film, the film just feels like some people came up with an action period epic, then decided to randomly name the character “Robin Hood”. This is by far the most unsatisfactory and disappointing aspect of the film, as he is an enduring, fascinating character of folklore.
It drops our ol’ reliable protaganist Robin Hood into the middle of a confusing, middling plot that encompasses many, many characters and their own individual subplots. However, considering that none of the characters are interesting or distinctive, we don’t really care about any of the plots and are subsequently very bored throughout the film, aside from the battle sequences.
On that topic, the action sequences in this film (rare as they are) are very well-choreographed and visually striking, however due to the fact that we haven’t emotionally invested in the characters, and the plot is somewhat incomprehensible, they mean nothing to us, other than for a brief “Oh, cool!” moment.
As I stated earlier, the film wastes its great cast. Cate Blanchett, one of the great actresses of our time, is reduced to 30-ish minutes of being a love interest, and an uninteresting one at that. Mark Strong plays his second villain role within the last month (he also portrayed the bad guy in “Kick-Ass”) and is really…boring here. We are aware of his character’s motivations, but once again falls victim to poor characterizations and even worse dialogue.
“Robin Hood” isn’t a horrendously bad film, but in no way can it be called good either. Instead, we get a film where when it should be “Wow!”, instead we get a resounding “Meh” throughout the film. And sometimes, an underwhelming film can be worse than a bad one. One of the most disappointing Hollywood blockbusters in a very long time.