Take from the rich- give to the poor.

Perfect communist message from Hollywood. However, Russell Crowe is more interested in his suppressed memories of freedom and democracy in the latest rendition of Robin Hood.

“where’s my receipt? I want my money back…”

We like Russell Crowe movies. However this watered-down version of Robin Hood is more like geriatrics on horseback. How old is Cate Blanchett anyway? Crowe must be getting tired of choreographing his own stunts in his late 40’s because overall the movie didn’t live up to its potential. The film did have an interesting start in the Crusades until the storyline took the easy route to placate the dullards in the audience.

“This looks like a good spot. Who’s backyard is this anyways?”

This movie attempts to tell the story of how the Robin Hood legend ostensibly began.  Instead of telling the prequel of the Robin Hood fable, how about a rendition akin to Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn’s 1976 tale of  love in the twilight years? This is Robin Hood Begins– it shouldn’t come out sucking with 50-year old actors.

What moves the Ridley Scott version of The Prince of Thieves to the C- Minus list is that it was written in committee. Sidetracking the original Tales from Sherwood Forest,  liberties were taken by creating a bad guy out of thin air to play the heavy.  Sir Godfrey, played by the depthless and overexposed Mark Strong, is the Prince Malagant of the corrupted Richard the Lionheart realm (identical to Ben Cross’ malignant character 15 years ago in Sean Connery/Richard Gere’s 1995 version of the Arthurian legend, First Knight). Or the insipid General Grievous of the ruined pre-Star Wars trilogy— you know what I mean.

British actor Mark Strong gets an arrow across the face to scarify him and make him meaner, then [SPOILER ALERT!] plugged through the neck after scurrying away from the ending battle. Sir Godfrey is an English traitor, identical to the asshole Strong played in the simultaneously released Sherlock Holmes 2010.  Idiots must like seeing the same actor play the bad guy in every movie. Can anyone say TYPE CAST? 

     Guess who? Mark Strong’s doppelganger effect.

Mark Strong has played the antagonist in every movie distributed in 2010. And here he goes again playing another bald headed baddie, this time with a fake 11th Century English accent (as opposed to the fake 19th Century English accent in Sherlock Holmes), with a hint of treacherous French.

Instead of creating new faces to hate, i.e. actors who have nothing to do with the genre, how about expanding on the existing nuances of characters we are familiar with? That is the mark of exceptional movie making. What’s the easy route Hollywood? Just give the bad guy a bad ass name and have him lock some villagers up in a barn and set in on fire. Oh yeah, they do that too in Robin Hood 2010.

Wait a minute, is that Morgan Freeman as a black Moor in Kevin Costner’s Robin’ da Hood? Oh the gay men and merry times Martin Lawrence had as 2001’s Black Knight. Make sure Dustin Hoffman or Garry Shandling is sharing the court with your Highness, take your places and ACTION! All of these historical inaccuracies and outright contradictions are possible in Hollywood’s gay little world. Like casting the villain of the disturbing Kick Ass movie to share the billing with the likes of Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.

Cameos of other American actors turn movies like these into something only my mother could enjoy. William Hurt wanders around the medieval backdrop like he did for Kevin Costner’s alter ego Mr. Brooks, mumbling thoughts to the hero, as Ed Harris did complementing Crowe’s performance in A Beautiful Mind. Maybe Mom can endure watching poor old Max von Sydow playing the benevolent senior citizen being tormented on the cobblestone streets of Nottingham. Yeah, Mark Strong’s character slaps the blind old bat on the back with a sword until sticking it to him, whilst Russell Crowe has flashbacks of early democracy being formed in the countryside. The non-American actors pull their roles off effortlessly.

William Hurt offering acting and driving lessons in Mr. Brooks.

American actors ruin foreign movies. They are out of their league and out of their element. Compare flops like The Eagle, starring random extras from the suckie G.I. Joe-Rise of Bile and put them up against real actors from 2010’s Centurion.
“Did you steal my Slip Knot tickets, dude?”-The Eagle (2011)

When Robin Hood hits the bargain bins at Walmart, Mom will undoubtedly cut into her Medicaid for the month because she really digs Russell Crowe’s manly Aussie accent.  Mom still watches TV with rabbit ears and movies on VCR. The sounds of “I love you, Marian” won’t  just be coming from the Happy Days reruns she watches.

How many times have we seen the same goddamn storyline? Mel Gibson has run that Payback tinted course into the ground. Gibson is king of the Revenge Story. Hell, he’s whipped the bejesus out of Christ in The Passion, chased bloodthirsty Mayans through the jungles in Apocalypto and yes, staged villagers to burn up in a building after a smartass British dickweed thinks he can take over the country… at least Gibson provides some gore for the fellas on date night, a la the Patriot and We Were Soldiers. That’s what is missing from Robin Hood Reloaded, Rewound and Rewritten. Or maybe that’s the problem: the stolen plots from better movies. Cliche’ cliche’ cliche’.

Robin Hood 2010 is PG-13 so there aren’t any good battle scenes that could commandeer the shoddy plot.  Though shot on location, even the cinematography appears to be the same old same old. The UK’s Centurion had a silly female Pitt adversary to appeal to the euro-trash, but other than that, it was well acted and bloody enough to be enjoyable. Plus it had more majestic scenery than a fat Russell Crowe reprimanding a disguised Blanchett on the only beach in England with sand. Robin Hood contains Indiana Jones style violence, for puny girlie-types, like Dear Ol’ Mum. It is designed for women to uncover their eyes and cheer, while guys fight from yawning.

Europe’s version of the alpha female, from Centurion (2010)

“Marian, GO HOME!” We don’t want to watch another skinny broad volunteer to fight, disguised as a soldier. You’re going to get your mechanical clock cleaned. “Go home and cook me a rat salad.”

“I am woman. Hear me roar.”

Of course Lady Marian is a fighter, too and she wants to get in her licks as Russell Crowe fights the French hordes. Of course a woman with one third the upper body strength of the average armored warrior can sword fight the likes of Mark Strong, before being pinned underwater by two French boats in the final scene. Of course.

“Damn you woman! Next time I won’t tell you with my mouth.”

Meanwhile Russell Crowe with sand and sweat in his eyes has a choice, does he save the 60ish Marian or let the dirty rat bastard Godfrey escape? Does the egotistical King keep his promise of Rule of Law to the villagers? At this point the viewer just doesn’t care because it is too humdrum.

Robin Hood 2010 is just uninspiring. This movie is as predictable and stupid as The Expendables. Enjoy it uncut when it comes to the USA Network. Save your money, Mom. You’ve seen it all before and you’ll only watch it once.

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