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Robin Hood


Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Paul Anderson, Tim Minchin, F. Murray Abraham, Jamie Dornan

Director: Otto Bathurst

It's been 110 years since the fabled bandit made his screen bow (and arrow, naturally,) in 1908's Robin Hoody and Hs Merry Men and now he's back again after over 200 movies and television shows.

Introducing himself with "I'm Rob", he's played with commendable gusto by an impressively straight-faced Egerton who is vigorously bucking his swash - no major plot change here - and making life hell for the evil Sheriff of Nottingham in a welter of traditional tropes that rope Robin in with Maid Marian and the Merrie (well, not always that merry) Men while dodging the Bad Guys, arrows ad lib, and memorably malign sheriff Mendelsohn.

Director Bathurst, (making his feature film debut, armed with a one-of-a-kind (not necessarily the finest kind) screenplay by Ben Chandler and David James Kelly) delivers a riotous revisionist take on the well-worn story that kicks off with Our Hero fighting in Arabia during the Crusades, destroying a unexpectedly modern crossbow that spews out hailstorms of arrows in the style of a machine gun, saving lives and proving himself a hero before retuning to Nottingham along with Fox's Little John only to find his castle has been seized.

Cue action, double-crosses and assorted nastiness, along with the to-be-expected bringing of the Sheriff to justice while signally failing to prevent Mendelsohn from stealing the show...

Given that the varied sagas of Robin and His Merrie Men are essentially based on legend rather than historical fact, there’s little point in worrying about accuracy. Indeed, the makers realise this with the opening narration suggesting 'Listen - forget everything you know...this is no bedtime story'.

Indeed 'bedtime' would be the wrong word given that the raucous action on offer might well have kept even Rip Van Winkle awake.

The international cast work hard Egerton (British), American Fox, F Murray Abraham (American) , Mendelsohn and Minchin's Friar Tuck (Australian), Hewson as Maid Marian (Irish) gave their best while sensibly realising action, not acting, is the prime requirement while 'Shades of Grey' star Dornan turns up fully clothed as Little John.

Ironically, perhaps, the most consistent performances are given by Croatia and Hungary who portray a massive mountainous version of Nottinghamshire that you have never seen before.

Alan Frank

USA/UK 2018. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour.
115 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 29 Nov 2018